Shaq Scores 45 Points Against Toronto in 6-Year High

Phoenix wins 133-113; O'Neal gets 49th 40-point game
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2009 6:37 AM CST
Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal dunks against the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter the game.   (AP Photo/Aaron J. Latham)
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(Newser) – Shaquille O'Neal scored 45 points last night in his biggest offensive performance in 6 years, powering the Phoenix Suns to a 133-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors. A week shy of his 37th birthday, O'Neal made 20 of 25 shots in the 49th 40-point game of his career but the first in four seasons. He hadn't scored this many since he nabbed 48 for the Los Angeles Lakers against Boston on March 21, 2003.

Toronto decided against double-teaming Shaq most of the night, and the results were disastrous for the Raptors in their 10th straight loss to Phoenix. O'Neal, who also had 11 rebounds, sealed the victory by scoring all of 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. (Read more basketball stories.)