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Nash, Bell lead Suns past Grizzlies

Feb 27, 2008 - 5:34 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Raja Bell shook off a bad shooting night to deliver in the clutch.

All-Star Steve Nash scored 25 points and handed out 13 assists and Bell drilled three shots from the arc after missing his first nine attempts as the Phoenix Suns pulled away from the lowly Memphis Grizzlies, 127-113, on Tuesday.

Amare Stoudemire also scored 25 points and Shaquille O'Neal had 13 and 11 boards for Phoenix, which rebounded from its worst loss of the season.

"Right now, we're in a race just to make the playoffs, and every win is important, especially on the road," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.

The Suns had split their first two games since acquiring O'Neal from the Miami Heat on February 6. However, the club was routed, 116-86, by the Detroit Pistons on Sunday as the 14-time All-Star O'Neal accrued just seven points in the loss.

In this game, the Suns were far from comfortable for most of the night against the Grizzlies (14-43) - owners of the third-worst record in the league.

"I'm not too sure we played that great tonight, but we did enough to win," said Nash, who scored 18 of his total in the second half. "Tonight we made some plays down the stretch that won us the game."

Memphis overcame a six-point deficit in the first minute of the fourth quarter and took a 97-95 lead after a technical free throw from rookie Juan Carlos Navarro a minute later.

After Phoenix knotted the score at 97-97 on a breakaway layup by Leandro Barbosa with 8:40 to play, the Suns proceeded to go on a 19-8 burst, which was capped by another layup by Barbosa inside three minutes.

Bell, who was 0-of-8 through three quarters and had missed a 3-pointer earlier in the fourth, drilled two shots from the arc in the spurt to help give Phoenix a comfortable advantage.

"You shoot when you're open," Bell said. "The shots were feeling good, but they weren't going in. But if you keep being open, you raise up and shoot and try to be confident with it. It's a lonely feeling when you can't hit a jump shot."

Bell's third 3-pointer gave the Suns a 119-110 lead with 1:31 left, before Nash hit six free throws to help ice the game.

"We were banking on Raja's chances that were sooner or later gonna fall," D'Antoni said.

Barbosa scored 17 and fellow reserve Boris Diaw added 15 and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which shot 58 percent (48-of-83) and has won five straight against Memphis.

O'Neal's most productive minutes came in the third quarter, when he scored five points and pulled down six rebounds. He sat out the final period while the Grizzlies turned to a small lineup.

"I'm still trying to fit in, but while I'm fitting in, I'm still trying to do the little things like get the rebounds and find the open guy when they double-team me," O'Neal said. "I'm not trying to do too much right now, just trying to mix my style with their style."

Rudy Gay scored a career-high 36 points and did his best to keep the Grizzlies in the game, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter.

"It was one of those games where everything clicked," Gay said. "We took all the shots we wanted and we also ran them, but they still defeated us. In the fourth quarter, they attacked our zone."

Memphis also enjoyed big nights from its rookie duo of Navarro and Mike Conley. Navarro scored 23 for the Grizzlies, including six of the team's 10 3-pointers, and Conley posted his second career double-double with 15 points and a season-best 11 assists.

"You can feel positive when you have guys out there competing and playing like we did," Conley said. "They are a veteran team. They're trained to make those big shots that they made. Raja Bell came up big and hit a couple of 3-pointers which really set them apart in the fourth."

Memphis shot 46 percent (45-of-98) and has dropped six straight, 12 of 13 and are 1-11 since trading Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers on February 1.

  • NBA
    PHOENIX 127

    Feb 26 10:19 PM
  • 28
    RUWTbot Added 18 roots (Close Finish)

    Suns 103, Grizzlies 99  4th - 5:41Feb 26 10:06 PM

  • NBA
    PHOENIX 90

    Feb 26 9:50 PM

  • NBA
    PHOENIX 61

    Feb 26 9:09 PM

  • NBA
    PHOENIX 28

    Feb 26 8:34 PM