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Steve Nash hits key shots late as Phoenix tops Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)
Steve Nash scored only 13 points but hit two shots in the final 14 seconds and the Phoenix Suns won their seventh straight meeting against Utah, 107-105 on Wednesday night to jump over the Jazz in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Suns (28-26) are in ninth place, a half-game ahead of the Jazz (28-27) and a game behind Denver, which lost Wednesday at New Orleans, and idle Houston. Phoenix also owns the tiebreaker with the Jazz.
Paul Millsap led Utah with 25 points and had a chance to force overtime, but his putback came just after the buzzer.
Michael Redd led the Suns with 19 points. Redd and Sebastian Telfair, who had nine points, combined for 14 points during a 14-2 run fourth-quarter run that put Phoenix up 97-87 with 6:43 remaining. Nash also had nine assists.
Millsap brought Utah back, even stealing the ball from Nash. Nash made amends, hitting the winner with 1.7 seconds left.
Nash looked as if he might be the goat after he had the ball stolen by Millsap, then committed a clear-path foul with 34 seconds left and Phoenix up by three.
Millsap made just one of two free throws, but Al Jefferson hit a jumper that tied it at 103 with 28 seconds left.
Nash responded with a 15-foot jumper with 14 seconds left.
Jefferson tied it again after Millsap fed him for an easy layup with 9.4 seconds left, only see Nash get the ball in the lane and hit the jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining.
C.J. Miles' last-ditch shot was well short, but Millsap grabbed it and put it in. Officials reviewed the play and determined it was after the buzzer.
Utah has 11 games remaining, with lowly Golden State up Friday night before a home-and home series with San Antonio, then a three-game trip starting April 11 in Houston. The Jazz also close out the regular season with four of five games at home, where they are 19-8.
The Suns have a seemingly tougher road. Nine of Phoenix's remaining games are against teams that would be in the playoffs if they started today.
They'll face the Jazz again on April 24 in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz had another slow start, falling behind by eight in the first quarter and nine in the second only to go on a 12-5 run and pull to 58-56 at the break.
The Suns had six 3-pointers in the first half, and held a 32-30 advantage in points in the paint.
They opened the second half on a 10-2 run to surge ahead 68-58.
Gordon Hayward, who started 6 of 9, hit his second 3-pointer to pull Utah within five at 68-65. And Miles' jam off an alley-oop pass from Earl Watson cut it to 3 again, but Nash hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
Watson, starting in place of injured point guard Devin Harris, brought the Jazz back. He blocked a shot and fed Hawyard for a jumper, and Hayward added a driving layup late as the Jazz finished the quarter down 83-80.
Miles finished with 22 points, and Hayward had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Suns also hit 13 3-pointers to just three by the Jazz, with Nash, Redd and Channing Frye making three apiece.
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