Phoenix All-Star center Amare Stoudemire and teammate Boris Diaw were suspended Tuesday for one game for leaving the bench after Robert...

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PHOENIX — Phoenix All-Star center Amare Stoudemire and teammate Boris Diaw were suspended Tuesday for one game for leaving the bench after Robert Horry’s flagrant foul of Steve Nash in Game 4 of the Suns’ Western Conference semifinal against San Antonio.

The NBA also announced Horry was suspended two games for his actions with 18 seconds remaining in the Suns’ 104-98 victory at San Antonio on Monday night. Phoenix’s victory evened the series at two games apiece.

All three players will miss tonight’s Game 5 in Phoenix of what has been a rough, intense showdown between two of the best teams in the NBA. Horry also will miss Friday night’s Game 6 in San Antonio.

Horry was suspended for flagrantly fouling Nash and striking Raja Bell about the shoulders with a forearm, NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson said in a statement. Stoudemire and Diaw were suspended for leaving “the immediate vicinity of their bench” during the altercation.

The penalties are a severe blow to a Phoenix team that had rallied in the final minutes to beat the Spurs in San Antonio. Suns owner Robert Sarver, saying his team is taking the brunt of a penalty that a Spur instigated, said, “I feel like I’ve just been punched in the gut.”

Said Jackson during a conference call: “No one here at the league office wants to suspend players any game, much less a pivotal game in the second round of a playoff series. But the rule, however, is the rule, and we intend to apply it consistently.”

Stoudemire, a first-team All-NBA selection, is averaging team highs of 23.5 points and 10.3 rebounds in the series. His loss removes the Suns’ imposing inside presence. Phoenix’s problems are compounded by the absence of Diaw, who started when Stoudemire missed all but three games last season because of surgeries on both knees.

Horry, meanwhile, is a role player best known for his clutch three-pointers. He has scored 4.8 points per game.

“I feel it’s terribly wrong,” Sarver said. “I feel we’ve been unjustly penalized … I feel if any team should have been penalized in this series, it should be the Spurs and it shouldn’t be us.”

Nowitzki MVP

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki put a permanent stamp on his career by winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award — the first for a European, for someone who didn’t go to high school or college in the United States, and for a Dallas Maverick.

“Even when I heard I was MVP, I was sad to watch all these playoff games and know that we’re not a part of it,” said Nowitzki, whose top-seeded team was ousted in the first round by Golden State. “It’s heartbreaking still to me … it’s going to take a while for it to really sink in.”

Nowitzki led the Mavs to 67 wins, a total eclipsed by only five teams in NBA history. He was the team’s top scorer (24.6 points per game) and rebounder (8.9), plus a career-high 3.4 assists.


• Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had surgery on his left shoulder and left knee, and the MVP of last season’s Finals might need the remainder of the offseason to fully recover.

• Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom had shoulder surgery for a torn labrum and is expected to be ready for training camp in October.

Marvin Barnes, 54, was arrested in Providence, R.I., and charged with cocaine possession, the latest legal problem for the former star who has been battling drug addiction.

• Milwaukee Bucks forward Ruben Patterson, who pleaded guilty in Washington to an attempted rape charge in 2001, was accused of failing to register as a convicted sex offender after he moved into a new home in the Cincinnati suburbs.

• Indiana Pacers assistant coach Johnny Davis interviewed for the team’s vacant head-coaching position.