Stoudemier stands tall as Suns beat Grizzlies

PHOENIX (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire's worst game of the season
happened in Memphis a month ago. The rematch was a far different

The 20-year-old rookie had 16 points and a career-best 21
rebounds as the Phoenix Suns won their ninth consecutive home game
Friday night, 96-90 over the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I'm a rebounding kind of guy,'' Stoudemire said. "I like to
get a lot of rebounds, you know what I mean?''

Stephon Marbury, who had 25 points and 11 assists, scored 11 in
the final 4:11, going 7-for-7 on free throws. He was 11-for-11 at
the line overall.

Stoudemire had two points, two rebounds, four fouls and a
technical in the Suns' loss at Memphis Dec. 8. But he said atoning
for that performance that was not his motivation Friday.

"I was thinking how Utah outrebounded us by 21 night before
last,'' he said.

Phoenix outrebounded Memphis 52-31.

"They had 16 offensive rebounds in the second half,'' Memphis
coach Hubie Brown said. "That was the difference in the game.''

Stoudemire's 21 rebounds were the most by a Phoenix player since
Charles Barkley's 26 against Houston on March 24, 1995. No Suns
player had reached 20 since A.C. Green had 20 against the Los
Angeles Clippers on Jan. 9, 1996.

"Stoudemire was a monster tonight,'' Brown said. "He played
great, and he made so many things happen for other people by
sacrificing his body. They're so fortunate to have a young man who
has great athletic talent, but plays with his heart.''

Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds as all five Memphis
starters hit double figures.

The Grizzlies came close to their second road victory in 16

"It's been the same story all season on the road,'' Shane
Battier said. "I don't know. One day we'll figure it out. We're
right there. We're right there in the game.''

Gordan Giricek's 3-pointer cut Phoenix's lead to 88-85 with 1:45
to play. Scott Williams, who scored 10 points, sank a 17-footer on
an assist from Marbury, then Marbury sank a fallaway 20-footer to
put the Suns up 92-85 with 1:06 remining.

Before tipoff, the Suns announced that Penny Hardaway will
undergo surgery Saturday to repair a ligament in his right thumb
and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Joe Johnson started in Hardaway's spot and was 2-for-9 shooting
for five points in 22 minutes.

The Suns trailed much of the first half but managed a 46-46 tie
at the break on Marion's 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds to play. The
third quarter was more of the same, with Casey Jacobsen's 3-pointer
-- his first field goal of the game -- with 30.7 seconds to play
giving Phoenix a 72-71 lead entering the fourth.

Shawn Marion started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer as the
shot clock expired. Then Marion scored on a fastbreak stuff when
teammate Randy Brown stole the ball, and tossed it behind him as he
sailed out of bounds, and the Suns led 77-71 with 10:47 to play.

"That play typified what Randy Brown is all about,'' Suns coach
Frank Johnson said, "taking charges, diving for loose balls,
making hustle plays.''

Brown should fill a bigger role for the Suns in Hardaway's

Game notes
The Suns' nine-game home winning streak is the longest
current streak in the NBA. ... The NBA rookie rebounding record is
45 by Wilt Chamberlain in 1960. ... The Grizzlies' 1-15 road mark
is second-worst in the league behind Chicago's 1-16. ... Hardaway
injured his thumb in practice Nov. 21 but didn't know how serious
it was until he saw a hand specialist on Friday. ... The Suns have
not lost two in a row since Dec. 8 and 9 at Memphis and New Jersey.
... Phoenix is 18-8 since Stoudemire became a starter.

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