Suns Wins 13th in a Row Against the East

Monday, February 26th 2007, 6:54 am
By: News On 6

The Suns are perfect in the East, where the Nets and Heat are trying to keep playoff hopes alive despite losing records.

Amare Stoudemire scored a season-high 43 points and Phoenix won its 13th consecutive road game against the Eastern Conference by beating the Atlanta Hawks 115-106 Sunday night.

The Suns have visits left to Indiana on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Wednesday as they try to become the first NBA team to sweep its interconference road schedule.

Stoudemire added 16 rebounds, three blocks and six assists. He made 15 of 17 free throws.

``I just took what the defense gives me,'' Stoudemire said. ``There are some stretches when I don't score, other players do. And I have no problem with that. We're just trying to play team basketball.''

New Jersey got 40 points from Vince Carter for the second time in three games and the Nets beat the Knicks 101-92. The win moved second-place New Jersey (27-30) two games ahead of New York in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings.

Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Miami held Cleveland to 36 percent shooting in an 86-81 win _ the Heat's first victory since Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder Wednesday. The Heat improved to 2-7 without Wade, the reigning NBA finals MVP who is still deciding whether to rehabilitate his shoulder or have season-ending surgery.

``We have to make every possession count now,'' O'Neal said. ``There's really no room for mistakes now.''

In other games Sunday, it was: Detroit 95, Chicago 93; Houston 97, Orlando 93; Minnesota 98, Washington 94; L.A. Lakers 102, Golden State 85; and Sacramento 110, Indiana 93.

Stoudemire scored 18 points in the first quarter and was the major reason six Atlanta players finished with four fouls.

``They were sending guys, two or three guys double-teaming me the whole night,'' Stoudemire said.

Shawn Marion scored 21 points and Leandro Barbosa added 19 for the Suns. Steve Nash had 14 points and 13 assists as he kept looking for Stoudemire, who made 14 of 25 shots from the field.

``When he's playing like that, you just have to keep feeding him and get him the ball as much as possible,'' Nash said.

``He's a beast,'' said Atlanta's Josh Smith, who traded powerful dunks with Stoudemire in the third period but couldn't keep pace with the Suns' center.

The Hawks allowed 38 points in the opening quarter, but recovered with a strong second period and briefly took the lead in the fourth quarter.

Joe Johnson, who helped lead Atlanta to a 120-111 win at Phoenix on Feb. 9, led the Hawks with 28 points. Marvin Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Rockets 97, Magic 93

At Orlando, Fla., Tracy McGrady had 34 points, including a rally deflating 20-foot jumper with 33 seconds left, to lead Houston.

Rafer Alston added 20 points and reserve Luther Head had 15 for the Rockets, who made 14 of 27 3-point attempts.

Grant Hill led Orlando with 21 points. Dwight Howard added 18 points and 16 rebounds, but the Magic struggled with their shooting in their fourth straight loss.

Pistons 95, Bulls 93

At Auburn Hills, Mich., Chris Webber made a putback with 2.2 seconds left and matched a season high with 21 points to lift Detroit to its fourth straight win and 11th in 12 games.

In his first game at The Palace since leaving to play for Chicago, Ben Wallace was greeted by a mix of boos and cheers when he was introduced, then was booed virtually every time he touched the ball. He finished with six points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.

Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, Chauncey Billups had 15 and Tayshaun Prince added 14 for the Pistons.

Ben Gordon finished with 21 points after missing a 3 just before the buzzer. P.J. Brown matched a season high with 19 points, Luol Deng had 18 and Chris Duhon added 12 for the Bulls.

Timberwolves 98, Wizards 94

At Minneapolis, Ricky Davis scored 27 points, Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds and Minnesota ended a three-game slide.

The Timberwolves beat Washington at home for the seventh straight season.

DeShawn Stevenson scored 21 for Washington, which lost its second straight. Gilbert Arenas, averaging 39 points in three games since the All-Star break, finished with 20 points. He was 4-for-22 from the field and 11-for-12 from the foul line.

Lakers 102, Warriors 85

At Oakland, Calif., Maurice Evans scored a career-high 26 points and Kobe Bryant also had 26 in Los Angeles' seventh straight win over Golden State.

Brian Cook added 11 points in the Lakers' second straight win after a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Monta Ellis scored 22 points for the Warriors, who went 2-for-19 on 3-pointers. Jason Richardson added 15 points, and Andris Biedrins had 16 rebounds and four blocks in the Warriors' 14th loss in their last 16 games against the Lakers.

Kings 110, Pacers 93

At Indianapolis, Kevin Martin scored 35 points, Mike Bibby added 28 and Sacramento beat Indiana Pacers without Ron Artest.

Artest was a no-show against his former team for personal reasons, a team spokesman said without elaborating. Artest publicly requested a trade from the Pacers last season.

Jermaine O'Neal had 19 points, nine rebounds and six blocks, and Mike Dunleavy added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers in their worst home loss of the season.