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GAME OF THE DAY

Stoudemire's 42 points lead Suns past Pacers

December 05, 2007|From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- For much of the fourth quarter, the Indiana Pacers were beating the Phoenix Suns at their own game.

In the end, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash showed the Pacers how it's done.

Stoudemire scored 42 points, and Nash had 18 points and 17 assists to lead the Suns to a 121-117 victory over the Pacers on Tuesday night.

"It was just a relief that we could make the plays down the stretch and get the stops when it counted, but not a very gratifying win," Nash said.

The Suns, who led by 12 points in the second half, rallied in the final minutes. Nash made two free throws with 1:11 left to cut Indiana's lead to 117-115, then he made a three-point basket with 42 seconds remaining to give the Suns a 118-117 lead.

Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley missed a spinning shot in close, and the Suns rebounded. With the shot clock winding down, Stoudemire's mid-range shot bounced up, then in with 6.5 seconds left to give the Suns a 120-117 advantage.

Indiana's Danny Granger missed a three-pointer that could have tied the game, and the Suns rebounded to clinch the victory.

Stoudemire bailed the Suns out, but he almost didn't get the chance. He committed his fifth foul with six minutes left, but Coach Mike D'Antoni kept him in the game.

"He did a good job," D'Antoni said. "That's kind of why I keep him in there. Normally, we would take him out if it was a playoff game, but he has to learn how to do that."

Stoudemire made 15 of 24 shots from the field and 12 of 13 from the free-throw line. He also had 13 rebounds.

Jermaine O'Neal scored a season-high 30 points on 14-for-20 shooting for the Pacers, who nearly made the Suns another of their top Western Conference victims. The Pacers already have beaten Dallas, Utah, Denver and New Orleans.

Around the league

Billy King was fired as president and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers and replaced within hours by New Jersey Nets general manager Ed Stefanski. In a season King called the first in a three-year rebuilding plan, the 76ers are 5-12 after missing the playoffs three of the last four years. King, a 76er since 1997, had one year left on his contract. Stefanski had been the Nets' GM since 2004. . . . The Charlotte Bobcats reached agreement on a three-year, $17.4-million offer sheet with holdout Cleveland Cavaliers restricted free-agent forward Anderson Varejao, 25, giving the Cavaliers a week to match the deal or lose him.

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RESULTS, SCHEDULE

New Jersey 100, at Cleveland 79: Richard Jefferson scored a season-high 36 points and the Nets exploited LeBron James' absence. The Cavaliers have lost four in a row and are 0-3 without James (sprained finger), falling to 9-10. Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown wouldn't comment on James' injury.

at Sacramento 117, Utah 107: John Salmons took over after the Kings' leading scorer, Kevin Martin, left because of a pulled groin late in the third quarter, scoring 13 straight points in one stretch and finishing with 21 to help the Kings improve to 3-1 on their five-game homestand. Ron Artest added 23 points.

Detroit 106, at Atlanta 95: The Pistons scored 22 of the first 31 points in the third quarter to break open a close game and win their fourth in a row. Tayshaun Prince had 23 points for Detroit. The scoreboard, perhaps unable to keep up, malfunctioned and was blank for the start of the final quarter.

Phoenix 121, at Indiana 117: Steve Nash supported Amare Stoudemire's 42-point effort with 18 points and 17 assists, including two free throws and a three-point basket in the final 1:11 that helped the Suns overcome a five-point fourth-quarter deficit. Phoenix had led by 12 points in the third quarter.

Lakers 116, at Minnesota 95: Kobe Bryant, playing with stomach flu, scored 13 of his 20 points in the first quarter to help the Lakers end a two-game losing streak and send the Timberwolves to an NBA-worst 2-14. Minnesota has lost its last three games by a combined 65 points.

Milwaukee 87, at Clippers 78: Michael Redd scored 10 of his 25 points in the final 3:36, Andrew Bogut had 19 points and 12 rebounds and the Bucks rallied from a 15-point second-quarter deficit. Milwaukee ended a five-game losing streak to the Clippers and a four-game losing streak overall.

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