Final

Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/20

Game 1: Tuesday, November 20th
Suns100Final
Kings98
Game 2: Wednesday, November 21st
Kings111Final
Suns127
Game 3: Sunday, December 30th
Suns117Final
Kings102
Game 4: Saturday, March 15th
Kings99Final
Suns127

Kings 99

(29-36, 10-24 away)

Suns 127

(44-22, 25-10 home)

    Coverage: KXTV

    7:00 PM ET, March 15, 2008

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    SAC 34 14 31 2099
    PHX 37 42 22 26127

    Top Performers

    Sacramento: M. World Peace 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 5 Stl

    Phoenix: A. Stoudemire 30 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Amare's double-double powers Suns to fourth straight win

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns sure look like they've figured out that Shaquille O'Neal thing.

    Amare Stoudemire had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Suns won their fourth in a row Saturday night with a 127-99 rout of the Sacramento Kings.

    Gordan Giricek, like O'Neal a recent addition, scored 17 of his season-high 23 points in the first half for Phoenix. O'Neal added 17 points and eight boards, Steve Nash 18 points and eight assists, and Leandro Barbosa 17 points.

    The Suns, who shot 61 percent, improved to 7-6 with O'Neal in the lineup with their second straight blowout victory. They used a 28-2 outburst to build a 31-point halftime lead and were up by 33 early in the third.

    "It's beautiful. It's totally beautiful," Stoudemire said. "When you're playing great basketball and you're playing team basketball, there's no sport greater -- when you're just enjoying yourself and everybody gets along."

    Ron Artest scored 26 for Sacramento.

    The Suns swept the season series 4-0 and beat the Kings for the ninth time in 10 tries.

    "Recently we have made some strides to get better defensively," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "But I just thought tonight we ran into a team that got it going, and when the Suns get it going there is not a lot you can do about it."

    Phoenix pulled into a tie with San Antonio for the No. 5 playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns have a game advantage on Utah, which holds the West's No. 4 spot as the leader of the Northwest Division. The Spurs and Jazz lost on Saturday.

    "I think Shaq is a great piece for them," Theus said. "I think he could be the defense maker in a seven-game series, the way that they are learning him and he is learning them."

    Phoenix climbed within 1 1/2 games of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Lakers.

    "I've been on a lot of good teams," O'Neal said, "but this team actually has every piece from one to 12. It probably is the first team I've played on that has every piece one to 12."

    Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said he had "not wasted a second" thinking about those who had predicted the team wouldn't make the playoffs after it struggled in the first few games following the O'Neal trade.

    "It feels good because you can see why we did everything and where we can go," he said. "We're not there. It's like last week -- we're not as good as we think we are and we're not as bad as we were. We're somewhere in between, but we have a chance to be really good."

    Stoudemire was 10-for-15 shooting in his second 30-point, 10-rebound game in a row, the third time he's posted those statistics on consecutive nights this season. Nobody is a bigger Stoudemire booster than O'Neal.

    "He's the best," O'Neal said. "He's 25. He's like four or five steps better than I was at the age of 25. It's my job as the elder statesman to just take him to the next level."

    Giricek scored 10 in the surge, including a pair of 3s. Nash was on the bench for his usual first-half rest when the run began.

    Phoenix outscored the Kings 42-14 in the second quarter, 38-8 over the final 9:38, to go up 79-48 at the break. The Suns shot 70.5 percent (31-of-44) in the first two quarters. It was the second-highest scoring half of the season for Phoenix, surpassed only by 80 in the first half against Sacramento on Nov. 21.

    "It just seemed like when Mikki [Moore] and I came out of the game, the game got out of hand," Artest said. "It had a big effect, and they seemed to be playing with a sense of urgency."

    O'Neal scored 10 in the first half, including a fast-break layup that had the crowd on its feet. He was fouled on the play.

    "And I made the free throw," he emphasized.

    Giricek was in his seventh game for the Suns, the third team he has played for this season. He started the season with Utah, then was traded to Philadelphia. The Suns signed him for the remainder of the season after he was waived by the 76ers on Feb. 29.

    Game notes


    Phoenix's Grant Hill sat out the second half as a precaution to rest his sprained right wrist. ... The Kings fell to 1-10 against the Pacific Division. ... Phoenix was 4-1 on its last extensive homestand of the regular season. ... The four-game streak is the Suns' longest since they won five straight from Nov. 30-Dec. 7.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    SAC
    PHX
    Points 99 127
    FGM-FGA 37-86 (.430) 48-79 (.608)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 11-19 (.579)
    FTM-FTA 19-26 (.731) 20-36 (.556)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-18 9-17
    Assists 14 28
    Turnovers 16 15
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 1 5
    Fast Break Points 9 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (2/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 33

    Top Performers

    Sacramento
    Phoenix
    Metta World Peace World Peace
    Points: 26
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 0
    Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
    Points: 30
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1