Nash has big day, big night to lead Suns past Kings
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — Steve Nash ended his big day with a big night.
The 36-year-old two-time league MVP had 28 points, 14 assists and even seven rebounds on the day of the birth of his son, and the Suns beat the Sacramento Kings in Phoenix for the 10th straight time, 103-89 on Friday night.
Nash, whose wife Alejandra gave birth to Matteo Joel Nash early Friday, made 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 13 for 18 to lead Phoenix to its third win in four games and send the Kings to their fourth loss in a row.
“We were the victim of a Hall of Fame player having a Hall of Fame night,” Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. “Steve Nash was unspeakably sensational.”
Hakim Warrick added 18 points for the Suns, most of them on feeds from Nash.
“It’s like having that big brother out there just making everything easy for you, and all you have to do is go out there and finish,” said Warrick, acquired by the Suns in the offseason. “And he takes control as the general out there. He saw that they were out there blitzing and he makes adjustments just like a great quarterback.”
Tyreke Evans had 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Kings. Carl Landry had 20 points and 11 boards. Beno Udrih added 17 points.
Nash was gone from the locker room before reporters got in, leaving others to speak about him.
“First of all, any time it’s the birth of a child you’re fired up,” teammate Grant Hill said. “He came out and hit his first couple shots and you’re `OK, he’s going to be aggressive.'”
The Suns led by as many as 14 in the third quarter but it shrank to 77-75 when Sacramento opened the fourth with a 7-0 spurt.
That’s when Nash re-entered the game.
Channing Frye made a 3-pointer to start a 15-5 run dominated by the ageless Phoenix playmaker.
On consecutive possessions to end the run, Nash had a three-point play, hit Warrick for a fast-break layup and lobbed one above the rim to Jason Richardson for a dunk and Phoenix led 92-80 with 5:12 to play.
“I thought we played good,” said Evans, last season’s Rookie of the Year and 15 years Nash’s junior. “Nash was being Nash, hitting shots in the lane, pull-ups. We couldn’t stop him tonight and that was pretty much it.”
Nash made it clear he was in for a big night from the start with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in the first quarter.
After sitting much of the second quarter, he finished the half with consecutive mid-range jumpers to put Phoenix ahead 52-43 at the break. The only blemish came at the free throw line, of all places, where the No. 2 free throw shooter of all time missed two of three.
The Suns opened the second half with seven straight points to lead 59-45 on Nash’s 17-footer. The Kings, who dominated the offensive boards 21-13 against their shorter opponent, battled back and twice cut it to four in the quarter before Phoenix scored the last five points to take a 77-68 lead into the fourth.
Nash had five assists after he came in the game the last time.
“Nash was having an unbelievable night,” Landry said. “He was playing like — Steve Nash.”
Notes: Sacramento last won in Phoenix on Nov. 6, 2005. … This was the only road contest in a nine-game stretch for the Kings. … Nash and Alejandra have twin 6-year-old daughters Lola and Bella, well known for their appearance on their dad’s lap at a postgame news conference in last season’s Western Conference finals. … Phoenix has won 12 of 13 overall against Sacramento and the last six in a row. … Phoenix is 19-0 at home since the start of the 2007-08 season against divisional opponents not named the Lakers.
Updated November 12, 2010