Nash Hits Game-Winner vs. Warriors in Return
Posted Nov 21 2006 2:47AM
Phoenix 113, Golden State 110
OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 20 (AP) -- Although the Golden State Warriors did a pretty sharp impersonation of the fast-breaking, high-scoring Phoenix Suns, it wasn't quite as good as the genuine article.
Steve Nash hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left, and the Suns made the final rally in a thrilling fourth quarter to snap the Warriors' five-game winning streak with a 113-110 victory Monday night.
Two of the NBA's most adventurous offenses played a breakneck game that included several wild momentum swings, 14 lead changes and an unusually critical free-throw lane violation - all before Nash added yet another memorable moment to his resume.
Though the Suns are off to an underwhelming 4-6 start, Nash sees a solid foundation growing below the flash and dash of this victory.
``Our record isn't where we want it to be, but it's only 10 games, and we're still learning how to play with this mix,'' the two-time league MVP said. ``This one could have gone either way. We just hit that last shot.''
Raja Bell scored all of his 22 points after halftime, and Shawn Marion added 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Suns hit 13 3-pointers and finally earned their first win in five road games this season. Nash had 19 points and 15 assists, but Phoenix barely survived the final minutes against the Warriors, who thrived even while injured star Baron Davis sat out to rest his sore ribcage muscles.
``That one wore me down,'' Marion said with a grin. ``They played just as fast as we did. They've got an athletic team. We made a couple more shots, and that was the only difference.''
Monta Ellis scored 31 points to match the career high he established in his last game, leading the Warriors to a 102-93 lead with 11 quick points in the fourth. The Suns replied with a 15-3 run capped by Marion's long jumper with 2:11 to play.
``Welcome to the NBA,'' he said bemusedly.
The Suns won the jump ball that results from this rare violation, and Nash coolly drilled his open 3-pointer.
Jason Richardson had another open 3-pointer at the buzzer, but his shot clanged off the front of the rim. The loss ended Golden State's six-game home winning streak, but Nelson was more impressed with this loss than many of his club's recent wins.
``I have no problem losing like this as long as the guys played (hard) and listened to the game plan,'' Nelson said. ``They banged and hustled great tonight, and we had a shot to win it in the fourth. We couldn't ask for anything more at the end with Jason getting a clean look at the 3.''
The teams established their tempo right after the opening tip, scoring 19 points apiece in the first 6 minutes. The Warriors made nearly 58 percent of their shots in the first half while scoring 20 straight points during one stretch, but Phoenix rallied back with plenty of open jumpers.
Bell scored 17 points in the third quarter as Phoenix gradually cracked Golden State's various defenses. But the Warriors opened the fourth quarter with an 18-4 run, including 10 points from Ellis, a second-year pro who's making a name for himself after joining the NBA straight out of high school.
He matched the career high he set against Seattle two days earlier, and also highlighted the Warriors' big fourth-quarter run with consecutive jaw-dropping scores: A one-handed fast-break dunk on Barbosa's head, followed by a winding layup in traffic while drawing a foul to put Golden State up 100-93.
But Ellis came out when his leg cramped up with 45 seconds to play, and Richardson had to take the final shot.
``It could have been better,'' Ellis said. ``We made a lot of simple mistakes. ... I know what type of team Phoenix is. They've got a lot of great 3-point shooters, and that's what got them back in the game.''
Notes: Davis, the Warriors' leader with averages of 20.7 points and 8.3 assists in an outstanding season, was injured in Saturday's victory over Seattle. ... Marion was among several Suns who attended the San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, standing on the sidelines before the game. ... Troy Murphy returned to the Warriors' lineup after missing three games with an injured left heel, contributing four points in just 11 minutes.
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