SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—Amare Stoudemire didn’t need to see the replay. He knew his game-ending block was clean.
Stoudemire blocked a shot by Brad Miller with less than a second remaining that would have tied the game, and the Phoenix Suns beat the Sacramento Kings 125-123 in a thrilling matchup of the Pacific Division’s top two teams Tuesday night.
“I rotated out and blocked it perfectly,” said Stoudemire, who was named an All-Star earlier in the day. “It was a great block. There was no contact. As soon as it left his hand, I hit it. It feels good to win one on defense. That was a first for me.”
Miller, Chris Webber and Mike Bibby immediately began yelling at official Bernie Fryer, calling for goaltending. But several replays showed the block was good. On his way out, Webber kicked the game ball deep into the stands, and it fell just short of reaching the second level of seats. Miller hurled his headband and a sweatband.
A short while later in the locker room, Cuttino Mobley went into a tirade against the officials that lasted more than 10 minutes. Mobley said he saw Shawn Marion hold Webber’s arm, allowing Stoudemire to be in position to make the block.
Mobley said he knows he’ll probably be fined for the outburst.
“I don’t care right now. I’m sticking up for my team,” he said. “If I get fined for this, so what. It’s ridiculous, man. You don’t miss calls and close your eyes on purpose.”
The officials were long gone by the time Mobley’s rambling rip session had ended.
Steve Nash scored a season-high 33 points with 17 assists as the Suns snapped an eight-game losing streak in Arco Arena to win for the eighth time in nine games. Nash has passed for 11 or more assists in each of his last seven games.
“I enjoy setting up my team and I take shots when the opportunity’s there,” Nash said.
Webber had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double this season and second in as many games—marking the first time in Sacramento franchise history a player has recorded back-to-back triple-doubles.
Joe Johnson scored nine of his 28 points in the fourth quarter for Phoenix, which won in Sacramento for the first time since April 9, 2000, and avenged a 113-111 loss to the Kings on Nov. 13.
“The last team to score was going to win, and that’s about what happened,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said.
The Kings were one of only two Western Conference teams the Suns hadn’t beaten this season. The other is San Antonio.
Bibby had 27 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Kings after scoring 35 and 40 points in his two previous games. Sacramento lost despite scoring a season high in points and matching its season best with 12 3-pointers.
Nash’s 3 with 5:39 left gave the Suns a 107-106 lead, and Marion scored the next time down to cap an 8-0 run. Miller missed a layin on a three-on-one break with less than 2 minutes remaining, then Marion tied the game at 119 on the other end. Miller’s short turnaround jumper with 34.9 to go made it 123-122, but Quentin Richardson scored on the other end moments later.
Webber missed with 8 seconds on the clock, then Marion converted the second of two free throws to make it 125-123. Sacramento got a final chance, but Stoudemire made the big defensive play.
Mobley hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter and finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Kings fell six games behind division-leading Phoenix, which is one-half game behind the Spurs for the league’s best record.
The Kings, playing with their starting lineup intact for the second straight game, took a 94-90 lead into the fourth quarter after Webber’s 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in the third. The Kings used a 13-2 run that overlapped both quarters to build a 100-92 lead on Eddie House’s 3 with 10:22 left, but couldn’t hold it.
Phoenix is in a stretch where it plays seven of 13 against teams in the top six in the West—Sacramento, Seattle, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston—and two others are against division leaders Boston and Detroit.
The Kings also have a tough week. They play in Seattle on Thursday, then return home to host the Mavericks on Friday night.
No Kings made the All-Star roster for the first time since 1989. “Seven years in and I haven’t made it,” Bibby said. “There’s nothing I can do. You can’t get mad about something you don’t expect to happen, and I didn’t expect it to happen.” Said Adelman: “I was surprised. I really thought we’d have one player. That’s the way it is. You only have seven spots.” … Earlier in the day, the Suns acquired F Walter McCarty from the Boston Celtics for a 2005 draft pick and cash. … Adelman and Suns coach Mike D’Antoni were roommates in the ’70s playing for the Kansas City/Omaha Kings. … Phoenix is 8-0 on the road when scoring 120 or more points.