Postgame Central: Suns @ Nets - March 31, 2010
Nash, Suns Blow by Nets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Steve Nash had 24 points and 14 assists, Jason Richardson scored 23 points, and the Phoenix Suns ran their winning streak to nine games by beating the New Jersey Nets 116-105 Wednesday night.
Amare Stoudemire had 15 points and three reserves were in double figures for the Suns, who followed a sluggish first half by hitting all six 3-point attempts in a 38-point third quarter that turned around the game.
Phoenix, on its longest win streak since winning a franchise-record 17 in a row during the 2006-07 season, came in one game out of second place in the Western Conference. The Suns, who clinched a playoff spot Tuesday, finished 12-2 in March and are an NBA-best 18-4 since the All-Star break.
Terrence Williams scored 21 points and Brook Lopez had 19 for New Jersey, which had won three of four, ensuring it wouldn't finish with a share of the NBA's worst record. Courtney Lee and Kris Humphries each added 17.
The Suns came in as the NBA's top-scoring team with 110.5 points per game, nearly 20 per game better than the Nets' league-worst average. New Jersey kept up for a half before Phoenix showed off all its offensive weapons.
Trailing by three after looking ordinary in the first half on the second night of a back-to-back, the Suns ran off the first 13 points of the third quarter. Richardson, Nash, and Richardson again hit three straight 3-pointers during the spurt, which gave Phoenix a 63-53 lead.
Jared Dudley hit two 3-pointers late in the period, the second increasing the lead to 15 before the Suns took an 88-76 advantage to the fourth. They shot 67 percent overall in the period.
New Jersey got within five early in the fourth quarter before Phoenix quickly regained command.
Nash said following Tuesday's victory in Chicago that he was dealing with a bad back and a cold, but there was nothing slowing he or the Suns down after halftime. Phoenix shot 57 percent from the field for the game and made 11 of 18 3-pointers (61 percent).
The game was tied at 23 after one quarter, then reserves Williams (10 points) and Humphries (nine) helped the Nets score 30 points on 65 percent shooting in the second to take a 53-50 lead into the half. Phoenix had seven turnovers in the period and 10 in the first half.
NOTES:There was no Lopez vs. Lopez matchup because Suns center Robin Lopez, Brook's twin brother, is still out resting a bad back. ... Yi Jianlian and Richardson both missed dunks in the third quarter. ... Williams matched his career high.
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"It feels good to stay alive in the Western Conference and build up some good feelings for the playoffs."- Steve Nash
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