Nash Back in Big Way; Suns Skip Past Wolves
Phoenix 110, Minnesota 102
PHOENIX, March 11 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash returned to help the Phoenix Suns get back on the right track.
Nash had a season-high 31 points and 11 assists and Tim Thomas scored 19 off the bench as the Suns posted a 110-102 triumph over the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves, who dropped their fourth straight game.
"I felt pretty confident before the game, but there was definitely still some uncertainty," Nash said. "As the game went on I definitely gained confidence and didn't feel any problems with it, so it was exciting for me."
"He's (Nash) not the quickest guy but he knows how to play," said Minnesota guard Ricky Davis, who scored 14 points. "He knows how to use his body, knows how to find guys. He's just one of those guys that has a key to getting the guys the ball."
Minnesota trailed by just two points at the start of the fourth quarter but Phoenix opened an 85-78 lead on Eddie House's 3-pointer with 9½ minutes left.
Timberwolves rookie Rashad McCants cut the deficit to 90-85 on his jumper at the 8:02 mark. However, Thomas scored five of Phoenix's next 10 points over a three-minute span to push the lead to 100-90. Minnesota never really challenged thereafter.
"Tim is doing great," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He had 19 and played really well against Kevin Garnett."
Upon entering the locker room to find his teammates laughing and joking, Garnett -- who had 28 points and 10 rebounds -- ripped the team for losing their fourth straight contest.
"I try to keep things in-house, but there is a certain tone here, and we're going to keep that," Garnett said. "And if you can't abide by that tone, you won't be here and you won't play.
"I don't sign anyone's checks, but you have to be prepared and ready to play, and I don't know that as a team every night we are ready to do that. The focus is that it's gotta hurt when you lose. I've never been one to hold my tongue and I never will. We're really trying to make a run for this thing. We're trying to make the playoffs and we need everybody to comply with that."
Raja Bell scored 13 points and Marion added 10 and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who shot 53 percent (42-of-79) overall and made 11-of-19 from the arc.
"I've always been an all-around player," said Marion, who shot just 4-of-15 overall. "Just because I'm not scoring doesn't mean I can't do other things on the floor. I try to focus on playing hard defense, and doing all the little things to help the team win."
Trenton Hassell scored 21 points and Marko Jaric added 14 and eight rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 47 percent (41-of-87).