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Nash Leads Suns


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DALLAS, March 5 (Ticker) -- Any discussion about the elite teams of the Western Conference now must include Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns.


Nash had 25 points and 11 assists and fueled a fourth-quarter rally as the Suns won their season-high 10th straight game with a 115-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, who had their franchise-record 16-game home winning streak snapped.


Boris Diaw collected 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double for the Suns, who had four players with at least 20 points and beat the Mavericks for the first time in three meetings this season.


Despite winning 62 games and reaching the Western Conference finals a year ago, the Suns have not been mentioned much as a serious contender. Most of that talk has revolved around the Mavericks and defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, who have jockeyed for the conference's best record all season.


The Suns were set back by All-Star center Amare Stoudemire's knee surgery and a 4-5 start that included some struggles on their home floor. However, Phoenix (41-17) put together a nine-game winning streak that carried into December and is hot again.


The driving force remains Nash, the reigning NBA MVP who again victimized his former team and good buddy Dirk Nowitzki. He orchestrated an offense that rang up 34 points in the fourth quarter and dealt Dallas its first home loss since December 30 vs. Golden State.


A three-point play by Nowitzki gave the Mavericks a 100-97 lead with 5:06 remaining before Nash took over. He found Diaw with a lefthanded pass for a dunk, then hit him again for a reverse layup that became a three-point play.


Leandro Barbosa made a layup before Nash's 3-pointer completed a 10-0 spurt that gave Phoenix a 107-100 lead with 2:25 to go.


Dallas closed to 107-104 before Nash converted a beautiful reverse layup, flipping it in lefthanded over the 7-foot Nowitzki with 1:15 left. Jason Terry made a 3-pointer, but Shawn Marion put in a layup off a loose ball before Barbosa and Nash each buried two free throws to seal it.


Marion had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Barbosa scored 20 points off the bench for the Suns, who shot 54 percent (45-of-83) overall and erased a 13-point second-half deficit.


Nowitzki scored 25 points, Marquis Daniels added a season-high 22 and Terry 21 for the Mavericks, who shot 52 percent (45-of-86) but cooled considerably in the second half. Dallas (46-13) has lost two of three - to San Antonio and Phoenix - after winning 19 of 20. It fell one-half game behind San Antonio (46-12).


A fast-break layup by recently acquired Tim Thomas capped a 9-0 surge and gave the Suns their first lead of the second half at 97-95 with 6:39 remaning.


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I've come to be a HUGE Suns fan since I moved here in 1980. Orig. from Long Island, and will ALWAYS be a GIANT and YANKEE fan, but luv dem SUNS!!!PhoenixSuns.gif


...I became a fan of phoenix when Barkley went there.I live in NY and NEVER liked the knicks....maybe that's because a friend of mine is such an ass when it comes to his beloved knicks.They go on a 10 game losing streak,he has an excuse...they win one fuckin' game...they're the best team in the NBA..drives me nuts!

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