Stoudemire’s 27 points lead Suns to 10th in a row
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Phoenix Suns have won 10 straight games, have 50 victories this season, and still might not get home-court advantage in the first round.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry isn’t sure what else his team can do.
The Suns (50-26) shot 56 percent from the floor and moved their winning streak to double figures Friday night with a 109-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Phoenix is tied for second place in the Western Conference.
“We’ve needed every one of these, and we’re going to need some more,” Gentry said. “I would have never believed that we could win these 10 games and still be looking at the possibility of starting the playoffs on the road. This is a tough, tough conference.”
Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 27 points on 13-of-15 shooting.
“We’re playing well, and whenever you have a 10-game winning streak, it is going to be fun,” said Stoudemire, who did miss five of eight free throws. “At the same time, we’re playing for something, so we’ve got to keep this going.”
Jared Dudley(notes) added a career-high 20 points, hitting 6-of-7 3-pointers, and Grant Hill(notes) had 17 against the team where he started his career. The Suns finished with 15 3-pointers on 29 attempts, while Detroit was just 2 of 11.
“I had a lot of wide-open shots out there,” Dudley said. “Amare plays at such a high level that he frees everyone else up. If they don’t help on him, he’s going to get some dunks, and if they do, he can find the open man. That’s why this team is so hard to guard.”
“I thought our guys worked hard, but our biggest thing is finding a way to finish plays and finish games,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “Phoenix is on a mission right now, but we have to make sure that we don’t give people layups while still being able to cut off their 3s.”
Stoudemire had 19 points in the first half, helping Phoenix to a 56-50 lead. The Western Conference player of the month for March missed only one of his 10 field-goal attempts in the half, and responded by dunking his own offensive rebound. His only other miss of the night was a blown dunk in the third quarter.
“We played with a lot of energy tonight, but it came in spurts,” Gentry said. “At times, we didn’t have the focus that we needed, and we have to be more consistent with that.”
NOTES: Richard Hamilton(notes) missed his second straight game with an ankle injury, while Jason Maxiell(notes) sat out after straining a back muscle on Wednesday. … Hill and Ben Wallace(notes) picked up technical fouls for arguing first-half calls, while Stoudemire was given an unusual technical in the third. After a collision with Jonas Jerebko(notes), he threw the ball at the Swedish rookie. It appeared that he was simply trying to knock the ball out-of-bounds off Jerebko, but official John Goble called him for a technical. … Charlie Villanueva(notes) played 18 minutes after being benched for Detroit’s previous game. … Wallace shot an airball on his only free-throw attempt. He has missed 22 of his last 25 shots from the line, and is shooting 38 percent from the season—three points better than teammate Kwame Brown(notes).