Nash finished with 20 points and 14 assists just four days after
sustaining a concussion, and led the high-octane Suns to their
eighth straight win, 115-102 over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
"I kind of had two days off and I didn't feel great yesterday
in practice," said Nash, who also had three steals.
Nash said he needed a few minutes to get back into rhythm. Once
he did, the Suns took off and wore down the Jazz, outscoring Utah
33-22 in the fourth quarter.
Amare Stoudemire scored 29 points, Shawn Marion had 21 to go
with nine rebounds and blocked four shots for the Suns. Quentin
Richardson scored 18 points, and Joe Johnson added 15 as all five
Suns starters reached double figures.
The Suns had the fast break going at full speed by the end of
the game and there was no way the short-handed Jazz could keep up.
"Once you get the rebound, it's like two passes and a dunk.
Maybe one pass and a dunk," Stoudemire said. "We really came out
strong toward the end. (We) probably ran the fastest in the fourth
quarter to seal the game."
Utah was playing its first of at least five games without
All-Star forward Andrei Kirilenko, placed on the injured list
Tuesday with a sprained knee ligament.
Rookie Kris Humphries, who came off the injured list when
Kirilenko went on, had a career-high 13 points, and Carlos Boozer
scored 27 points and pulled down 18 rebounds for the Jazz.
Tuesday was the first of back-to-back games against the top two
teams in the Western Conference for Utah, which visits Seattle on
Wednesday. For 3½ quarters, it was a good start, but the Suns
pulled away down the stretch.
"It doesn't give you much of a chance to win, especially when
you give up as many points as we did in the paint," Jazz coach
Jerry Sloan said. "They shot a terrific percentage because they
got what they wanted almost every time."
It was Nash's first game since getting a concussion Friday in a
win over New Orleans, and he didn't show any effects, leading the
highest-scoring team in the league to another victory.
Nash didn't score in the final quarter, but had four assists to
help the Suns seal it.
"We didn't get many bounces tonight, but I thought in the
fourth quarter we scrapped," Nash said. "Deflections and steals
and blocked shots, that was a big part of the win for us."
Phoenix forced 18 turnovers while losing the ball just seven
Humphries kept Utah close in the third quarter with a turnaround
jumper just before the shot clock expired, then drove for a
two-handed dunk through traffic to get Utah to 90-88. But the Suns
were able to keep up the frantic pace and the Jazz weren't.
After Bell got Utah to 92-90, Richardson hit back-to-back
3-pointers to give the Suns an eight-point lead with less than six
Matt Harpring scored for Utah after a timeout, but Johnson hit a
3-pointer and Nash stole a pass at the other end and found
Stoudemire for a two-handed dunk that shook the backboard. The Jazz
briefly cut it to single digits, but the Suns pulled away again,
sealing it on Stoudemire's reverse dunk and free throw for a
three-point play to make it 107-94.
"It was tough. I mean, every time we missed a shot, they were
out on the break," Boozer said.
Harpring started for Kirilenko and finished with 19 points and
seven rebounds. Carlos Arroyo had 10 points and five assists, and
Raja Bell scored 12 for the Jazz.
Richardson was called for a technical after arguing a foul
called on him during a layup by Arroyo. ... Utah won three of four
against Phoenix last season. ... Humphries had one career point
before Tuesday night's game and played 26 minutes.