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November 13, 2009

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Sizzling Suns eclipse Hornets for best record

THE Phoenix Suns scored 75 points in the first half before cruising to a 124-104 rout of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.

Amare Stoudemire had a team-high 21 points and Grant Hill added 18 as the Suns tied the best record in the National Basketball Association by improving to 8-1. The Boston Celtics also have the same record.

"I think we can play even better," Phoenix guard Jason Richardson told reporters after finishing with 13 points.

"I don't think we're running yet. Once we get that, like we normally do, we'll be pretty good."

In a contest billed as a matchup between two of the best point guards in the league, the game quickly became so one-sided that the showdown pitting Hornet Chris Paul against Steve Nash of the Suns was rendered irrelevant.

All-Star Paul recorded 26 points while two-time MVP Nash finished with 12 points and 10 assists in just 23 minutes of play.

Phoenix made 13-of-26 three-pointers and shot 55 percent from the field as it dropped the struggling Hornets to 3-6.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was: Cavaliers 102, Magic 93; Raptors 99, Bulls 89; Pacers 108, Warriors 94; Celtics 105, Jazz 86; Hawks 114, Knicks 101; 76ers 82, Nets 79; Pistons 98, Bobcats 75; Brewers 108, Nuggets 102; Trail Blazers 107, Timberwolves 84; Rockets 104, Grizzlies 79; Spurs 92, Mavericks 83; and Thunder 83, Clippers 79.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the Suns burst out of the gate with 40 points in the first quarter before starting the second with a 14-4 run that led to a 75-56 halftime advantage.

Leading by as much as 28 late in the game, Phoenix rested its starters down the stretch as it enjoyed its fourth straight victory and first game at home following a five-game Eastern Conference road trip.

"They got on us early and we were just trying to catch up all night," said New Orleans center Emeka Okafor, who finished with 13 points. "It's hard to win a game like that...especially against a team as good as that."

After missing the playoffs, the Suns have enjoyed a new beginning under coach Alvin Gentry, who took over for the sacked Terry Porter in the middle of last season.

Under Gentry, the team has returned to the fast-paced style that made them successful and one of the most exciting teams in the NBA in previous seasons.

The 35-year-old Nash, who signed a contract extension to stay with Phoenix in the offseason, has looked energized and is leading the NBA in assists.

New Orleans has struggled this season prompting the team to make some line-up changes. Forward Peja Stojakovic started just his second game of the year but finished pointless on 0-for-8 shooting.


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