PHOENIX (AP) - Three days after his 37th birthday, Steve Nash has the Phoenix Suns finally back at .500 for the season. He even got a little extra rest, too.
The Suns' seemingly ageless playmaker had 18 points and 11 assists, then sat out the fourth quarter on Thursday night and watched Phoenix complete a 112-88 rout of the Golden State Warriors, the Suns' most one-sided win this season.
Channing Frye added 17 points and nine rebounds as the Suns beat the Warriors for the second time in four nights to climb to .500 (25-25) for the first time since Dec. 19.
``We'd like to be at about .650 but we have a lot of work to do,' Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. ``I thought we did a good job. We took care of business right from the start.'
Ekpe Udoh and Brandan Wright scored 16 apiece for the Warriors. Monta Ellis, the fourth-leading scorer in the NBA at 25.4 points per game, managed just eight on 4 of 13 shooting.
The Suns made it a blowout with a 20-0 run, the last 14 points of the first half and first six of the second, to go up 71-42, Phoenix's biggest lead against anyone this season - up to that point. The Warriors missed 13 shots during that stretch.
Phoenix led by as many as 33 in the fourth quarter.
``Our defense has been pretty good the last couple of weeks,' Nash said. ``That has given us an opportunity to take some pressure off the offense and build some leads.'
Jared Dudley scored 13 points, including his first dunk of the season, and Robin Lopez had 12 for Phoenix. Rookie Zabian Dowdell, signed to fill in for injured Goran Dragic, scored 10 - six more than he'd ever had in an NBA game.
Dudley, who had promised 10 dunks this season, got plenty of grief from his teammates after he finally got one.
``Man, Dudley made one and I missed one,' Frye said. ``Somebody should go outside and see if pigs are flying.'
Phoenix, winner of five of its past six overall, won its 28th straight at home against a Pacific Division foe not named the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors shot 40 percent lowering the Suns' opposition field goal shooting to 42.3 percent in the past 11 games. Only Miami and Boston have done better in that brief span.
Golden State had won four of five overall, most recently 116-114 over Denver on Wednesday night. Both losses in its past six came against the Suns.
Coach Keith Smart said that his team lacked the energy necessary to keep up with the Suns.
``You share with the younger players how hard it is that you have to play every night in the NBA, back to back in particular,' he said, ``but there's nothing you can do with it. We didn't play well to start the game off in the first half. We didn't have the energy we needed to have against this team.'
The Warriors - coming off an eight-game home stand - scored the first two points Thursday night, then never led again.
The 14-0 surge to finish the half was part of a 17-3 overall outburst that put Phoenix ahead 65-42 at the break. The Suns shot 60 percent for the half, with Nash leading the way with 14 points and eight assists.
Frye made a jumper, then Vince Carter scored twice to start the third quarter. The 20-point run finally ended when Ellis hit a 14-footer with 8:38 left in the third quarter.
Golden State is 0-3 against Phoenix this season.
``It was bad from start to finish, similar to the last game we played them,' the Warriors' David Lee said. ``I feel like we got outplayed at all five positions from the start of the game to the end.'
Notes: Nash was 3 of 3 at the foul line to move back ahead of Mark Price as the most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history, 90.3916 percent to Price's 90.3895 percent. Price is an assistant coach for the Warriors. ... Dragic missed his fifth straight game after cutting his left foot stepping on glass at his home . ... The Suns have won 10 of 14. .. Phoenix goes to Salt Lake City to face Utah on Friday night in the Jazz's first game since coach Jerry Sloan resigned on Thursday. ... The Suns had never led by more than 25 this season and hadn't won by more than 18. ... Ellis was 9 of 30 shooting the past two games against Phoenix.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved