Without Ron Artest and Kevin Martin (not to mention Mike Bibby), the Kings managed to keep the Suns within arms reach until the fourth quarter. But ultimately, it was too much Amare Stoudemire, too much Leandro Barbosa, and too much Shawn Marion, as the Suns put six players in double-figures, and Amare had his third consecutive breakout game in (not coincidentally) the Suns' third consecutive win. Amare played big from the start tonight, ending up with 31 points, 17 rebounds, and several nice highlights.
When Amare wasn't killing the Kings in the paint, either Leandro Barbosa or Shawn Marion was killing them from the outside. Barbosa did most of his damage in the first half, going on one of his scoring barrages, including three three-pointers. He finished with 22 points. Marion, on the other hand, saved his best work for later in the game. He bounced back from a slow start to go 5-of-6 from three, and 10-of-16 overall for 25 points. With Amare, Shawn, and LB all on fire, the Suns weren't bothered too much by the not-so-great shooting from everyone else.
The Kings were led in scoring by Francisco Garcia, who had 30 points on 10-of-17 from the field. But they were led in spirit by Mikki Moore, whose hustle was infectious and played a huge role in keeping the Kings within striking distance. He had 20 points and 12 rebounds, but his biggest contribution was sheer energy. John Salmons also had a big night with 23 points and seven rebounds. In the end, though, it was just too much Suns firepower against a shorthanded Kings team, and the Suns wrapped up their final game of 2007 with a mark in the "W" column.
Player of the Game: Amare Stoudemire. The only blight on his line was missing six of his eleven free throws. Gives him something to work on in the new year I guess.
Runner-Up: Mikki Moore. (See above)