Stoudemire's Suns defeat James' Cavaliers in matchup of young stars

Friday, October 31st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) _ Two games into his NBA career, LeBron James is a teenage sensation. His team is 0-2.

James soared for dunks, made hanging bank shots, scrambled for rebounds and otherwise dominated play for Cleveland on Thursday night in the Cavaliers' 95-86 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Another rising young star on the court made his presence felt, too.

Amare Stoudemire, who last season became the first player to be named rookie of the year directly out of high school, scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Suns pulled away over the final eight minutes to win their home opener.

Stephon Marbury added 24 points, while Shawn Marion had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

James finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, but committed seven turnovers, five more than he had in his 25-point debut in Sacramento the previous night.

``I'll do anything to help my team win,'' James said. ``If I need to go to the hoop, if I need to pass or rebound.''

The Cavs could have used a little more scoring, from James or anybody else, down the stretch. The Suns outscored them 22-10 over the final 8:39. James was just 1-for-3 shooting in the fourth quarter.

``I know how to be a leader,'' he said. ``When I go out on the court, I need to be a little more aggressive and try to get my team into it.''

In other NBA games, it was Houston 102, Denver 85; Seattle 109, the Los Angeles Clippers 100; and New Orleans 100, Orlando 98.

James followed his 42-minute game Wednesday, with 41 minutes on Thursday.

Suns coach Frank Johnson came away impressed.

``He's a special player,'' Johnson said. ``His guys love playing with him because he makes everyone around him better. Don't worry about the seven turnovers. That happens to a young guy with a lot of different things thrown at you.''

Stoudemire insisted he was not especially charged up because James was there.

``He came out and played a pretty good game,'' Stoudemire said. ``He is the point guard so he has to create for his team. On the other hand, I came out and played hard, did what I needed to do _ get the garbage points and help us win.''

Marbury and Stoudemire drew special praise from James.

``I respect those two guys a lot, especially Amare,'' James said. ``He's doing a lot for players coming straight out of high school.''

Stoudemire's steal and three-point play put Phoenix up 79-75 with 8:22 to play, then he capped a 10-3 run with another three-point play that made it 84-78 with 6:40 remaining.

Ricky Davis scored 22 points for the Cavs on 9-for-23 shooting.

``This `young team' stuff is wearing thin very quickly,'' coach Paul Silas said. ``We've got to learn. I just can't stand losing.''

Turnovers and free throws doomed Cleveland. The Cavs committed 24 turnovers, to 15 for the Suns.

The Suns were 27-of-38 at the line, while the Cavs were only 7-for-12.

Hornets 100, Magic 98

At Orlando, Fla., George Lynch scored on a fast-break layup with 36 seconds left, and New Orleans overcame a five-point deficit in the final 2:11 to beat Orlando.

David Wesley scored 28 points for New Orleans, while Jamaal Magloire had 27 and Baron Davis added 22 points and eight assists.

Orlando's Tracy McGrady scored 33 points, but Magloire blocked his potential tying layup with 3.9 seconds to go.

SuperSonics 109, Clippers 100

At Saitama, Japan, Rashard Lewis scored 25 points and Ronald Murray added 24 as Seattle spoiled Mike Dunleavy's coaching debut with Los Angeles.

Lewis made two 3-pointers in a third-quarter run that gave the SuperSonics an 83-69 lead heading to the fourth.

With less than a minute to go, Clippers guard Eddie House sank a 3-pointer, and Corey Maggette's score made the margin four. But Calvin Booth's dunk with 20.6 seconds left put the game out of reach.

House led the Clippers with 22 points. Elton Brand scored 21 but fractured his right foot and is expected to be out four to six weeks.

It was the first of two games in Japan for the teams.

Rockets 102, Nuggets 85

At Houston, Cuttino Mobley scored 21 points, and the Rockets never trailed against Denver in the first game played at Toyota Center, Houston's new downtown arena.

Yao Ming scored 17 points in 20 minutes, and Steve Francis finished with 17 points in coach Jeff Van Gundy's debut with Houston.

Andre Miller led the Nuggets with 19 points, and rookie Carmelo Anthony added 18, shooting 4-of-15 from the field.