Suns 140, Raptors 126

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TORONTO (AP)—The Phoenix Suns want Amare Stoudemire to be healthy, and they showed the Toronto Raptors they’re ready to move on this season if their star post player needs more time to heal.

Boris Diaw had 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds and Leandro Barbosa added a career-high 28 points to lead the Suns to a 140-126 win over Toronto on Friday night.

Seven players scored in double figures for Phoenix, which finished with the most points in the seven-year history of the Air Canada Centre. It was also the second highest total allowed by the Raptors. The record is 152 by the Los Angeles Clippers on March 13, 1998.

Phoenix scored more than 31 points in each quarter on its way to posting its highest regulation scoring total since it scored 140 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 23, 1994.

Shawn Marion said they’re right again.

“The ball was stagnant. We weren’t really running the floor, but now we’re forcing the tempo of the game and everybody is trying to catch the pass for the open shot,” Marion said.

Marion had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Canadian Steve Nash added 20 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who struggled when an injured Stoudemire returned earlier in March.

Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee and missed the first 66 games of the season. He played in three games but the knee didn’t respond well and the Suns shelved him again.

Before the game, Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said Stoudemire probably won’t be coming back.

“With him we have a heck of a lot better chance of winning a title, but at the same time I think guys know their roles and they understand this is probably the way we want to go and get back to the way we were,” D’Antoni said.

Marion said Stoudemire should just make sure he is right.

“That’s all that matters,” Marion said.

Morris Peterson had a career-high 38 points for the Raptors. Toronto lost its second straight without injured All-Star Chris Bosh, who sat out with a sprained thumb.

“I thought it was a track meet tonight,” Peterson said. “Every time we got the lead down to one, they just turned it up. There were a lot of things they did that I don’t know if we have matches on defense for.”

Phoenix scored 70 points in the first half—the most Toronto has allowed in the first half this season.

The Suns made 15 of 27 3-pointers in the game, while Toronto went 11-for-22.

Barbosa had 17 points in the first half to help Phoenix take a 70-60 lead at the break.

“It’s fun to watch him,” Nash said. “His speed is unbelievable and when he gets opportunities to use it, it’s such a weapon for us.”

Toronto trailed by as many as 11 in the third quarter, but Peterson had a chance to tie it late in the third by making three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

He missed one and Phoenix followed with a decisive 19-4 run capped by dunks by Marion and Diaw.

Raja Bell’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run, giving Phoenix a 13-point lead early in the first quarter.

“They just move the ball and they don’t miss shots,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.


D’Antoni joked the Suns don’t have a chance against San Antonio and Dallas in the playoffs without Stoudemire. “We just to have to hit all of our shots and have a couple of their players get hurt,” D’Antoni said. … Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo faced his former team for the first time. Bryan’s father, Jerry, watched from the stands. He’s the CEO of the Suns. … Bryan Colangelo said changes need to be made to his new organization. “It’s about changing the culture, to have people think we are going to go out and win basketball games, not lose,” Colangelo said.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
B. Diaw B. Diaw
9-14,  26 Pts
8 Rebs, 9 Assists
M. James M. James
11-25,  36 Pts
4 Rebs, 10 Assists

Team Stat Leaders