In five games since Nash returned to Phoenix’s lineup, Stoudemire has averaged 32.4 points and shot 68 percent from the field (58-for-85). He averaged 16.7 points on 34 percent shooting (18-for-53) in the previous three games with the NBA’s assists leader sidelined by injury.
“It’s easy when you’ve got a point guard who passes as well as Steve does,” Stoudemire said. “He makes everything a lot easier and just gets the job done.”
Stoudemire is ranked among the league’s top five in scoring at 26.1 points per game and field-goal shooting at 57.4 percent. Without Nash last season, he averaged 20.6 points and shot 47.5 percent.
Nash has 32 assists in the last two games and leads the league with 11.0 per game.
Stoudemire scored 42 points on Friday, going 14-of-21 from the field and 14-for-16 at the foul line as the Suns won 128-119 in Boston for their fourth straight victory.
”(Amare) just got it going early and they had no answer for him,” said Phoenix forward Shawn Marion, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds. “He’s a beast and it’s easy when you’ve got No. 13 (Nash) feeding you the ball.”
The Suns lead the NBA with 109.4 points per game, but have been particularly hot in their last five outings. They’ve averaged 123.6 points during that span, shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 49.2 percent from 3-point range (65-for-132).
Quentin Richardson has made 22 3-pointers in the last four games for Phoenix, which is halfway through a six-game road trip that continues at Memphis on Tuesday and ends in Minnesota the following night.
The road wins the Suns have on this trip equal the number Toronto has had all season.
The Raptors fell to 3-20 away from home with Friday’s 101-94 loss to Charlotte, which came in on a 10-game losing streak.
Coach Sam Mitchell sounded particularly upset after keeping the locker room closed for an exceptionally long time following the game.
“We’re beating ourselves and that’s a disappointment,” he said. “We’ve done it on the road and at home at times. Until we understand that if you want to be a playoff team you’ve got to go out and compete every night, every possession, we’re going to have a mediocre season.”
Toronto has lost three of four after opening the month 7-2.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 28): Suns - 1st place, Pacific Division. Raptors - 4th place, 2 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Suns - Stoudemire, 26.1 ppg; Marion, 10.8 rpg; Nash, 11.0 apg. Raptors - Rose, 15.7 ppg; Bosh, 8.2 rpg; Alston, 7.1 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Suns, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 26; Suns, 106-94. At Phoenix, Stoudemire scored 33 points and Nash had 18 points and 13 assists as the Suns won their 11th straight despite blowing a 20-point lead.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Suns - 18-6 on the road; Raptors - 15-6 at home.