- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For the 20,173 fans who packed Verizon Center last night hoping to see a repeat of the overtime game played between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns last month, that dream was dashed before halftime.

The Suns stepped all over that idea — stomped on it, even — from start to finish last night, building a 29-point lead in the first half and cruising past the Wizards 127-105.

There was no serenading of Gilbert Arenas as “M-V-P,” especially on a night when two-time reigning MVP Steve Nash scored 27 points and dished out 14 assists to lead the Suns to their 30th win in their last 32 games in a cakewalk.

Nash, who was 11-for-13 from the floor, was one of seven Suns players to score in double figures. Shawn Marion and Raja Bell each scored 21 points.

The Suns shot 60.8 percent — a season high for a Wizards opponent. They had 35 assists on their 48 field goals, and their 127 points is the most a team has scored against the Wizards in a non-overtime game this season.

“It’s a disgrace to come in and play like this on our home floor, not just defensively but offensively,” said Wizards forward Antawn Jamison, who scored nine points and had three rebounds. “There comes a time when you just have to stop people.”

Jamison said the Suns, who won their 14th straight game, probably circled last night’s game on the calendar, looking for payback for their 144-139 overtime loss to the Wizards last month.

But Phoenix forward Shawn Marion said that was not the case for the Suns, who were playing the first of five games on this East Coast trip.

“No, no, no,” Marion said. “We were just thinking, let’s go out here and play our game. This is the first game on our long East Coast trip we’ve got; that’s what our mentality was. That game, I don’t want to go back there. That’s a game that’s in the past right now. It’s over, and we’re just trying to move forward and play our game.”

The Suns (33-8) also matched their best record at the season’s midpoint (1994-95).

For the Wizards (24-17), the loss ended their four-game winning streak and their Verizon Center franchise-record winning streak at 10. Washington was 19-22 at this point last season but still managed to reach the playoffs as the fifth seed.

Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards with 31 points, Caron Butler added 24 and reserve Antonio Daniels had a season-high 20.

The closest the Wizards came in the second half was when they cut the lead to 13 in the fourth quarter.

The Suns wasted no time in jumping all over the Wizards, killing the buzz that surrounded this game before some in the late-arriving crowd took their seats.

Phoenix shot 67.4 percent (29-for-43) in the first half. Perhaps even more amazing than the shooting percentage was that the Suns had assists on 23 of those baskets.

The Suns’ first quarter featured 41 points, the most any team has scored in the first against the Wizards this season, and in almost no time the Wizards found themselves buried under the weight of a double-digit deficit.

The Wizards trailed 41-20 at the end of the first, and Nash put the Suns ahead by an insurmountable margin of 60-31 with a 3-pointer with more than six minutes left in the first half.

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