for this game

Nash returns as Suns rout Clippers

Feb 21, 2007 - 7:30 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- All-Star Steve Nash returned just in time to stop the bleeding.

Shawn Marion had 31 points and nine rebounds and fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire added 22 and eight as the Phoenix Suns cruised to a 115-90 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The two-time reigning MVP, Nash had missed the last four games plus Sunday's All-Star Game in Las Vegas with inflammation in his right shoulder.

On Tuesday, Nash collected 13 points and 12 assists in just 27 minutes, helping stop a three-game losing streak. It was Nash's 12th double-double in 13 games.

"It's nice to just be out there with our teammates," Nash said. "As a group it's a lot of fun to win after three straight losses. It's maybe good for us that we suffered a little bit. Maybe we can regroup here. We have good chemistry, good talent, we are unselfish. I think that is important."

"(Nash) came out there and got the ball movement and everyone was making the extra pass and everyone was looking for each other," Marion said. "I thought we played well. We can play better. This was a great game for us. We came out early and we stuck with it the whole game."

Phoenix used an impressive 15-5 surge in the first quarter to create a 33-19 advantage with 2:18 remaining behind Nash, who had his hand in 10 points during the stretch.

"I think the first quarter wasn't too bad, but I think the rust showed throughout the game at times," Nash said. "Overall I am pleased after not running or shooting for two weeks."

"We came out real tough," Stoudemire said. "We have to do that from here on out to the playoff stretch. We have 29 more games to get better and that's what we have to do."

The Suns shot 56 percent (23-of-41) from the floor en route to holding a commanding 62-45 at intermission.

Phoenix forward-center Kurt Thomas also made his return after missing 15 games with an elbow injury. He had four points and seven rebounds.

"Kurt came back and I came back and I think adding two veterans back gives us a lot more options," Nash said. "It's a lot more stable for us having guys in their normal positions."

Corey Maggette had 19 points and seven rebounds and Elton Brand added 17 for the Clippers, who dropped their fourth straight game.

"They didn't make it look worse than it was, that is how bad it was," Brand said. "They had back door cuts for layups, guys getting open shots, and hustle plays."

With several trade rumors surrounding the Clippers, coach Mike Dunleavy doesn't see any moves being made entering Thursday's trading deadline.

"I don't see us making any deals," Dunleavy said. "Obviously any team is going to look at anyone with potential that could really help you, but I don't see anything on the horizon. Nothing that we've heard that is going around has any interest."

"There is a lot of stuff out there where teams are just fishing. Everyone is looking to get some kind of a steal right now. I think you have to have a clear cut deal that can help you in order to make one."

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