PHOENIX, May 8 (Ticker) -- The outside attack of the Phoenix Suns overwhelmed the inside presence of Elton Brand.

Steve Nash directed a potent offense that drained 12 3-pointers to offset 40 points by Brand and lift the Suns to a 130-123 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

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Nash had 31 points and 12 assists and Shawn Marion added 20 and 15 rebounds for the second-seeded Suns, who shot 55 percent (47-of-86) from the field and had six players in double figures.

Phoenix scored a staggering 74 points in the second half and pulled away late for its fourth straight postseason win by hitting threes and being able to penetrate. It hosts Game 2 on Wednesday.

"Scoring 74 points in the second half will give us a nice chance to win most games," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We weren't sharp mentally in the second quarter but our guys found a way to bounce back. We hit big shots. We hit big threes and we outscored them in the paint."

The highest-scoring game of the playoffs thus far saw an explosion by Brand, who made 18-of-22 shots, most of them on short jumpers after overpowering the smallish Suns in the post. The All-Star forward added nine rebounds and four blocks.

"Personally, I had a great game but we didn't close it out," Brand said. "They are a hot team and they were hitting all their shots. We do have to control the tempo better. We can't have any lows or any mistakes against this team. To get the tempo in our favor we really need to limit our quick shots. That is their game plan. It can't be fools gold."

A dunk by Brand pulled the sixth-seeded Clippers into a 101-101 tie with 8:33 to play. He was given a rest for less than two minutes, but that was enough as the Suns pounced with a 19-6 surge.

Boris Diaw triggered the surge with consecutive baskets and Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Nash sank 3-pointers to build the lead to 120-107 with 2:56 remaining. Phoenix led by at least six points thereafter.

"The tempo wasn't exactly what we needed," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Offensively in the second half, we didn't have the intensity. We executed and put up shots but they made their threes. We shot a high percentage but they were controlling the paint."

Phoenix made 12-of-27 shots from the arc while Los Angeles made 4-of-12 - three of them coming in the final two-plus minutes. Bell made four 3-pointers, Nash had three and Barbosa and Tim Thomas two apiece. The Suns also outscored the Clippers in the paint, 48-42.

The Suns were pretty good from the straight line, too. They sank their first 20 free throws and finished 24-of-25 from the stripe, with the only miss coming from Nash, the team leader.

Bell scored 22 points, Diaw added 19 and Barbosa 17 for the Suns.

"That is how we play and we have been playing like that all season," Diaw said. "We are a three-point shooting team so we just have to keep it up."

Sam Cassell scored 28 points and Corey Maggette added 20 for the Clippers, who shot 59 percent (48-of-81).

After receiving his MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, Nash sparked the Suns to an early 23-12 lead. However, the Clippers closed the first quarter with a 13-6 surge that featured three straight buckets by Brand.

"We are getting better. I think we are getting more balance," Nash said. "Our offensive is playing with the tempo, confidence and rhythm we need to. It must be a difficult loss for Elton Brand. He was phenomenal. I thought he was trying to get them to change the MVP at halftime."

A jumper and 3-pointer by Thomas rebuilt the lead to 54-45 with 4:09 remaining before the Clippers again closed in strong fashion with a 16-2 burst, taking a 61-56 lead into halftime as Brand made three more hoops.

A seesaw third quarter saw Phoenix start with a 12-4 spurt, Cassell sink four straight shots in a 13-2 run that allowed Los Angeles to rebuild a 78-70 lead and Bell drain a 3-pointer to give the Suns a 93-91 edge entering the final period.