Stoudemire Scores 42 As Suns Beat Celtics

Saturday, January 29th 2005, 12:15 pm

By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ Amare Stoudemire wanted to be more aggressive, and that was bad news for the Boston Celtics. Stoudemire scored 42 points, Quentin Richardson added 23 and the Phoenix Suns won their fourth straight with a 128-119 victory over Boston on Friday night.

``(Amare) just got it going early and they had no answer for him,'' Phoenix forward Shawn Marion said. ``He's a beast and it's easy when you've got No. 13 (Steve Nash) feeding you the ball.''

In other games Friday night, it was: Charlotte 101, Toronto 94; Orlando 108, Washington 101; New York 99, Cleveland 96; Miami 106, Atlanta 96; Minnesota 93, Utah 91; New Orleans 99, Philadelphia 95 in overtime; Denver 106, Milwaukee 100; Sacramento 117, Houston 111 in OT; Portland 90, the Los Angeles Clippers 86; New Jersey 109, the L.A. Lakers 103; and Seattle 88, Golden State 85.

Phoenix got all of its scoring from six players. Joe Johnson and Jim Jackson scored 17, Marion added 16 and Nash finished with 13 points and 15 assists.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 34 points and nine rebounds. Ricky Davis scored 19 for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (20-23), who had won five straight at home.

``We were extremely tentative in the first half, but came out and competed and were much more aggressive in the second half,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

Boston outscored the Suns 36-22 in the third quarter and cut a 26-point deficit to 118-109 with four minutes left, but Phoenix responded with baskets from Nash and Stoudemire to push the lead to 13 with 3:10 remaining.

``It's easy when you've got a point guard who passes as well as Steve does,'' Stoudemire said. ``He makes everything a lot easier and just gets the job done. I think Boston did a good job of hanging in there. They gave it a last fight, but we just pulled it off.''

The Suns connected on 13 of 25 3-pointers, with Richardson going 7-of-9 from long range.

Phoenix led 40-31 after the first quarter, when Stoudemire and Richardson were nearly unstoppable. Stoudemire made seven of eight shots from the field and scored 16 points, while Richardson hit four of five 3-pointers and had 12 points.

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