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Suns outscore Jazz 136-128

Boozer leaves game in second quarter with foot injury

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2005

PHOENIX - Amare Stoudemire had 42 points and 12 rebounds, Steve Nash matched a season high with 18 assists and the Phoenix Suns held off the Utah Jazz 136-128 on Monday night.

Quentin Richardson added 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:21 left that opened a 128-121 lead. Nash scored 19 to help Phoenix (41-12) move a half-game ahead of idle San Antonio for the NBA's best record.

Shawn Marion had 18 points and Joe Johnson 13 for the Suns, who took three games from the Jazz to win the season series 3-1 for the first time since 1992-93.

Stoudemire scored 15 of Phoenix's 40 points in the third quarter to help the Suns overcome a four-point halftime deficit. Richardson's 25-footer, his seventh 3 of the game, was Phoenix's last field goal, but the Suns held on from the foul line, finishing 33-of-42.

Both teams set a season high for points.

The Jazz had six players in double figures, three off the bench, but couldn't earn coach Jerry Sloan his 953rd victory to tie Dick Motta for seventh place on the NBA's career list.

Raja Bell had a season-high 22 points, Howard Eisley had a season-high 20 and 11 assists, and Matt Harpring had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points and four assists when he sprained his right ankle 4:18 into the second quarter, and Carlos Boozer, Utah's leading scorer, injured his right foot with 44 seconds left in the second quarter, leaving the game with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Neither returned, and their absence hurt Utah on both ends.

Phoenix, which trailed for all but the opening minutes of the first half, got a burst of energy when three more Jazz players got into foul trouble early in the third quarter.

Harpring, who replaced Kirilenko at small forward, and starters Mehmet Okur and Raul Lopez all picked up a fourth foul in a 46-second span.

Lopez's fourth sent Stoudemire to the foul line after a layup, and the three-point play gave the Suns a 65-64 lead with 10:12 remaining in the third.

Stoudemire had two more three-point plays after muscling in layups off offensive rebounds. His third of the period opened an 86-73 Phoenix lead with 4:22 to go.

The Jazz shot 68 percent in the first quarter, leading by as much as 31-22 with 3:10 to go on Harpring's three-point play.

Phoenix tied it at 34 when Walter McCarty sank a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, but that set off a 6-1 surge by Utah, forcing the Suns to play catch-up again.



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