Monday, November 17, 2008
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Shaq ejected, but Suns beat Pistons 104-86

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[November 17, 2008]  PHOENIX (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire had 29 points and 11 rebounds on his 26th birthday and the Phoenix Suns overcame Shaquille O'Neal's second-quarter ejection to beat the Detroit Pistons 104-86 on Sunday night.

CivicSteve Nash, back from a one-game suspension for his part in a skirmish with several Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, added 17 points and seven assists for the Suns, who already were without two players before O'Neal was tossed for a flagrant foul with 5:19 left in the first half. Boris Diaw had 13 points for Phoenix.

Richard Hamilton scored 19 for the Pistons, who entered the game 3-0 on a four-game western swing that began Tuesday. In their previous stop, they handed the Lakers their first loss of the season Friday night in Los Angeles.

Detroit's Allen Iverson scored nine points on 4-for-17 shooting.

The Suns made 14 of their first 19 shots and never trailed again.

O'Neal had 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter before his night came to an early end.

The call was made with 5:19 left in the half when Rodney Stuckey went up for a layup and O'Neal sent the Pistons' player crashing chest-first to the court. The flagrant foul two, which is an automatic ejection, was upheld after a review by referee Ken Mauer.


O'Neal stayed on the court to argue vehemently as Mauer ignored him before the Suns' big man finally left as US Airways Center echoed with boos.

Stuckey made both free throws to cut Phoenix's lead to 48-35.

But the Suns scored the next six to take their biggest lead of the half, 54-35, on two free throws by Robin Lopez with 3:19 left in the half. A 9-1 Detroit spurt cut the lead to 55-44 but Nash made two 3-pointers in the final 29 seconds to put Phoenix ahead 61-46 at the break behind 70 percent first-half shooting.

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The Suns led 81-67 after three, then Detroit scored the first five points on the fourth quarter to cut it to 81-72 when Will Bynum stole the ball from Nash for a layup with 10:26 to play. After a timeout, Nash sank a 20-footer, and Detroit never cut it to single digits again.

Diaw sank a 3-pointer, then made an inside hook, and Stoudemire scored on a drive, then followed with a dunk on a three-point play, putting Phoenix ahead 93-75 with 7:43 remaining.

Phoenix was without forward Matt Barnes and guard Leandro Barbosa for the second game in a row. Barnes completed a two-game suspension for his part in the fracas with the Rockets. Barbosa has returned to Brazil following the death of his mother.

Notes: Discounting O'Neal's three misses, the Suns were 13-for-14 in the first quarter. ... O'Neal was fined $35,000 for his role in the brush up with the Rockets on Wednesday. ... Detroit won its previous two games in Phoenix by an average of 26 points. ... Porter was an assistant for the Pistons the past two seasons.

[Associated Press; By BOB BAUM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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