Phoenix 113, L.A. Lakers 110
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 8 (Ticker) --
The Phoenix Suns chose to live or die
by the 3-pointer. Quentin Richardson
rewarded them for their
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Richardson snapped a tie with an open 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds
left, capping a wild shootout and sending the Suns to a 113-110
victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The play was just for Steve Nash
to get off the screen and
make a play," Richardson said. "Whether he was going to shoot it
or pass it to somebody was up to him. But he found me and I
knocked it down."
The teams combined to tie the NBA record for 3-pointers
attempted (64). But in the final seconds, only the soaring Suns
were able to convert.
After Richardson's shot, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant
, who finished
with his second triple-double in as many games vs. Phoenix this
season, missed a long attempt at the buzzer, sending the Suns to
their 13th win in 14 games.
"I had a good look at that shot," Bryant said of his missed
3-pointer. "Shawn Marion
was on me pretty tight. It was a
tough shot 35-feet from the hoop."
On the decisive play, Nash penetrated from the top of the key
and found Richardson all alone on the left wing. Richardson, who
made 8-of-12 from the arc in a win over Portland on Sunday,
calmly swished his shot to cap Phoenix's 16-of-34 effort from
"I don't think they were daring me," Richardson said. "I think
it was more so them giving the respect to Stevie. They knew he
could go inside and make a play. But it came out to me and my
whole focus was to take the shot. I knew I was going to make it
if I took the shot."
The previous three games in which a combined 64 3-pointers were
hoisted ended in double overtime. The Lakers were involved in
the last, a 126-115 victory over the Houston Rockets on Nov.
The teams combined 30 3-pointers in the first half set a league
mark, eclipsing the 28 Phoenix and the New York Knicks had
Jan. 29, 1995.
The Suns rolled to a big lead in the first half before going
cold as the Lakers put together a run in the third quarter. But
Phoenix charged back for the second straight game, erasing a
107-94 deficit with just over five minutes remaining.
Marion made two straight 3-pointers to start a 15-0 run
that lasted less than three minutes. Joe Johnson
and Nash also
hit from long distance in the burst, during which Los Angeles
missed nine straight shots.
"We just have to get back in transition," Bryant added. "In the
third quarter we did a good job of that. We got back and held
them down somewhat."
In a 118-104 triumph over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday,
the Suns used a 21-0 run in the fourth quarter to avoid an
"We kept fighting," Richardson said. "We know it's not over
until it's over. We are a team that can make runs in an
Johnson was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and scored 25 points while
Richardson added 21. Amare Stoudemire
, whose free throw with
37 seconds left snapped a 109-109 tie, scored 23 and swiped 10
Bryant scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out 11
assists but missed his final six shots and a big free throw with
27 seconds to go.
"This was a tough one," Bryant said. "They made some big shots
down the stretch. Nash hit a tough three to tie it up, and
before that we gave them two wide-open looks at threes."
The Lakers scored just three points in the final 5:50.
"We have it in us, and we usually hit a cylinder at some point
in the game," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Tonight it just
happened in the last five minutes."
Phoenix is one of three teams in the league with 16 wins after
missing the playoffs last season.
"We have a healthy Stoudemire," D'Antoni said. "Steve Nash is
big and Quentin Richardson tonight was big too. He's just now
fitting in and learning how to play with us and Joe Johnson
keeps it moving. Shawn Marion's been an All-Star. Our team
this year just has a lot more talent."
Nash credited the Suns' defense for their comeback win
"The biggest thing was we turned up the defense," Nash said. "We
were giving up a lot of put-backs and open threes. We were
kind of brain dead for a while there. We turned up the clamps
when we had our backs against the wall and limited them to three
points in the last few minutes."