Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Wednesday, December 4th
Game 2: Sunday, December 8th
Game 3: Friday, January 10th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 26th

Suns 96

(23-14, 16-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 10, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 24 22 21 2390
    PHX 23 23 22 2896

    Top Performers

    Memphis: P. Gasol 22 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Phoenix: S. Marbury 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Stl

    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 story.

    Stephon Marbury

    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 tries.

    "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 absence.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 96
    FGM-FGA 38-82 (.463) 37-88 (.420)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 4-16 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 10-12 (.833) 18-20 (.900)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-31 23-52
    Assists 20 25
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 8 4
    Fast Break Points 7 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 14 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 22
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0