PHOENIX (AP)—Happy birthday, Amare Stoudemire.
He followed one of the worst games of his career with his best game of the season, his first 30-point performance since Feb. 18, his final game of last season before he was sidelined because of eye surgery.
“Anytime you have a game like that, especially as a team, it feels great,” Stoudemire said.
“This was a bounce-back game,” he added, referring to his 2-for-15 shooting and eight-point effort against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
“We defintely wanted the win to make sure we took care of home court.”
The Suns improved to an NBA-best 9-2, winning their 13th in a row at home.
They are the only team in the league to score at least 100 points in every game this season and they have scored at least 100 in 30 straight home games. They also are 18-3 at home since Alvin Gentry became coach.
“A good win for us against a quality team,” Gentry said. “They present so many problems for you. I thought after the first quarter we were going to have to score 120 points to win.”
Steve Nash(notes) had 23 points and nine assists, and Channing Frye(notes) added 20, hitting six 3-pointers. Chris Bosh(notes) led the Raptors with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu(notes) scored 20 points, and Andrea Bargnani(notes) had 17.
The score was tied at 98 after a 3-pointer by Turkoglu with 1:34 remaining. He followed that with a 23-foot jumper, giving Toronto a 100-98 lead with 51.5 seconds to go. However, Nash came through with a driving layup with 38.9 left and when he was fouled by Jose Calderon(notes) he converted the foul shot for the final score.
On his winning shot, Nash said, “We were just trying to see what they would give us on the pick-and-roll, and then I found a seam. Luckily we found ways to get stops down the stretch. We had to find a way to grind it out.”
Frye now is an important player for the Suns after spending most of his NBA career as a part-timer. “Last year, I wouldn’t have imagined being on the court at the end of the game,” he said. “This time, I made some big stops.”
Turkoglu had a chance to win the game for the Raptors, taking the game’s final shot, but it rimmed out.
“The shot was just like the shot I made a couple minutes before that on the left corner, and that’s a shot I’ll take every time,” he said.
“That last shot is what we wanted … it was another good look, but it just didn’t go in,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said.
After a sparkling, breakneck pace in the first period, when the Raptors led 33-31, the speed and the scoring slowed considerably in the second quarter. At halftime, Toronto led 53-50, with the help of 14 points and six rebounds from Bosh.
Nash and Stoudemire, both of whom played poorly in Thursday night’s 121-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, fared much better against Toronto in the first half. Nash led all scorers with 15 points and all playmakers with six assists. Stoudemire, who shot a miserable 2-for-15 against the Lakers, had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The game began extremely well for both teams. Only 4:17 had elapsed when 31 points had been scored, with Phoenix leading 17-14. By the end of the quarter, the Suns were shooting 61.9 percent from the field (13 for 21), while the Raptors were at 57.7 percent (15 for 26).
Toronto maintained the lead throughout the third period, finishing the quarter ahead 79-77. Stoudemire continued to torment the Raptors inside, scoring 11 points, and Frye kept the Suns close, hitting three 3s. But the Raptors wouldn’t cede the lead.
NOTES: Bosh leads the NBA in double-doubles with eight. He has scored 20 or more points in 17 consecutive games dating to last season. Bosh also is 6 for 6 on 3-pointers. … Prior to the game, the Suns led the league in 3-pointers made, averaging 11.0 per game, and in 3-point field goal percentage, .462, a franchise record pace. … The Raptors did not make a free throw in the first period, attempting only one. … For the Suns, idle since Thursday, this was their first two-day break of the season.