Richardson, Stoudemire lead Suns to rout of Kings

PHOENIX -- Team meetings over the weekend just might have been what the Phoenix Suns needed to wake them out of their lethargy.

Jason Richardson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter, Amare Stoudemire finished with 25 points and eight rebounds and the rejuvenated Suns ended a three-game home losing skid with their most lopsided victory of the season, 129-81 over the tired Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

"This win was definitely needed, from the standpoint of our confidence," coach Terry Porter said. "Maybe we'll start believing we're a good team."

The Suns' point total was their highest of the season and their 48-point margin of victory was their biggest ever at home and the biggest in the league this season. The woeful Kings had the previous worst loss in the NBA this season, 45 points against Boston.

With the triumph, the Suns evened their home and away records at 13-10. The loss was the Kings' ninth in 10 games.

Chastised by owner Robert Sarver and general manager Steve Kerr at team meetings over the past two days for their recent ineffective play -- seven losses in 10 games and five home losses to sub-.500 teams -- the Suns came out with a lot of energy and focus.

"We set the tone early and we were able to sustain it," Porter said. "At the meetings, we were trying to get better and solve problems. We refocused on what we wanted to accomplish."

The Suns had very few problems Monday.

They outrebounded the Kings 64-44, including 21 off the offensive boards; they finished with a season-high 30 fast break points; they had a season-high 16 steals, and they outscored the Kings 64-34 in the paint.

This was their sixth straight win over the Kings and 11th in the last 12 meetings. Phoenix also has beaten Sacramento six straight times at US Airways Center. The previous five home victories were by an average of 19 points, and this was even more merciless.

Grant Hill added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Suns, Leandro Barbosa scored 11 points, Shaquille O'Neal had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Steve Nash had nine points and nine assists.

John Salmons led the Kings with 19 points, Kevin Martin scored 13, Jason Thompson 12 and Francisco Garcia 10.

"It was important to get a win like that, get them down early and knock them out," Hill said. "It was encouraging. If we can just bottle that energy. ..."

Richardson added: "It's been a long time since I played like that. I took it back to my high school days and was just having fun. We have to take teams out from the get-go."

Kings coach Kenny Natt obviously was unhappy with his team.

"That was a very embarrassing performance by us," he said. "Their team meeting sparked them enough to come out and show more effort. We're a lot better than we showed tonight and we'll only get better in the future. We just took off tonight and didn't show up."

The Suns began pouring it on early. They hit their first six shots in the first 2:35, then used a 17-4 run over a 3:43 span to open a 34-15 lead after 9:46. During that decisive spurt, Richardson scored nine points. Phoenix finished the first period with a 40-19 lead in their highest-scoring opening quarter of the season.

"They haven't been playing well and they got together and said they weren't going to let us control the game," Thompson said. "From the first minute of the game, they took control and we couldn't get back into it."

The lead ballooned to 33 points, 69-36, in the second period and was 30 points, 73-43, at halftime.

The weary Kings, playing their third game in four nights, including an overtime contest Sunday, couldn't keep pace with the fast-moving and accurate shooting Suns. At the break, the Suns were shooting 60.9 percent (28-for-46). Sacramento, on the other hand, was at a poor 33.3 percent (15-for-45).

Salmons, with 15 points in the second quarter and 17 overall, was the only Kings' player in double figures at halftime.

By that time, the Suns had dominated in nearly every category, with edges in rebounding 31-15, assists 15-3, points in the paint 42-14, second-chance points 14-7 and fast-break points 18-8.

The Suns showed no mercy in the third period, increasing their lead to as many as 50 points, 105-55, just before the end of the period. Stoudemire, who finished 13-for-13 from the foul line, had 10 points in the quarter. Subs played most of the fourth quarter.

Game notes
The Kings were missing two of their key reserves in center Brad Miller (abdominal strain) and Bobby Jackson (personal reasons). ... Stoudemire and Hill are the only Suns to play in all 46 games this season and Thompson is the only Kings' player to participate in his team's 50 games. ... Sacramento will retire two players' jerseys this season: Chris Webber's No. 8 on Feb. 6 and Vlade Divac's No. 21 on March 31 during ceremonies at ARCO Arena. ... On Feb. 21, Princeton University will name the floor at its Jadwin Gym "Carril Court" in honor of former coach Pete Carril, now the Kings' Basketball Development Consultant.