OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 13 (Ticker) --
The Phoenix Suns were the
victims of a comeback. Fortunately for them, they rallied twice
to reclaim the league's best record.
hit a turnaround jumper with just under 20 seconds
remaining as the Suns overcame a four-point deficit with less
than a minute to go to post a 106-102 overtime victory over the
Golden State Warriors.
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Combined with San Antonio's 96-92 loss at Miami, Phoenix (40-12)
moved into a tie with the Spurs for the best record in the NBA,
an honor the Suns have held for most of the season.
"It is big because we hadn't played well," Phoenix coach
said. "Anytime you win on the road not playing well ...
you know we'd felt a heck of lot worse if we lost this game. It
was good for us and we gutted it out and we'll have to do that
sometimes. We'll have to learn to win playing ugly, so this
Golden State led, 102-98, with 2:06 left on a pair of free
throws by Mike Dunleavy Jr.
, who scored 24 points. Joe Johnson
who scored 23 points, responded with a three-point play with 53
seconds to play.
"It was very important," Johnson said. "I thought it was a
pretty big play. It was something we needed. We needed a
boost. I didn't think we had energy tonight and I think that
play got us over the hump."
After a miss by Speedy Claxton
, who scored 12 of his 16 points
in the fourth quarter and overtime, Jackson was isolated on the
left side and drained his jumper with 19 seconds left to give
Phoenix the lead for good at 103-102.
"It was just a switch," Jackson said. "I had it first and then I
kicked it back out to Amare (Stoudemire) and then Amare threw
it right back in so that's just good recognition on his part and
our team's part with a mismatch at that particular point in the
"That's the only time I really got a chance to play for the most
part," Claxton said of his late-game heroics. "For the whole
game I was in foul trouble, so I really couldn't help them out
too much until the fourth. I kind of got relaxed and the refs
weren't on me so much."
capped a woeful 7-of-27 shooting performance
with misses on the Warriors' final two possessions that sealed
the victory for the Suns. The latter was a drive to the basket
in which he was met by two Suns defenders.
"That close, it's kind of hard to pass it to somebody,"
Richardson said of his final shot attempt. "I'll live with that,
it's a layup. I just missed it. Anytime you go to the basket
you feel like you're fouled. They made a good call."
"It's a confidence factor somewhere," Golden State coach
said. "We just get nervous at the end of the game and
we need to get some confidence in our abilities. It probably
has to do with experience over and over and over again."
The Suns led by double digits for most of the game, thanks to 62
percent (23-of-37) shooting in the first half. They took an
81-70 advantage into the fourth quarter.
"Things happen during the course of the game," Jackson said.
"For us, we got comfortable where we were at more than anything
else. We were up 15-20 points, we got comfortable."
Utilizing a 72-52 rebounding advantage - including a season-best
31 offensive boards, the Warriors stormed back by scoring the
first 12 points of the period. They eventually took a 92-85
lead on a follow shot by Adonal Foyle, who tied a career best
with 20 rebounds.
"They must have had about 30 offensive rebounds," Jackson added.
"If you're talking about winning a championship and doing some
things later on, if we don't take care of this end of the court,
no championship will be won and going into the second half of
the season that's what we have to be cognizant of."
Despite shooting 34 percent (17-of-50) after halftime, Phoenix
rallied behind Shawn Marion
, who scored six of his 21 points in
the last three minutes of regulation as the teams headed into
the extra session tied at 94-94.
Marion kept a simplistic view of the victory after the game.
"A win is a win man," Marion said. "It didn't mean anything if
it was special or not, a W is a W. I'd rather have a W than an
L any day."