If the Phoenix Suns' game Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks was the last game with Amar'e Stoudemire in a Suns uniform, at least the All-Star went out with a bang.
Stoudemire scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Suns' 107-97 loss, which snapped the Suns' five-game winning streak on the road.
Most Suns fans seem resigned to the notion that Stoudemire is gone. In the weeks leading up to today's trade deadline, he's been the biggest name mentioned in trade talks. As late as Wednesday afternoon, the most likely destinations for him were the Miami Heat (where he would join Dwyane Wade) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (where he would join Lebron James).
But Wednesday night, the possibility of Stoudemire's going anywhere took a big hit when the Cavaliers traded for the Washington Wizards' Antawn Jamison. Stoudemire himself told reporters Wednesday that he puts the chances at 50-50 that he'll be traded today.
Stoudemire's 30 points gave him eight straight games of scoring 20 or more after a barren stretch of contests in which he was mostly a non-factor offensively and defensively. After the game, Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said, "I think he's put all [the trade talk] behind him and just played."
Too bad it wasn't enough on Wednesday night against the Mavericks, whose acquisition of Caron Butler positioned the Dallas game as one of the top dogs in the Western Conference. Butler scored 15 points and sparked a 16-4 run in the third quarter that set the tone (along with the Suns' woeful 17 turnovers) for the rest of the night. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 28 points.
Though he dished out 12 assists, the Suns' Steve Nash had a rough night offensively, scoring only nine points on uncharacteristically bad shooting, which can probably be blamed on a sore back. Nash went only 4-of-13 from the field. Jason Richardson scored 19 and pulled down seven rebounds, and Robin Lopez added 14 points. In the end, the Suns (the NBA's highest-scoring team) were held to fewer than 100 points for the seventh time this season.
The Suns will return home on Friday night for a game against the Atlanta Hawks, who are 34-18 and currently hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Hawks are led by All-Star Joe Johnson, who's scored an average of 21.5 points per game this seaon, and Al Horford, who averages 9.3 rebounds and 13.7 points per game.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. at US Airways Center. TV: My45 (channel 9). Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.nba.com/suns