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News » Nash sparks Suns' rally over Sixers

Nash sparks Suns' rally over Sixers

Nash sparks Suns' rally over Sixers IF DONOVAN McNABB had the passing accuracy with a football that Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash has with a Basketball, multiple Super Bowl trophies probably would be adorning the Eagles' NovaCare Complex.

Nash sliced and diced through the 76ers last night, dealing a Wachovia Center-record 20 assists to go with 21 points in leading the Suns to a 119-115, come-from-behind win in a thrilling game in front of 10,205 fans.

Mostly because of the 13-year point guard, the Suns shot 41-for-77 (53.2 percent) from the floor, including a stellar 15-for-30 from three-point range. The Sixers led by as many as 16 during the game, and by as much as eight in the final quarter, but couldn't hold off the Suns, who went on a 13-4 run late in the game to take a 113-108 lead with 1 minute, 38 seconds left. In the fourth quarter, the Suns shot 10-for-17, including Jared Dudley's 13 points on 4-for-4 shooting (with three treys). He finished with 18.

"We played with a lot of passion, a lot of energy," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. "We played a team that, even though they can get down, they're smarter. Right now, they're smarter, and they have more weapons."

Again, the Sixers (3-4) were crushed by their inability to get out on three-point shooters. In losses this season to Orlando, Boston and Phoenix, those three teams made 45 of 79 treys, for an astounding 57 percent. In those three games, the Sixers gave up an average of 114.7 points.

Last night was more of the same.

With the Suns down, 100-93, in the fourth quarter, Suns coach Alvin Gentry inserted Nash, and the Suns soon took a 105-104 lead on a three-pointer by Leandro Barbosa.

"Steve Nash, I don't know what to say about the guy," Gentry said. "I love the fact that everybody thinks he's getting older and a step slower. We should all be so lucky as players to get older and be a step slower and still do what he does."

Nash's career high for assists is 22. He was the last NBA player to reach 20 in points and assists, with 28 points and 22 assists at New York on Jan. 2, 2006.

Sub Marreese Speights scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Sixers alive, but they couldn't get defensive stops down the stretch. Fittingly, Nash sealed the win by making six straight foul shots in the final 23.7 seconds.

Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 24 points, while Thaddeus Young had 15 and Lou Williams had 13. Elton Brand also hit double figures with 10.

"They are a team that makes a lot of threes," said Iguodala, who also grabbed nine rebounds. "They made some tough shots. They had it going tonight.

"We have the capabilities of playing that [fast] style. We did it last season. I think we did a good job of sustaining that. They just made some tough shots. We may have overhelped a little too much on certain isolations, where we couldn't contain our man. We have to rely on our man-on-man defense and not helping as much."

For the Suns, Jason Richardson had a game-high 29, including 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. Amare Stoudemire added 17, while ageless Grant Hill collected 11 points and eight rebounds, as six Suns scored in double figures.

Still, Nash provided most of the damage.

"We knew we had to be really sharp in our pick-and-roll defense and our transition defense," Jordan said. "We said that in pregame that it was transition and pick-and-roll. When a guy like Dudley makes threes on you and Steve Nash is running the show, it's a heck of a thing to hold on to a lead if you can't score, and it's difficult to take the lead and win the game if you allow them to get shots down.

"Stoudemire and Nash remind me of [John] Stockton and [Karl] Malone, and they're sitting at the top of the Hall of Fame. I thought we took away the paint, and that's first. You can't allow them to get dunks and layups. I thought they got some of that in transition, some in pick-and-rolls, but they didn't dominate the game with it. They kicked it out and made threes."

Most of the time, it was Nash doing the kicking.

With the win, the Suns (7-1) matched their best eight-game start in franchise history and concluded a five-game road trip with a 4-1 record.

"We want to build a good working environment and play together," Nash said. "It's important for us to win road games, because we have a tough Western Conference, and we have 17 of our first 26 on the road. So, it could be over for us if we don't win on the road."

The Sixers , who have now lost three of four, just need to find a way to win, anywhere. They'll travel to struggling New Jersey tomorrow.

"It's a loss, that's about it," Iguodala said when asked whether he was happy about the team's play. "We played better than we did the last two games, but in the end, you lose the game. We should have had it.

"When you play a team like that that's been together for a long time, they really understand each other and the system. They have too many guys in Stoudemire and Nash, and you put shooters around them, the system works."

Mo backMarreese Speights was back at full strength after missing the final minutes of the Detroit game with a bruised left knee. Speights collided knees with Pistons guard Will Bynum and limped to the locker room. He showed no ill effects last night. *

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 10, 2009


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