Suns win after Amaré ejection
Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay fouls Suns forward Amaré Stoudemire on a drive in the first half Tuesday in Memphis, Tenn.
by Paul Coro - Dec. 30, 2008 10:51 PM
The Arizona Republic
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - There was some history Tuesday night in the Suns' 101-89 victory over the Grizzlies, as Shaquille O'Neal passed Oscar Robertson and moved into eighth place on the NBA's career scoring list.
Amaré Stoudemire was history, too, receiving two technical fouls for arguing his third personal foul in the second quarter. He then spent the rest of the game with teammate Steve Nash in the FedEx Forum visitors' locker room. Nash sat out for precautionary reasons after suffering back spasms Monday.
"I was Marv Albert, and Steve was Doug Collins," Stoudemire said, referring to the NBA broadcasters after watching the game from the locker room.
But just when the Suns looked like they would be history - trailing 84-76 - the Suns escaped an ugly road trip against bad teams unscathed.
Just as he saved the Suns when Memphis visited Phoenix in November, Leandro Barbosa picked up his offense against the Grizzlies again, scoring 28 points. He was helped by O'Neal's 24-point, 13-rebound game in a rare consecutive-nights appearance.
The Suns needed every bit of their contributions, with Nash and Stoudemire out and Jason Richardson and Matt Barnes shooting a combined 4 for 18 from the field.
"All you've got to do is throw it down to the most consistent big man in the history of the game," O'Neal said. "I'm proven. I'm like underwear. I'm known to keep things in place."
He kept up his improved free-throw shooting by making 8 of 10 and said he missed only because a woman in the front row was flirting with him and blowing kisses.
Phoenix survived on the energy of players such as Louis Amundson and Jared Dudley at times before a near-flawless finish.
The Suns went from committing a fourth consecutive turnover on the fourth quarter's first play to not having another one for the rest of the game.
The Suns went from giving up a 29-point third quarter to holding the Grizzlies to one field goal over the final 8 1/2 minutes.
And that came on a follow.
The Suns scored the game's final 10 points after the follow.
Suns coach Terry Porter said Stoudemire needs to show more maturity in the situation that got him ejected. Stoudemire said he felt official Bill Kennedy gave him a quick whistle when he debated a call away from the ball.
"I felt disrespect," Stoudemire said. "Refs don't like me as much as the cops didn't like Tupac (Shakur)."
Leandro Barbosa started in place of Steve Nash and scored 28 points, and Shaquille O'Neal made a rare consecutive-night appearance and added 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Memphis led 84-76 with 8:42 to go and made one shot the rest of the game.
8: O'Neal moved into eighth place on the NBA's career scoring list, passing Oscar Robertson with a fourth-quarter dunk one night after bumping Dominique Wilkins to 10th place.
View from press row
With Steve Nash out Monday and Tuesday, the Suns needed Amaré Stoudemire. But he got his first disqualification and first ejection of the season on successive nights. Stoudemire, fourth in the NBA with nine technicals, got a silly third foul Tuesday when he grabbed Hakim Warrick away from the ball. Stoudemire argued and received one technical foul and then said something to official Bill Kennedy that would earn any player another technical.