Stoudemire, Suns down Kings to tie franchise record
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to their 14th straight win, a 105-98 victory over the Sacramento Kings. The streak ties the Suns franchise- record, which was set in 1992, by the last Phoenix team to reach the NBA Finals.
"We're getting better and better," said Stoudemire. "We started out slowly but we were able to come out in the second half and pick it up a notch."
Kurt Thomas scored 18 points off of the bench for Phoenix, which received 16 points and 12 assists from Steve Nash. Raja Bell scored 15 points and Shawn Marion added 14 for Phoenix. Boris Diaw scored 12 points for the Suns.
Kevin Martin scored 23 points for the Kings, who have lost two of three. John Salmons scored 20, and Ron Artest finished with 16 points for Sacramento. Mike Bibby scored 14 points and tallied seven assists, and Francisco Garcia added 12 points off of the bench. Kenny Thomas had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings.
"I'm not happy but I can't speak for all of the guys," said Kings head coach Eric Musselman. "I'm a competitor and I hate to lose."
Phoenix led by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, but the Kings were able to cut to within five on two Thomas free throws that made it 103-98 with 1:22 left in the game. Sacramento failed to hit another shot, though, and the Suns held on for the win.
Phoenix took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Kings 35-23 in the quarter to take an 80-73 lead into the final 12 minutes. The Suns scored 11 straight early in the quarter, taking a 56-54 lead on a three by Bell with 8:36 left.
Sacramento started fast, and led by 10 in the first quarter. Three Martin free throws put the Kings up 21-11 with 4:40 left. A three by Leandro Barbosa brought Sacramento to within 24-19 with 2:41 left in the first but the Kings closed the quarter with five straight points, and a driving layup by Bibby restored Sacramento's 10-point lead at 29-19 entering the second quarter.
An Artest jumper put the Kings up 50-39 with 34 seconds left in the first half, but the Suns scored six straight to finish the second quarter. Nash drilled a three, and Barbosa converted a three-point play with three seconds left to pull Phoenix to within 50-45 at halftime.
Sacramento outrebounded the Suns, 45-34...Phoenix has won four straight over the Kings, but had lost 10 of 12 in Sacramento before Saturday's win...Phoenix will go for a franchise-best 15th straight win against the Toronto Raptors in Phoenix on Tuesday, Dec. 19.PHO SAC