When Cliff Robinson took his game from the Northwest rain to the desert sun, his impatience, hot temper and headband were left behind.
He has seemed at peace with himself, and he has played the best basketball of his career, a renaissance punctuated by a 50-point performance for the Suns against the Nuggets Sunday night.
"I think what you've seen in Cliff is just him mature," Phoenix Coach Scott Skiles said. "He just figured the NBA out, what happens and what's expected of him. Some guys never figure it out."
Against Denver, Robinson couldn't be stopped. In the first quarter, he outscored the Nuggets, 23-19. Throughout the game, he mixed up his attack. His baskets came on drives to the hoop, on three-pointers and on 13 of 15 free throws. He made 17 of 26 field goals and was 3 for 5 from three-point range.
He broke the scoring record at eight-year-old America West Arena and tied the franchise record for most points in a quarter. It was the biggest scoring game in the NBA this season, eclipsing the 47 by the Raptors' Vince Carter against the Bucks two nights earlier.
GRAY RE-SIGNED: F Devin Gray signed his second 10-day contract with the Rockets yesterday. Gray first joined the Rockets on Dec. 10, then was waived Jan. 5. He signed his first 10-day deal two days later. He appeared in four games with Houston during his previous stints, averaging 2.5 points and one rebound.