Amar'e Stoudemire won't be wearing a Phoenix Suns uniform for very much longer, if the current maelstrom of trade rumors proves to be true.
With a little more than 24 hours to go until the NBA trading deadline, Big STAT could become a member of the Miami Heat by this time next week. Ditto the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, or any of half a dozen other teams vying for the services of the 6-foot-10 superstar
For the moment, however, Stoudemire is still leading the Suns with dominant basketball playing, as in last night's 109-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Amar'e racked up 21 points and six assists in the road game, helping Phoenix emerge from the All-Star break with guns blazing and making it a tough night for the Grizzlies. Jason Richardson was also on hot streak, spending his 35 minutes of playing time going 12-for-17 with his buckets, producing 27 points. He was equally tough on defense, nabbing five rebounds, and unleashing a flurry of blocks and steals, which helped limit Memphis' shooting to 35 percent. It also didn't help that Marc Gasol had a piss-poor evening at the foul line, going 3 for 12.
J-Rich caught fire at the start of the second quarter, when the Grizzlies were up by only three, hitting outside jumpers and knocking back pair of treys. Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic also combined for 17 points in the quarter, putting the Suns ahead by eight by halftime.
Then Phoenix really blew things open in the third, putting a 21-point gulf between them and Memphis at one point. Grant Hill and Jared Dudley (10 points each) contributed down the stetch, allowing Planet Orange to maintain their double-digit lead through the end of the game (despite a late rally from the Zach Randolph and the rest of the Grizzlies).
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The Suns (32-22) have now won six of the last seven and are currently a half-game back from the Mavericks for the fourth spot in the Western Conference, which makes for an interesting setup for tonight's game in Dallas.
Coach Rick Carlisle's squad endured a tough loss to the surging Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, probably because Mavs players are trying to gel with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, who arrived from the Washington Wizards after a seven-player trade last week.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. our time. TV: My45 HD. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.nba.com/suns.