Suns Set on Kings

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Jason Richardson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter, Amare Stoudemire finished with 25 points and eight rebounds and the rejuvenated Phoenix Suns ended a three-game home losing skid with their most lopsided victory of the season, 129-81 over the tired Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

The Suns' point total was their highest of the season and their
48-point margin of victory was their biggest ever at home.

With the triumph, the Suns evened their home and away records at
13-10. The loss was the Kings' ninth in 10 games.

Chastised by owner Robert Sarver and General Manager Steve Kerr
at team meetings over the past two days for their recent
ineffective play - seven losses in 10 games and five home losses to
sub-.500 teams - the Suns came out with a lot of energy and focus.

This was their sixth straight win over the Kings and 11th in the
last 12 meetings. Phoenix also has beaten Sacramento six straight
times at US Airways Center. The previous five home victories were
by an average of 19 points, and this was even more merciless.

Grant Hill added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Suns,
Leandro Barbosa scored 11 points, Shaquille O'Neal had 10 points
and nine rebounds, and Steve Nash had nine points and nine assists.

John Salmons led the Kings with 19 points, Kevin Martin scored
13, Jason Thompson 12 and Francisco Garcia 10.

The Suns began pouring it on early. They hit their first six
shots in the first 2:35, then used a 17-4 run over a 3:43 span to
open a 34-15 lead after 9:46. During that decisive spurt,
Richardson scored nine points. Phoenix finished the first period
with a 40-19 lead in their highest-scoring opening quarter of the
season.

The lead ballooned to 33 points, 69-36, in the second period and
was 30 points, 73-43, at halftime.

The weary Kings, playing their third game in four nights,
including an overtime contest Sunday, couldn't keep pace with the
fast-moving and accurate shooting Suns. At the break, the Suns were
shooting 60.9 percent (28-for-46). Sacramento, on the other hand,
was at a poor 33.3 percent (15-for-45).

Salmons, with 15 points in the second quarter and 17 overall,
was the only Kings' player in double figures at halftime.

By that time, the Suns had dominated in nearly every category,
with edges in rebounding 31-15, assists 15-3, points in the paint
42-14, second-chance points 14-7 and fast-break points 18-8.

The Suns showed no mercy in the third period, increasing their
lead to as many as 50 points, 105-55, just before the end of the
period. Stoudemire, who finished 13-for-13 from the foul line, had
10 points in the quarter. Subs played most of the fourth quarter.

Notes:

The Kings were missing two of their key reserves in center
Brad Miller (abdominal strain) and Bobby Jackson (personal
reasons).

Stoudemire and Hill are the only Suns to play in all
46 games this season and Thompson is the only Kings' player to
participate in his team's 50 games.

Sacramento will retire two players' jerseys this season: Chris Webber's No. 8 on Feb. 6 and Vlade Divac's No. 21 on March 31
during ceremonies at ARCO Arena.

On Feb. 21, Princeton University will name the floor at its
Jadwin Gym "Carril Court" in honor of former coach Pete Carril,
now the Kings' Basketball Development Consultant.


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