Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/1

Game 1: Friday, November 1st
Cavaliers74Final
Suns78
Game 2: Sunday, December 29th
Suns103Final
Cavaliers84

Suns 103

(19-11, 6-8 away)

Cavaliers 84

(6-26, 5-12 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 29, 2002

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 38 20 21 24103
    CLE 25 19 23 1784

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: A. Stoudemire 19 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Cleveland: R. Davis 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Stoudemire forces Cavs to foul, foul and foul again

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire played with the intensity of a hyperactive high schooler and the physical presence of a polished professional.

    The 20-year-old rookie made up for the absence of leading scorer Shawn Marion with 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the surging Phoenix Suns over the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers 103-84 Sunday night.

    Stoudemire dominated inside with an active game that had Cleveland defenders reaching and fouling in an effort to stop him. The 6-foot-8 forward, drafted in the first round out of high school, hit a career-best 11 of 15 free throws as Phoenix won its fifth straight and ninth in its last 10.

    "We're always talking about him, saying, 'Man, did you see that?' " said Suns guard Anfernee Hardaway, who scored 16 points.

    "He's got unbelievable talent and a chance to be outstanding,'' said Cavs guard Milt Palacio, who played with Stoudemire in summer ball before being dealt to Cleveland by the Suns in September. "He's quick, strong and hustles. That's a dangerous combination.''

    Marion, averaging 20.4 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds, was not in uniform because of a sprained left ankle. He was injured Friday night in a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, and is questionable for the game Monday night in Minnesota.

    Ricky Davis scored 15 points to lead the Cavaliers, who have lost six of seven to fall to an NBA-worst 6-26.

    "Without Marion, this was a winnable game for us,'' Cavs coach John Lucas said. "But we have to come out with more urgency. We have to defend like we did in the second half.''

    Lucas said Stoudemire's play complicated Cleveland's comeback hopes.

    "He was quicker than we were,'' Lucas said. "He was dominant at times.''

    Rookie Casey Jacobsen, getting increased playing time because of Marion's injury, had 14 points for Phoenix. The Suns led by more than 10 points for most of the game.

    Cavaliers rookie Dajuan Wagner continued to struggle, scoring eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. After averaging 20 points over his first 12 games, the first-round pick has averaged 11 points and shot 30 percent (21-for-69) over his last five.

    "I feel good, but I've got to make some adjustments now,'' Wagner said. "The defense is giving me a little more attention. I'll just keeping working and trying to learn.''

    Phoenix hit its first eight shots and led 38-25 after one quarter. It was the Suns' largest point output in a period this season.

    Stoudemire had 15 points and seven rebounds while playing the entire first half, and Phoenix led at the break 58-44.

    Jones hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as Cleveland got as close nine points with 1:24 left in the period. Jacobsen countered with a 3 to put Phoenix back in command at 79-67.

    Game notes


    Phoenix is 10-3 against Eastern Conference teams, including 6-1 against the Central Division. ... Cleveland went 4-6 at home in December, but plays nine of its next 10 on the road. ... Lucas used his 15th different starting lineup. ... Stoudemire's double-double was his 10th. ... The Suns are 9-0 when shooting 45 percent or better. ... A prerecorded message by Lucas congratulating the Cleveland Browns on making the NFL playoffs was shown on the scoreboard during the game. Asked about the Cavs' playoff timetable, Lucas said: "Umm, we're a year or two behind the Browns right now.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    PHX
    CLE
    Points 103 84
    FGM-FGA 38-84 (.452) 30-79 (.380)
    3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 5-15 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 22-27 (.815) 19-28 (.679)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-35 22-48
    Assists 21 20
    Turnovers 12 26
    Steals 11 11
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 5 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 22 (3/1)

    Top Performers

    Phoenix
    Cleveland
    Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
    Points: 19
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3
    Ricky Davis Davis
    Points: 15
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0