- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

PHOENIX (AP) - Jason Richardson scored 17 of his season-high 35 points in the third quarter and the Phoenix Suns extended their winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday night with a 128-96 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 13 to pass Moses Malone as the No. 5 scorer in NBA history with 27,411 points. He also finished with 10 rebounds.

Steve Nash added 17 points for the Suns, who pulled with 3 1/2 games of idle Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 13 to play. Stromile Swift had 10 points and 12 rebounds in his best game since joining Phoenix on March 4.

Antawn Jamison scored 25 as the Wizards completed a winless four-game, five-day trip west.

Richardson was 5-for-5 on 3-pointers in the third quarter to put Phoenix ahead 90-75 entering the fourth.

Richardson’s fourth 3-pointer of the quarter made it 73-65 with 6:35 left, then Phoenix stretched it to 77-67 on a fast-break basket after a behind-the-back pass from Richardson to Matt Barnes. Barnes’ dunk attempt sailed high off the rim, then back through the net. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.

Richardson kept it going after that. Swift scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, then Richardson had a three-point play and a thunderous reverse dunk to put Phoenix ahead 97-75 10:18 from the finish. Swift scored again to make it 99-75.

The Suns took a 25-12 lead behind nine quick points by Richardson and were up 31-16 after one quarter.

The Wizards outscored Phoenix 10-2 over the final two minutes of the half, though, to cut the Suns’ lead to 57-53 at the break. Washington had it down to 60-59 on Mike James’ 9-foot runner early in the second half. That’s when Richardson started his 3-point barrage.

Notes:@ O’Neal is 4,008 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for No. 4 on the scoring list. … The first quarter marked the Suns’ 10th straight period with at least 30 points, the longest such stretch in the NBA in 17 years. … Phoenix is 8-0 against sub-.500 teams since Alvin Gentry became coach. … Washington has lost 13 straight road games against teams with winning records.

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