Suns Scorch Wizards In Phoenix
PHOENIX (AP) For an instant early in the second half, the Washington Wizards appeared to have a legitimate shot at their first victory over Phoenix in six years. Then they were overwhelmed during one of the Suns’ most dominant stretches of basketball this season.
Marcin Gortat scored 20 points, Steve Nash had 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in three quarters, and the Suns beat Washington 104-88 on Monday night for their 10th straight win over the Wizards.
Phoenix, coming off a 102-90 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, won on consecutive nights for the first time this season.
“It was important to be strong and be tough mentally because we expended a lot of energy last night,” Nash said. “We haven’t had a couple of days off in it feels like forever.”
The Suns outscored Washington 31-6 after the Wizards took their only lead of the game early in the third quarter.
“Selfish, that’s what it was,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “We were up by one and then went on a spree of the most selfish basketball I have seen since I have taken over. I have to find the right people to play the right way because I am not letting that slip back in.”
Phoenix led by 24 entering the fourth.
“That felt very good,” Channing Frye said his team’s big run. “I think it’s letting everybody get into a rhythm. Defensively you saw we started to pick it up, just give them one shot. We were moving, we were talking on `D’ and just playing good basketball.”
Frye added 19 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Redd scored 14 for the Suns, who topped 100 points against Washington for the 18th time in a row, the longest active streak of its kind in the NBA.
Jordan Crawford scored 20 points for the Wizards, who finished a five-game trip with three losses after winning the first two.
Trevor Booker added 16 for Washington. Nick Young, the Wizards’ leading scorer at 17.5 points per game, shot just 3 of 13 for six points, the latest of several big scorers to have a rough night while being defended by Grant Hill.
The Wizards outscored the Suns 7-1 to start the second half and took a 55-54 lead on Booker’s three-point play.
Phoenix scored on its next eight possessions, a 16-0 outburst that put the Suns up 70-55 on Nash’s 8-footer with 3:53 left in the third quarter. Phoenix kept going from there, finishing the quarter with a 12-3 run to lead 85-60 entering the fourth. Redd had eight points in the surge, including a pair of 3-pointers. The second one came with 34.8 seconds left in the period.
“We just played well, really,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “I wish I had a deep thought about it, but we played well. We were good defensively and we got out and ran and got easy shots. That’s really all it was.”
Overall, Phoenix outscored Washington 32-13 in the third.
“We stopped playing as a team,” said Wizards guard John Wall, who finished with 10 points. “We stopped moving the ball.”
The Suns never trailed in the first half but never got the lead to double digits, either.
They jumped out to a 19-10 lead but, when Phoenix had five reserves on the court, Washington rallied to tie it at 36 on Rashard Lewis’ 9-foot runner with 6:17 left in the half.
The Phoenix starters returned and a 6-0 Suns spurt made it 42-36 when Hill scored on a fast-break layup. Gortat’s dunk on a pass from Nash, followed by one of two free throws from Frye, boosted the lead to 45-38 with 3:51 to go in the half. The Wizards cut it to 51-48 when Young made his first shot of the night on his sixth attempt, a 12-footer with 37.8 seconds left.
Hill’s two free throws made it 53-48 and Wall was called for an offensive foul, against Markieff Morris, on Washington’s final possession before the break.
Frye had 10 points and six rebounds in the first quarter. Gortat scored 13 in the first half and Nash had eight assists. Wall and JaVale McGee had 10 points apiece in the first two quarters for Washington.
Notes: This was the only meeting between the teams this season. … The Wizards haven’t had a winning road trip of five games or more since 2005. … Washington’s last victory over the Suns was on Dec. 22, 2006, when Gilbert Arenas scored 54 points in an overtime victory at Phoenix. … The Suns won consecutive home games for only the second time this season. … Phoenix led by as many as 27 against the Lakers on Sunday night and 26 against Washington.