Nash Has Suns Rolling Again

Monday, March 5th 2007, 6:38 am
By: News On 6

Since getting Steve Nash back in the lineup, the Phoenix Suns are surging. The revamped Philadelphia 76ers have improved since getting rid of a couple of big-name players.

Nash scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half _ including two free throws with 5.4 seconds to play _ and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 99-94 on Sunday.

The Suns didn't play their usual high-speed game, but still improved to 7-1 since Nash returned from a right shoulder injury after the All-Star break. Phoenix was 1-3 with Nash resting his sore shoulder.

``We just didn't have a lot of mojo,'' Nash said. ``We never really found a lot. We just kind of hung in there and made enough plays when it counted I guess.''

Leandro Barbosa added 20 points and Amare Stoudemire had 17 points and 11 rebounds, but the Suns barely held off a Lakers team without Lamar Odom, out indefinitely after tearing his left labrum on Friday.

In Philadelphia, the 76ers extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 99-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Andre Iguodala scored 21 points to lead the Sixers, who have found confidence and chemistry since trading Allen Iverson and releasing Chris Webber. Philadelphia was 19 games below on Jan. 21 and have gone 11-8 since.

``This team has come a really long way,'' said Kyle Korver, who scored 21 points.

In other NBA games Sunday, it was: Boston 124, Minnesota 117 in double-overtime; Washington 107, Golden State 106; Chicago 126, Milwaukee 121 in overtime; Utah 108, New Orleans 94; and Seattle 96, Charlotte 89.

At Phoenix, Shawn Marion, who had missed the two previous games with a bruised right hand, had 13 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 22.8 seconds to play. Raja Bell scored 14, including two free throws that put the Suns ahead 97-92 with 18.1 seconds to go.

Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 30 points in the second half _ but shot just 11-of-28 overall _ in the first meeting of the teams since the season opener. The Lakers won that one in Los Angeles without Bryant, and they made it tough on Phoenix this time, too, even though they were without Odom as well as Luke Walton and Vladimir Radmanovic.

``We're missing a whole bunch of guys,'' Bryant said. ``That being said, I felt like we gave a valiant effort. We wanted to give ourselves a chance to win the game down the stretch. It never materialized but we were competitive throughout. If we play like this the remainder of the trip, we should be OK.''

The Sixers trailed by 17 in the first quarter before making a rally that they didn't seem capable of in December.

``Oh hell no,'' forward Steven Hunter said. ``Not then. But we're a pretty good team now.''

``After our last three-game winning streak, it obviously wasn't very good for us,'' Korver said.

Jason Kidd posted his 85th career triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds. The 10 triple-doubles this year are the most for Kidd in any season. Bostjan Nachbar scored 21 points for the Nets, who blew this one a day after an overtime loss to Boston.

``We haven't shot ourselves in the foot yet, but we let two opportunities go by,'' Kidd said. ``It's never the right time to lose. Right now, we're running out of games.''

Vince Carter missed his final 14 shots and finished with only nine points.

Wizards 107, Warriors 106

Gilbert Arenas made three free throws with 0.10 seconds remaining to give host Washington a wild win.

With the Wizards trailing 106-104 with 2.9 seconds to go, Arenas caught an inbounds pass near the top of the key and drove to the basket. The horn sounded before Arenas released a shot, but the officials ruled that Golden State's Mickael Pietrus fouled Arenas with time left on the clock.

Warriors coach Don Nelson was issued a technical foul for arguing the call, and Arenas was awarded three free throws.

With the crowd on its feet, Arenas nailed the first two free throws before Golden State called timeout. He then calmly stepped back to the line and sank the third to finish with a game-high 32 points. Jason Richardson led Golden State with 28.

Celtics 124, Timberwolves 117, 2OT

Delonte West scored all 31 of his points after halftime, Paul Pierce added 27 points and host Boston won its fourth straight. Al Jefferson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve Ryan Gomes added 21 points and 17 boards.

Kevin Garnett led Minnesota with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his third triple-double of the season and 19th of his career.

Bulls 126, Bucks 121, OT

Ben Gordon scored a career-high 48 points to help visiting Chicago overcome Michael Redd's 52 points.

Gordon sparked a frantic fourth-quarter rally as the Bulls overcame an 18-point deficit. Gordon had 20 points in the quarter, and Luol Deng added 27 points.

Redd's total was his second-highest this season, behind the franchise-record 57 he scored Nov. 10 against Utah.

Jazz 108, Hornets 94

At Oklahoma City, Mehmet Okur scored 28 points, Deron Williams added 20 and Utah won its fourth straight on the road.

Carlos Boozer picked up his 36th double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Tyson Chandler had a season-high 20 points and 19 rebounds for New Orleans.

SuperSonics 96, Bobcats 89

Ray Allen's spinning three-point play with 1:25 left capped a 34-point game, and host Seattle pulled away late.

Allen, playing with bone spurs in his left ankle that caused him to miss Thursday's games, scored 21 in the first half and 10 points in the final 7 minutes.

Gerald Wallace scored 19 points and had nine rebounds, but the Bobcats lost their fifth straight. Adam Morrison, playing his first game back in the state where he was a college star at Gonzaga in Spokane, added 17 points.