for this game

Nash's 3-pointer caps thrilling fourth quarter as Suns win

Nov 21, 2006 - 6:15 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Steve Nash was not willing to let Monta Ellis be MVP for a day.

Nash drilled the decisive 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left as the Phoenix Suns survived a wild finish for a 113-110 victory over Ellis and the Golden State Warriors.

Raja Bell scored 22 points and Nash finished with 19 and a season-high 15 assists for Phoenix, which overcame a 20-0 run in the second quarter, a host of missed free throws and 18 turnovers to win for just the fourth time in 10 games this season.

"Steve hits the big shot," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We were due. Sometimes it's just luck and you can't explain it, but we were due and they probably weren't. I don't know, but I know we were (due)."

The difference in the final seconds was Nash, who had missed the last two games with back spasms. The two-time reigning MVP returned in impressive fashion, making 8-of-14 shots, including two of the Suns' 13 3-pointers.

His final shot snapped a 110-110 tie after Phoenix forward Shawn Marion won a jump ball with 25 seconds to go. Bell came out to set a pick at the top of the arc, and Nash went to the right of the screen and drained the shot.

"This team needed a break and I was lucky enough to make a shot," Nash said. "There's a lot of plays that lead to a team winning so I don't want to blow it out of proportion. It's just nice to make one when it counts."

Jason Richardson had a great look at a tying 3-pointer, but the attempt grazed the front of the rim, sealing the Warriors' first loss in six games on their current homestand.

"I was wide open, I just didn't knock the shot down but it was a good look," said Richardson, who finished with 14 points. "It goes in sometimes, but sometimes it doesn't. With the game on the line, you've got to make that shot."

Golden State played most of the final minute with Ellis, who made an assortment of outstanding plays in the fourth quarter before his left leg cramped up. The second-year guard tied his career high of 31 points - originally set Saturday - and also dished out seven assists in place of injured point guard Baron Davis (ribcage).

"That's why when I'm on the court, I pay a lot of attention to Baron, just in case he goes down," Ellis said. "He went down the other night and didn't play today, so I had to step into that role, playing and being that leader and doing what he normally does."

Ellis starred during a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, highlighted by a ferocious transition dunk over Leandro Barbosa. He added a driving layup while getting fouled on the next possession and then capped the spurt with another layup.

Mickael Pietrus scored 24 points and Andris Biedrins added 13 and 15 rebounds. But Biedrins missed a free throw with 25 seconds left and there was a lane violation on both teams on the second attempt, leading to the late jump ball.

"Even though we lost the game, I am very happy with how the team played without Baron," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I have no problem losing like this as long as the guys played their (tails) off and listened to the game plan. They banged and hustled great tonight and we had a shot to win it in the fourth.

"We couldn't ask for anything more at the end with Jason getting a clean look at the three. I know hard times are coming, but this certainly isn't one of them. I am not disappointed."

Barbosa scored 21 points and Marion added 18 and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which uncharacteristically made just 8-of-15 free throws and committed 18 turnovers.

A 90 percent free-throw shooter, Barbosa missed a pair of attempts with 1:27 remaining that kept the Suns' lead at 108-107. Ellis came down and made a spinning pass to Pietrus for a 3-pointer to put the Warriors back ahead.

However, Nash responded by penetrating the lane and finding a slicing Marion for the tying layup.

"He's our MVP. He's the motor," D'Antoni said of Nash. "Leandro did a good job with him being out but at the same time, obviously you're going to miss your best player."

Amare Stoudemire contributed 16 points in 22 minutes and Boris Diaw chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for Phoenix, which completed its road trip at 2-1.

"It's a big win for us. We definitely needed it to finish up this road trip," Stoudemire said. "Now we are going home for a couple of games and we have to do the same thing. It was definitely a team effort tonight. We came out with a chip on our shoulder and did what it took to get a win."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!