Shaq scores 35 as Phoenix beats Milwaukee 125-110Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Shaquille O'Neal scored a season-high 35 points and the Phoenix Suns beat Milwaukee 125-110 on Tuesday night, extending their domination of the Bucks in Arizona.
The Suns beat Milwaukee in Phoenix for the 21st straight time, matching the San Antonio Spurs' string of 21 straight home victories over Golden State for the longest active streak. The last Milwaukee victory in Phoenix came on Feb. 21, 1987, when the Suns played in Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the city's West Side.
O'Neal hit 14 of 19 shots from the floor and 7-of-12 from the line, and added eight rebounds and three blocks. It was O'Neal's first 30-point game since March 9, 2007, for Miami against Minnesota.
O'Neal was also assessed a technical foul on a hard foul on Richard Jefferson late in the game.
Amare Stoudemire added 22 points and Steve Nash had 19 points and 10 assists on a night the Suns offense reverted to the free-flowing style the team favored under former coach Mike D'Antoni. Phoenix scored a season-high 36 points in the first quarter, then topped that with 38 in the second on its way to a season-high 74 first-half points.
Charlie Villanueva scored 24 points, Michael Redd had 23 and Richard Jefferson added 22 for Milwaukee, which has lost six of its last eight games.
O'Neal asserted himself early. The Suns shot 63 percent from the floor in the first quarter but led only 36-35 after Villanueva took an inbounds pass, dribbled 50 feet and swished a 21-footer at the buzzer.
That's when O'Neal took over. With the Suns trailing 47-46, O'Neal hit a layup and drew a foul on Francisco Elson. O'Neal missed the free throw, but on the next possession he sparked a fast break with a block shot.
After O'Neal hit another shot in the lane, he drew a double-team and dished to Stoudemire, who dunked to give Phoenix a 56-49 lead.
Meanwhile, Nash was slicing up the Bucks' defense. He had seven assists in the first half, and the prettiest one came on a fast-break dunk by Stoudemire, who drew a foul on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Phoenix led 74-64 at halftime. The Suns shot 66.7 percent from the floor and had four players in double figures.
The Suns cooled off in the third quarter with Nash and O'Neal resting on the bench.
Milwaukee crept within 93-90 on Dan Gadzuric's layup late in the period, but Stoudemire hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Phoenix a 96-90 lead heading into the fourth quarter. It was Stoudemire's second bucket from beyond the arc in four tries this season.
Notes:@ The last time the Bucks won in Phoenix, the Suns' Goran Dragic and the Bucks' Joe Alexander, Mbah a Moute and Ramon Sessions were not yet a year old, and the Suns' Robin Lopez had not yet been born. The Bucks' first-round pick that season was Scott Skiles, their current coach. Skiles did not play in that game. ... This was the first of back-to-back games for both clubs. The Suns visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, while Milwaukee wraps up a three-game western swing at Golden State.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)