Nash sparks late run to lift Suns over PistonsJan 1, 2007 - 12:52 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Steve Nash sparked a late run which carried the Phoenix Suns to a 108-101 triumph over the Detroit Pistons.
With the Suns trailing, 91-90, Nash hit a jumper with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter to give his squad a 92-91 lead and spark a 11-4 run that turned out to be decisive.
Detroit played its first game without Chauncey Billups, who suffered a strained right calf in a 93-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. He is expected to be sidelined 10 days.
"It was a good game and obviously without Chauncey, we had to take advantage of it and we did," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Steve (Nash) and Amare (Stoudemire) had a stretch that was unbelievable and got us the win."
"It's obviously different without (Billups) out there," Nash said. "We aren't heading out of here thinking we beat the Pistons. We got the win, but we know they didn't have their full team. It's simple math. They still have a lot of talented players and he's one of the best in the league."
Stoudemire's basket with 2:30 left off an assist from Nash concluded the spurt, giving Phoenix a 101-95 advantage.
"I think that tonight was a pretty good improvement on the defensive standpoint and that is pretty much what I am focusing on," Stoudemire said.
Nash, who entered averaging a career-best 20 points per game, finished with 35 while Stoudemire scored 31 for Phoenix, which won its third straight game.
"You can't give (Nash) that much space," Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince said. "You can't give a player like that too much space. I know it's difficult to guard him, but whatever you decide to do, you can't lay off."
Richard Hamilton scored 31 points to lead the Pistons, who only shot only seven percent (1-of-15) from 3-point range. Detroit dropped its third straight.
"When you don't have Chauncey (Billups) and Sheed (Rasheed Wallace), it puts a lot of stress on the rest of your players," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said.
Averaging 18.0 points and 8.1 assists, Billups scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his last outing Friday against Indiana.
"It's feeling better today, but I don't know," said Billups, who is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday. "I'm not going to play until I feel better and feel all the way right. Hopefully, I can keep getting better every day."
DETROIT 101 FINAL
Dec 31 6:27 PM
DETROIT 78 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 31 5:49 PM
DETROIT 50 HALFTIME
Dec 31 5:07 PM
DETROIT 22 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 31 4:37 PM
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