Tuesday , May , 10 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

That’s Amare; Stoudemire, Suns dominate Mavs

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Amare Stoudemire posted 40 points and 16
rebounds and Joe Johnson scored 25, as the Phoenix Suns pounded the Dallas
Mavericks, 127-102, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at America
West Arena.

The Suns will try to take a 2-0 lead when the teams meet in Phoenix again on
Wednesday.

Shawn Marion collected 23 points and 11 boards for the top-seeded Suns, who
swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round to earn a trip to the
conference semis for the first time since 2000. That year Phoenix was
eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Phoenix guard Steve Nash was playing in his first game since being named the
NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Sunday. Nash, who was traded from Dallas to the
Suns in the offseason, finished with 11 points and 13 assists in Monday’s win.

“Tonight was good and we know it’s just one night. We’ll be back in two nights
to try and do it again,” said Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Dirk Nowitzki ended with 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks, who
needed seven games to defeat the Houston Rockets in the opening round. Dallas
dropped the first two games at home in that series and became just the third
team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series after losing Games 1 and 2
on its homecourt.

Jerry Stackhouse added 14 points in the loss, while Michael Finley, Jason
Terry and Marquis Daniels chipped in 13 apiece.

Dallas head coach Avery Johnson showed his frustration late in the third
quarter when he was tossed from the game for arguing with an official.

“It’s my responsibility to have this team ready to play,” said Johnson. “So I
didn’t do my job. You can blame this one on me.”

The Suns never trailed in the game and jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead. Marion
and Quentin Richardson each hit three-pointers for Phoenix in the game-opening
run. Dallas would cut the deficit to 12-8, and it would never get closer than
that the rest of the way.

Stoudemire scored 15 points in the first quarter and Phoenix held a 29-22 edge
after 12 minutes.

The Suns extended their lead to double digits after Johnson hit a pair of free
throws to make it 36-26 with 9:55 remaining. Phoenix kept building on that in
the next few minutes and held a 46-30 cushion when Steven Hunter converted a
layup with 7:18 left.

The lead grew as large as 18 points in the second quarter when Nash hit 16-
foot jumper to make it 63-45 with 22 seconds left. Phoenix would hold a 63-47
advantage at the end of the half.

Stoudemire was amazing in the opening half, posting 25 points and nine
rebounds. Nowitzki, meanwhile, led the Mavericks with 11 points.

“That’s the kind of team we have. We have so many threats that somebody is
always going to have a big night,” said Stoudemire.

The Suns kept the pressure on in the second half and opened the third quarter
with an 11-4 run to build a 74-51 lead. Stoudemire scored five points in the
run for Phoenix.

Dallas cut the lead to 16 points on a few occasion in the third quarter, the
last time coming after Nowitzki’s layup made it 78-62 with 6:24 left. However,
the Suns scored nine of the game’s next 11 points to end the threat and would
later hold a 99-73 cushion at the end of the period.

The Mavericks would never seriously threaten in the fourth quarter and Phoenix
cruised to the victory.

“We got outplayed in every way tonight,” said Johnson.

DAL PHO