Nash’s 27 paces Suns over Nets
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Steve Nash poured in 27 points and Phoenix
continued its home dominance of New Jersey with a 92-81 victory at America
Raja Bell added 13 points while Kurt Thomas pulled down 19 rebounds to help
the Suns win a season-best third in a row.
The Nets lost their third straight overall and 12th in a row at Phoenix, where
New Jersey hasn’t won since March 13, 1993.
Vince Carter returned to action for the Nets after missing a game due to a
strained back. He finished with 23 points, but none of them came in the fourth
Jason Kidd topped New Jersey with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Richard
Jefferson compiled 16 points and 12 boards.
The Nets fell behind early, rallied strongly in the third quarter, then went
cold again in the fourth.
The Suns began to take control midway through the first quarter, as a 6-0 run
capped by Thomas’ putback with 3:40 to go in the period helped Phoenix
build an early 19-11 lead. The hosts would enter the second 12 minutes up
25-16 after Eddie House buried a three-pointer with 1:27 remaining.
Phoenix then outscored the Nets 13-4 to start the second quarter and held a
cozy 38-20 advantage after James Jones’ basket from beyond the arc with 5:16
left in the half. A Shawn Marion layup less than two minutes later extended
the margin to 20 points at 42-22.
New Jersey would close out the half strong, as Carter delivered a three-point
play and Kidd sunk a triple in the closing seconds to cut the deficit to 44-30
at the break.
The Nets closed further with a third-quarter surge paced by Carter, who netted
six consecutive points, including a trey with 4:28 to go in the period that
pulled New Jersey within 63-53. Kidd followed with a driving layup to make it
an eight-point game.
The lead shrunk to four when the Nets’ Clifford Robinson hit a three-pointer
with 39 seconds left in the third, but House answered with a jumper at the
other end to send Phoenix into the fourth quarter up 70-64.
New Jersey trailed 80-73 after Kidd hit a short jumper with just under eight
minutes to play. However, the Nets would not make another field goal until
Kidd hit a three-pointer with 37 seconds left.
In the meantime, Phoenix went on a 9-2 run to seal the win.
Jason Collins also returned to New Jersey’s lineup after missing two games
with a muscle strain in his right low leg. He ended with just three points in
34 minutes…The Nets fell to 0-3 in their current five-game West Coast road
swing…Phoenix’s Boris Diaw finished with 10 points, nine assists and seven