PHOENIX - Toronto’s Chris Bosh had an explanation for how Shaquille O’Neal scored 45 points: He cheated.
“He was just camping down in the lane,” Bosh said Friday night, after O’Neal’s biggest scoring night in six years led Phoenix to a 133-113 victory over the Raptors. “I mean, if they’re not calling three seconds—I thought it was a rule, but I guess not.”
It was the 49th 40-point game of O’Neal’s career and his highest-scoring game since he got 48 for the Los Angeles Lakers against Boston on March 21, 2003.
“It was cool,” O’Neal said. “Guys were really looking for me. I’ve been saying all year if I can get those touches like that, I think I can do that every night.”
A week shy of his 37th birthday, Shaq made 20 of 25 shots and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“He’s just so strong and pushes guys right under the basket and gets inside,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “We have no match for him.”
O’Neal still insists no one can guard him one on one.
“I’m the only player,” he said, “who looks at each and every center and says to myself, ‘That’s barbecued chicken down there.”’
Louis Amundson scored a career-high 20 as the Suns outscored the Raptors in the paint 90-36. Matt Barnes added 18 points. Grant Hill had 14 points and 12 assists, just two shy of his career high set 11 years ago for the Suns, who were without Steve Nash for the second straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Former Suns star Shawn Marion led Toronto with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani added 21 points and Bosh 19.
O’Neal, who also had 11 rebounds, sealed the victory by scoring all the Suns’ points in a 10-2 run that gave Phoenix a 120-102 lead with 5 minutes to play. He left the game to a thunderous ovation with just under 2 minutes remaining.
There were 10 lead changes in the third quarter, with the Suns up 96-90 entering the fourth.
“We were right there, man. I don’t know what happened,” said Marion, who drew a big cheer when he was introduced before the game. “We just hit the tank or something, and everything just sort of went the other way. It’s frustrating because I think the fight in us just went out the window.”
The Suns are 5-2 since Alvin Gentry took over as coach. The victories have come over the Los Angeles Clippers (twice), Oklahoma City, Charlotte and Toronto. The losses came in blowouts against Boston and the Lakers.
“I’m not really impressed winning against teams we’re supposed to beat,” O’Neal said. “We’ve got to step up against the upper-echelon teams.”
Bulls 113, Wizards 90
At Washington, Antawn Jamison had 27 points and 11 rebounds and the Wizards embarrassed the Bulls in front of a crowd that included President Barack Obama.
The Wizards had eight double-figure scorers, their most since Feb. 5, 1993.
John Salmons scored 25 for Chicago.
Celtics 104, Pacers 99
At Boston, Stephon Marbury scored six points during a fourth-quarter run, Ray Allen added 30 points and Rajon Rondo matched a career high with 17 assists to lead the Celtics.
Marbury finished with eight points just hours after signing with the Celtics.
T.J. Ford scored 23 and Troy Murphy had 20 points and 13 assists for the Pacers.
Nuggets 90, Lakers 79
At Denver, J.R. Smith scored 22 to help the Nuggets end a nine-game skid to the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant scored 29 points for Los Angeles but he needed 31 shots to do it.
76ers 108, Knicks 103
At New York, Thaddeus Young scored 23 points for the Sixers and blocked Chris Duhon’s layup attempt with 30 seconds left to help preserve the win.
Al Harrington scored 23 points for New York and David Lee had 17 with 11 rebounds.
Trail Blazers 102, Timberwolves 82
At Minneapolis, Brandon Roy scored 19 points in another stellar outing against the team that originally drafted him, and the Trail Blazers snapped a five-game road losing streak by sending the Wolves to their eighth straight home loss.
Mike Miller and Craig Smith each scored 16 points to lead Minnesota.
Bobcats 112, Warriors 109
At Oakland, Calif., Raymond Felton had 26 points and nine assists, Boris Diaw made a key 3-pointer down the stretch and the Bobcats rallied in the fourth quarter.
Stephen Jackson scored 33 points and had eight assists for Golden State.
Pistons 93, Magic 85
At Orlando, Fla., Richard Hamilton had 31 points and six assists in his return to the starting lineup, and the Pistons ended their eight-game losing streak.
Dwight Howard had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Rafer Alston scored 14 for the Magic.
Hawks 91, Heat 83
At Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 24 points and Al Horford had 21 points and 22 rebounds to help the Hawks snap a three-game skid.
Michael Beasley led Miami with 23 points, and Dwyane Wade added 21.
Hornets 95, Bucks 94
At New Orleans, Tyson Chandler tipped in a missed shot with 3.3 seconds left for the Hornets, who had blown a 17-point lead with four minutes remaining.
Charlie Bell had 21 points and capped the Bucks’ comeback with a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 94-93 with 10.5 seconds left—setting up Chandler’s tip-in.
Chris Paul had a season-high 20 assists, and West scored 28 points to lead the Hornets.
Mavericks 110, Thunder 108, OT
At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Mavericks rallied from a late 12-point deficit.
Russell Westbrook, who hit a 3-pointer to send it to overtime, scored 33 points and Jeff Green added 28 for the Thunder.
Cavaliers 97, Spurs 86
At San Antonio, LeBron James had 30 points and 14 rebounds to help the Cavs.
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 11. Tim Duncan missed his third consecutive game for San Antonio with a right quad injury but is expected to return as soon as Sunday.
Kings 98, Clippers 86
At Sacramento, Calif., Kevin Martin scored 20 points, Bobby Jackson had 18 and Andres Nocioni 17 to help the Kings snap a three-game skid.
Steve Novak and Baron Davis scored 13 points for the Clippers.