Nash Carries Suns to Eighth Straight
Phoenix 118, Golden State 110
OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- Apparently, the Phoenix Suns weren't finished. The Golden State Warriors' winning streak is, however.
Steve Nash had 28 points and 14 assists and Shawn Marion scored 27 points as the Suns extended their winning streak to eight games and followed up an impressive rout at home with a 118-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors, who had won five in a row.
Golden State, which looked at the time to be more rested after having four days off, took the lead on a steal and layup by Baron Davis.
Nash made two free throws seconds later, and the Suns never trailed thereafter, due in part to their continued dominance on the glass. Davis missed a 3-pointer on the other end and, after two offensive boards for Phoenix, Marion made a layup for a 107-104 lead.
"We had a rough start to the season so for us to win eight in a row and to beat some good teams lately makes us feel more confident," Nash said. "Our defense has been really good recently, tonight we had a really hard time guarding them but late in the game we got it done and got some defensive rebounds and were able to give ourselves a little bit of separation."
Despite allowing an opponent to score more than 100 points for the first time in 10 games, the Suns made the stops when necessary.
"They were hungrier to the ball in the last three minutes," Davis said. "That was the deciding factor in the game. We went up one (point) and had the momentum and they came back and got two big rebounds and some key defensive stops."
Two free throws by Kurt Thomas, who grabbed one of his 17 rebounds before being fouled, and a free throw and 3-pointer by Marion capped an 11-1 run that made it 114-105 with 44 seconds left.
"We're trying to learn our identity and establish ourselves," Marion said. "We might be scoring a lot but we're still playing defense. We're just taking it one game at a time and try to keep making each other better. It shows a lot of character for this team. It shows we went out there and took care of business tonight."
Phoenix's win allowed it to pull a game ahead of Golden State and stay within one-half game of the Los Angeles Clippers in the Pacific Division.
Meanwhile, the Warriors' lack of execution down the stretch prevented them from having a shot at a 6-0 homestand when they host Detroit on Friday.
"We get under three minutes and we go up one," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said. "We've got the crowd going on our side. We just don't take care of business and in this league, that's the name of the game."
Marion had 14 rebounds and Boris Diaw added 10 points and 10 boards for the Suns, who finished with a 54-44 advantage on the glass. Thomas had eight of his boards on the offensive end and scored 16 points in his third double-double in four games.
"We had some veterans out there and we knew we had to get a stop and we got a stop," Marion said. "That's what led to us getting a victory tonight."
Davis scored 21 of his season-high 28 points in the first half and Mike Dunleavy Jr. had season highs with 21 points and seven rebounds. The Warriors were hurt by the absence of leading rebounder Troy Murphy, who was out with the flu.
"Murph is a big reason but we can't say we lost the game because of Murph," said Golden State guard Jason Richardson, who had 17 points and nine rebounds. "We lost the game because we didn't play. We didn't get key stops at the end."
Despite shooting 52 percent (11-of-21) in the first quarter, Golden State faced a 33-28 deficit. Behind eight second-quarter points by Richardson, it took a 65-63 lead at the break, only to allow the first seven points of the third as Phoenix regained control.
Thomas' jumper midway through the period gave the Suns their largest lead, 81-71.