Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Friday, November 14th
Game 2: Monday, February 2nd
Game 3: Sunday, March 29th
Game 4: Friday, April 3rd

Suns 97

(7-3, 5-1 away)

Kings 95

(4-6, 3-2 home)

    Coverage: KUTP

    10:00 PM ET, November 14, 2008

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    PHX 27 26 17 16 1197
    SAC 23 19 19 25 995

    Top Performers

    PHX: S. O'Neal 29 Pts, 13 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Sac: J. Salmons 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    Shaq scores 29 in OT win for short-handed Suns

    Associated Press

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Often a villain in past years when visiting Arco Arena with the Los Angeles Lakers, aging Shaquille O'Neal played that role once again Friday night for the Phoenix Suns.

    Fast Facts

    • Amare Stoudemire hit a fadeaway jumper with 4.5 seconds left in overtime and blocked Sacramento's last second attempt to tie the game to give Phoenix its fifth straight win over the Kings.

    • Shaquille O'Neal had his best game as a Sun with 29 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. It was his first game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists since March 2, 2007, when he played with the Heat.

    • The Suns won for the first time this season when scoring fewer than 100 points (were 0-3). Sacramento has lost five of its last six home games vs. Phoenix and 10 of 11 overall in the series.

    -- ESPN research

    Looking like the Shaq of old, O'Neal tied a season high with 29 points and had 13 rebounds and six assists to help the short-handed Suns beat the Sacramento Kings 97-95 in overtime.

    "I got a few more touches tonight, and when that happens I'm going to get my points," said O'Neal, who played a season-high 43 minutes. "Back in the day when we had a rivalry going, it was much louder and we had the guy with the cowbell going. Come back guy with the cowbell."

    While O'Neal and Grant Hill, another aging veteran who scored 22 points, were carrying the Suns in regulation, Amare Stoudemire was the star in overtime for the Suns. He had six points, including the winner, and blocked two shots to preserve the victory.

    With the score tied following a timeout late in overtime, a broken play left Stoudemire with the ball. He took a few dribbles, then hit a 16-foot jumper over Spencer Hawes to give Phoenix a 97-95 with 4.5 seconds left.

    John Salmons drove the baseline in the closing seconds, but Stoudemire partially blocked the shot. Hawes got the rebound, but his put back never saw the rim as Stoudemire rejected it to end a game the Suns won without three starters.

    "I saw Salmons driving to the basket with a wide open layup," Stoudemire said, "and I moved toward him and he went reverse and I got a piece of it and deflected it to Spencer. I was able to block his shot as well."

    Salmons, who led the Kings with 21 points, had his own version of the play while standing in the locker room with six stitches above his left eye, courtesy of that play.

    "I still think there was contact, but I don't think anybody is gong to call that at the end of the game," Salmons said. "Amare is a good player. They put the ball in his hands [at the end] and he produced. That's what he does."

    The day certainly began poorly for the Suns, who were informed by the NBA league office that Steve Nash would be serving a one-game suspension and teammate Matt Barnes would miss two games for their part in a fight Wednesday against Houston.

    The suspensions compounded the problem for the short-handed Suns, who also played without Leandro Barbosa. One of the best sixth man in the NBA, Barbosa left the team Thursday night after hearing the news of his mother's death. He flew to his native Brazil and will be gone for an undetermined time.

    Stoudemire, who finished with 12 points, was quiet through much of the game and failed to score in the second half when he only took one shot. But he opened the overtime with two jumpers to put the Suns on top. With Sacramento down by two points, Hawes took a pass from Brad Miller and tied it at 95 on a short banker with 13.9 seconds left.

    "Shaq carried us, he did a great job of distributing the ball in the paint," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "We started going to Grant to give Shaq a rest and he made some big shots for us. Then Amare was able to find a rhythm and help us get the win."

    Raja Bell had 14 points and Boris Diaw added nine for the Suns, who are trying to play a slower brand of basketball with Porter taking over for Mike D'Antoni. Hill also had nine rebounds, four assists, but committed seven turnovers.

    Miller had 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings, who fell behind midway through the second quarter and never led again. Beno Udrih had 18 points and Hawes added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

    "I think we can play better than we did, but we did what we had to do to put ourselves in a position to win the game," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "We just didn't get it done."

    With O'Neal on the bench following a timeout and the scored tied, Hill missed a jump shot with 5 seconds left in regulation and Miller secured the rebound. Following two timeouts, Quincy Douby missed a jumper with a second left, sending the game to overtime.

    Game notes

    Udrih and Suns rookie point guard Goran Dragic played together on Slovenia's national team. ... The loss of Nash, Barnes and Barbosa robbed Phoenix of 35 percent of its scoring this season. ... The Kings continue to play without leading scorer Kevin Martin and top reserve Francisco Garcia, who are both injured. ... Porter started his coaching career in Sacramento as an assistant to Rick Adelman in 2002.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 97 95
    FGM-FGA 36-78 (.462) 34-80 (.425)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 4-17 (.235)
    FTM-FTA 20-34 (.588) 23-30 (.767)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-48 9-40
    Assists 22 17
    Turnovers 23 19
    Steals 11 8
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 14 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (2/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 5

    Top Performers

    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 29
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    John Salmons Salmons
    Points: 21
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 1