Sunday , Mar , 12 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Nash leads Suns past T-Wolves

=== Nash leads Suns past T-Wolves ===

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Steve Nash returned to action and
matched his season-high 31 points and dished 11 assists to lead Phoenix in
a 110-102 victory over Minnesota.

After spraining his right ankle on Monday against the New
Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, the NBA reigning MVP missed his first game
of the season in a loss against San Antonio on Thursday – the Suns’ first
since a 103-101 setback to Minnesota on February 6th.

Tim Thomas scored 19 points for Phoenix, which has won 15 of 17. Boris
Diaw scored 18 points, while Raja Bell had 13. Shawn Marion posted 10 points
and 16 rebounds, and Leandro Barbosa added 10 points.

Kevin Garnett posted 28 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has
lost four in a row. Trenton Hassell scored season-high 21 points, while Ricky
Davis and Marko Jaric added 14 points apiece. Rashad McCants scored 13
points, and Mark Blount had 10.

“I was just trying to fight Kevin [Garnett] in the post, and make every
possession tough on him,” Thomas said. “I’m long and he’s long so it’s a
matter of trying to get him out of his comfort zone. That’s pretty much all
you can do with a guy like that.”

Phoenix took off on a 15-7 tear capped by a pair of Marion free throws
with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter for a 95-85 lead, which proved
insurmountable for Minnesota thereafter.

Minnesota gained a slight early advantage and led 29-28 heading into
the second quarter. It added to its lead, 54-48, by halftime, however
Phoenix began building momentum with a 6-0 spurt in the final three minutes.

Trailing 76-75, Phoenix took the lead 78-76 on three straight points by
Nash in the final 1:11 of the stanza, and did not relinquish it again.

“I try to keep things in-house but there’s a certain tone here, and we’re
going to keep that,” Garnett said. “And, if you can’t abide by that tone, you
won’t be here and you won’t play. I don’t sign anyone’s checks, but you have
to be prepared and ready to play. And I don’t know that as a team every night
we’re ready to do that. The focus is that it’s got to hurt when you lose. I
don’t know if it’s like that.”

“I’ve always said I’m a black wolf here,” Garnett said. “I lead by example and
this…hurts. We’re really trying to make a run for this thing. We’re trying
to make the playoffs and we need everybody to comply with that.”

Phoenix is an impressive 25-9 at home this season. The Suns hit the road for
a pair of games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics.

Minnesota played the third of a six-game road trip. The Timberwolves are
a brutal 8-22 as the visitor this season. They will also visit the
Clippers, Lakers and Golden State Warriors on the current road trip.

Game Notes

This was the third and final meeting of the season between the clubs. In
the two previous contests, both clubs picked up a win on the
road…Minnesota has lost 10 of its last 16 at Phoenix…Phoenix has won
five of six against Minnesota, after having lost nine of 10…The road
team has won six of the last eight contests.

PHO MIN