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Phoenix at Washington

Nash dishes out season high in assists in Phoenix victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- There it was for everyone to see, out on the court during the flow of the game and later in black and white on the stat sheet, yet hardly anyone could believe it: 42 assists on 50 field goals for the Phoenix Suns.

"Pretty crazy, right?" said Raja Bell.

"Impressive," said Amare Stoudemire.

"Just incredible," sighed Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.

Steve Nash delivered a season-high 19 assists, Stoudemire scored 27 points, and Bell had 14 of his 22 points during a game-deciding third quarter, helping Phoenix beat Washington 122-107 Friday night for its fifth consecutive victory.

"When the ball moves like that," Nash said, "we're difficult to guard."

The Suns led only 60-55 at halftime, before breaking the game open. They outscored Washington 40-21 in the third period, when Bell made all five of his field goal attempts, including 4-for-4 on 3-pointers.

The two-time league MVP had seven assists in the quarter, when Phoenix shot a remarkable 17-for-22 -- 77.3 percent.

"It all starts," forward Shawn Marion said, "with Steve Nash."

Nash has four games in a row with at least 15 assists. He had 18 Wednesday, when Phoenix scored 136 points in a victory at Toronto, prompting this assessment from Suns coach Mike D'Antoni: "Offensively, we were just awesome."

It was more of the same Friday, right from the get-go. With clockwork ball movement -- not just by Nash, but everyone -- each starter had one of the team's first five baskets. The 42 total assists were the most by an NBA team this season.

"If I think too much, I'll mess it up," D'Antoni said Friday. "I just stay out of the way right now."

The Suns scoring was well-divided, with six players in double-figures. Nash finished with 12 points, Leandro Barbosa had 20 points and seven assists, Grant Hill had 18 points and eight assists, and Marion had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"No matter who's in the game, they're going 100 miles an hour at both ends of the floor," said Washington's Antawn Jamison, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Stoudemire scored 21 points in the first half, mainly on dunks and layups, so the Wizards decided they were going to commit to limiting his touches close to the basket.

If Phoenix won by making outside shots, so be it, the thinking went.

"That worked for about three possessions," Jordan said.

The Wizards were led by reserve forward Andray Blatche's 19 points and 10 rebounds. Washington's leading scorer, Caron Butler, was held to 12 points.

The Suns scored the game's first seven points and never trailed, but that doesn't mean it wasn't competitive. Not at all. Well, for a half, anyway. Washington repeatedly got within one point, although Phoenix responded each time.

The Wizards were without their own All-Star point guard, Gilbert Arenas, who scored 54 points in a game at Phoenix last season but right now is sidelined after having a second operation on his left knee.

Arenas was in Washington's locker room before Friday's game, riding on a stationary bicycle for the first time since having surgery last month.

Notes

  • Nash's career high in the regular season is 22 assists.
  • The Suns are 11-1 against Eastern Conference teams.
  • Sitting on adjacent bikes, Arenas and rookie Nick Young engaged in good-natured ribbing about 1½ hours before tipoff. Arenas said Young looked silly wearing sweat bands over his socks, then chastised him for seeming to celebrate after too many baskets. Young poked fun at Arenas' orange slippers, and told the celebrated blogger that his Internet presence has nothing on what Young and fellow rookie Dominic McGuire are posting on WashingtonWizards.com. "You might have your blog; we've got our vlog," Young boasted. "Check us out."
  • Stoudemire stopped by before the game, greeting Arenas with a handshake and asking how he's doing.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Suns guard Steve Nash, who records 12 points and 19 assists, drives toward the basket. (Getty Images)
Suns guard Steve Nash, who records 12 points and 19 assists, drives toward the basket. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Phoenix (16-4) «30304022122
Washington (9-10) 26292131107
PHO:A. Stoudemire 27 Pts
PHO:S. Marion 10 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 19 Ast
WAS:A. Blatche 19 Pts
WAS:A. Jamison 11 Reb
WAS:A. Daniels 7 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonPhoenix

A. Blatche

S. Nash
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1910212519
Phoenix
G. Hill, SG377-122-358118
S. Nash, PG344-93-3519112
R. Bell, SG348-160-035222
S. Marion, PF336-140-0101112
A. Stoudemire, C3312-143-681227
L. Barbosa, PG308-143-347120
B. Diaw, SF213-70-04107
B. Skinner, PF122-40-02024
E. Piatkowski, SG30-00-00000
S. Marks, C20-00-01000
D. Strawberry, SG20-10-00000
M. Banks, PGDid Not Play
A. Tucker, SFDid Not Play
Totals 50-9111-15424210122
 54.9%73.3% 
Washington
C. Butler, SF406-150-065112
A. Jamison, PF387-212-2110216
A. Daniels, PG304-64-447112
B. Haywood, C206-82-220214
D. Stevenson, SG181-50-21202
R. Mason, SG306-120-031215
A. Blatche, SF268-153-4102219
N. Young, SG186-111-132113
D. Songaila, PF132-40-00024
D. McGuire, PF70-00-03100
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
G. Arenas, PGDid Not Play
O. Pecherov, CDid Not Play
Totals 46-9712-15432013107
 47.4%80.0% 
Other Games
Chi 98 Final
Det 91
Ind 115 Final
Orl 109
NY 90 Final
Phi 101
Tor 84 Final
Bos 112
Hou 96 Final
NJ 89
Mem 116 Final
NO 118
Utah 98 Final
SA 104
LAC 97 Final
Sac 87
Mia 113 Final
GS 120
Mil 98 Final
Sea 104