Nash, Warrick Power Suns to Sixth-Straight Win Over Kings
Posted: Nov. 12, 2010
In true heavyweight fashion, it was the basketball equivalent of a 1-2 punch.
Steve Nash and Hakim Warrick combined for 46 points in Friday’s 103-89 win over the Kings at US Airways Center, as Phoenix improved to 10-0 against Sacramento at home.
The Suns’ point guard flirted with his fourth career triple-double, falling just short with a season-high 28 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds in 35 minutes of work. The game marked Nash’s third-straight double-digit assist effort (13.3 apg during the span) after not recording one in the season’s first five games.
“It’s incredible,” Jason Richardson said. “It shows why he is still a top 5 point guard in this league. He goes out there and just plays hard. He can score and also had 14 assists. He can even rebound, too, so he did a great job for us tonight.”
The Suns’ leading bench scorer was similarly impressed, especially being the welcome recipient of a number of those laser passes.
“It’s like having that big brother out there,” Warrick said. “He just makes everything easy for you and all you have to do is just go out there and finish. And he takes control as the general out there. He saw that they were out there blitzing and he makes adjustments just like a great quarterback.”
Warrick came off the bench to tally 18 points and four boards in 23 minutes – his fourth double-digit scoring performance in his last five games. The forward is now averaging 14.8 ppg in November, his highest scoring month since April 2008 (15.6 ppg).
“We need Hakim to play like that every night,” J-Rich said. “Him rolling down there and fighting on the defensive end to get those guys out of the way, he was huge for us tonight. When he can do things like that, it opens up the floor for the rest of us, so that’s key.”
Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry added, “He’s playing well and doing a good job for us. He seems to be able to find the open spaces and is getting more and more acclimated every game in terms of what he can do to help the team.”
As for the victory, it was the Suns’ second in a row at home, improving them to 10-2 in their last 12 regular season home games dating back to last season, as well as getting them to the .500 mark at 4-4.
“We talked about the importance of winning this game,” Gentry said. “We really needed to win this game. We hadn’t really done that in a few years—you know, talk about winning. We talk about playing well and doing what we are supposed to do, but we really needed to win this game tonight, just for our own psyche. “
J-RICH SCORING STREAK STOPPED
With 14 points Friday, Jason Richardson fell just short of recording his eighth consecutive 15-point effort to open the season. He entered the night just one of 10 NBA players to score that many in every game in 2010-11. He did post eight boards, tying his season best set last week against the Grizzlies.
“We’ve got to rebound,” said J-Rich about the importance of team boards. “We did everything we were supposed to do on the defensive end besides that aspect of it. We played great team defense, we held them to 40 percent but, we just got to find a way to rebound the ball. That’s the only thing we have to do better.”
GENTRY'S "HALL OF FAME NOD"
Sandwiched between next weekend’s Hornets and Rockets road games, Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry will head to Kansas City to play presenter when his cousin David Thompson is inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame’s founding class.
Thompson was a three-time All-America and two-time national player of the year, who led North Carolina State to the 1974 NCAA Championship. The No. 1 selection in the 1975 NBA Draft is the only player in history selected as the most valuable player in ABA and NBA All-Star games.
“We would play for hours upon hours,” said Gentry about the duo’s Shelby, N.C., upbringing. “When he got to high school, he had keys to the gym and we’d be there for five, six hours and play. We did it all the time. He was just so much better than everybody in that area. Nobody could beat him.”
The Suns head coach is understandably excited about being a part of the Basketball Hall of Famer’s newest achievement.
“That’s about the closest I’m going to get to the Hall of Fame,” Gentry laughed. “I told somebody last week, ‘I’m going into the Hall of Fame… to be a presenter.’”
No stranger to US Airways Center, Suns Ring of Honor member Paul Westphal was back Friday as head coach of the visiting Kings.
“It’s always very special here,” the former guard and ex-Suns Head Coach said. “It’s feels like home, and it always will. I’ve got a lot of great friends here, and I still know the geography (laughs). I always can’t wait to be here, and I hate to leave.”
Westphal led the Suns in scoring in each of his six years in Phoenix, before taking the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals as their head coach. His jersey was retired in April 1989 and now permanently resides in the upper fascia of the arena amid the rest of the Suns Ring of Honor.
“I don’t even look,” he said, “but it’s nice to know it’s up there.”