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Stoudemire puts up Phoenix's fifth 50-point game

PHOENIX (AP) -- Watching Amare Stoudemire score 50 points against
the Portland Trail Blazers reminded teammate Quentin Richardson of
one of the NBA's greatest players.

"Amare Stoudemire looked like Wilt Chamberlain," Richardson
said after the Suns' 117-98 victory over the Trail Blazers on
Sunday night.

With the crowd of 18,166 cheering wildly in the final minutes as
Stoudemire approached the 50-point mark, the fans got their wish
with 43.2 seconds remaining when the young Suns' phenom scored on a
15-foot turnaround jump shot to hit the half-century mark.

"I wasn't thinking about (scoring 50)," Stoudemire said. "I
heard one of the fans say 46, and that's when I thought about it,
but I wasn't pressing and trying to get 50 points. It just came to
me in the flow of the game.

"It feels great to do it at the young age of 22," he added.
"That's the tip of the iceberg."

Stoudemire scored on a variety of shots -- dunks, jumpers and
power moves to the basket.

"It wasn't all power tonight, because a lot of moves were
finesse out there," said Stoudemire, who also had 11 rebounds.
"The power moves allow me to finesse it up and catch them
off-guard."

The Suns have the NBA's best record at 26-4 and have won 22 of
their last 24 games, including eight straight at home.

Richardson added 20 points, capping a key fourth-quarter 12-2
burst with a 3-pointer, and Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson each
scored 15.

Darius Miles led Portland with 25 points, Zach Randolph had 22
points and 14 rebounds, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim finished with 14
points and 10 rebounds.

Stoudemire, who had 20 points in the final period, shot 20-of-27
from the field and 10-of-17 from the foul line to set a new career
high and amass the highest point total by a Phoenix player since
Tony Delk scored 53 against Sacramento in a 121-117 overtime loss
Feb. 2, 2001. Stoudemire's previous high was 38, set against
Minnesota during his rookie year and against New Orleans earlier
this season.

Only Tom Chambers, with 60 and 56, and Delk have scored more as
a Suns' player than Stoudemire. Cliff Robinson also had 50.

"I told (Stoudemire) that if he starts learning to make free
throws, he could score 75," Richardson said, laughing. "You don't
see anyone miss seven shots and score 50."

Stoudemire said he once scored 68 points in an AAU game.

Phoenix led only 83-81 before Stoudemire began the decisive run,
scoring the first nine points. By the time he and Richardson
finished the Suns' surge, Phoenix was safely ahead 95-83.

Miles was among the many Portland players impressed by
Stoudemire's performance.

"He just makes one move and he can go hard one way and jump
over his defender," Miles said.

After falling behind 30-22 in the first period, the fast-paced
Suns matched a season high with 41 points in the second quarter and
led 63-56 at halftime.

Stoudemire was nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring 26
points on 11-of-15 shooting, including five dunks.

In the opening period, dominated by the Blazers' front line,
only Stoudemire (12) and Richardson (10) scored for Phoenix. Those
two combined to hit 10 of 14 field goal attempts, but the rest of
the team was 0-for-9.

But in the second period, the Suns' took over with their running
game, outscoring the Trail Blazers 10-0 on fast-break points and
hitting 64 percent (16-of-25) of their shots.

In addition to Stoudemire's 16 points in the second quarter,
Marion chipped in with 10.

Stoudemire took only two shots in the third quarter and scored
four points, but seven consecutive Phoenix points by Johnson late
in the period kept the Suns ahead 83-79 heading into the fourth
quarter.

Game notes
Portland's Theo Ratliff, the league's fifth-leading
shot-blocker, and Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa, the Suns' No. 2 point
guard, were late pregame scratches. Ratliff missed his second
straight game because of bursitis in his left shoulder and Barbosa
was out with chicken pox. Barbosa will not travel to Minnesota on
Tuesday or Houston on Wednesday. ... Randolph is one of five
players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds
per game. The others are Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, Dallas' Dirk
Nowitzki, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Miami's Shaquille O'Neal.
... Phoenix needs only three more victories to equal its total of
29 from last season.