Suns beat Cavs in battle of young NBA stars

Stoudemire strong down the stretch; James wows, but has seven turnovers

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2003

PHOENIX - Amare and LeBron. First names should suffice for these two young NBA sensations for many years to come.

Amare Stoudemire, at 20 two years older than LeBron James, scored 25 points, including a pair of three-point plays in a fourth-quarter run, as the Phoenix Suns beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-86 on Thursday night.

James, with an array of soaring dunks, hanging bank shots, leaping rebounds and slick passes, had 21 points and eight assists, but had seven turnovers. He had at least 12 rebounds, but a computer malfunction made his final total unclear.

The 18-year-old sensation had just two turnovers in 42 minutes in his 25-point NBA debut in Sacramento on Wednesday night.

"He's a special player," Phoenix coach Frank Johnson said. "His guys love playing with him because he makes everyone around him better - 21 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists. Don't worry about the seven turnovers. That happens to a young guy with a lot of different things thrown at you."

Stoudemire, who last season became the first player straight out of high school to be named NBA rookie of the year, insisted he was not especially charged up because James was there.

The two are very different because they play different positions, Stoudemire said.

"He came out and played a pretty good game," Stoudemire said. "He is the point guard so he has to create for his team. On the other hand, I came out and played hard, did what I needed to do, get the garbage points and help us win."

Stephon Marbury scored 24 for the Suns, including a 25-foot 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Suns an 89-82 lead with 3:46 remaining. Cleveland never was closer than five points thereafter.

Marbury and Stoudemire drew special praise from James.

"I respect those two guys a lot, especially Amare," James said. "He's doing a lot for players coming straight out of high school."

Stoudemire's steal and three-point play put Phoenix up 79-75 with 8:22 to play, then he capped the run with another three-point play that made it 84-78 with 6:40 remaining.

Ricky Davis scored 22 points for the Cavs on 9-for-23 shooting. Juneau-Douglas High School alumnus Carlos Boozer had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Shawn Marion had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix.

James, on the court for 41 minutes, made eight of 17 shots - 1-for-3 in the fourth quarter when the Suns pulled away.

As happened in Sacramento, the Cavs were in the game but couldn't hold up down the stretch.

"This 'young team' stuff is wearing thin very quickly," coach Paul Silas said. "We've got to learn. I just can't stand losing."

Cleveland led 73-72 to start the fourth, and was up 75-74 on Boozer's dunk with 8:51 remaining. Marion's 8-footer with 8:39 to go put Phoenix up for good 76-75. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw, one of Phoenix's 38 trips to the line.

Turnovers and free throws doomed Cleveland. The Cavs committed 24 turnovers, to 15 for the Suns.



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