- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - Jason Richardson scored 31 points against his former team, Shaquille O’Neal added 26, and the Phoenix Suns rang up the highest point total in the NBA this season in a 154-130 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.

Matt Barnes, another former Warriors player, added 20 points and a career-high 11 assists as the Suns ended a five-game losing streak on the road and a four-game skid at Golden State. Leandro Barbosa added 21 points and Jared Dudley and Steve Nash each had 11.

Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Corey Maggette added 21 for the Warriors, who had won their last two at home. Kelenna Azubuike scored 18 and Jamal Crawford had 17 as Golden State was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The Suns pulled within four games of the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth playoff spot with 15 games to play.

The Suns scored 46 third-quarter points, a season best for any period, aided by a series of free throws following technical fouls on the Warriors’ Stephen Jackson and coach Don Nelson. They took a 120-97 advantage into the final quarter.

Jackson picked up his second technical foul of the game with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter and was ejected from the contest. Nelson followed his star guard into the locker room 11 seconds later after getting his second technical foul.

Less than 24 hours after scoring 18 points in the first quarter of their victory over Oklahoma City, the Suns produced a season best for the first period with 42 against the Warriors.

The Warriors ended the second quarter on a 19-7 run over the final five minutes, but the Suns took a 74-72 lead into halftime.

Notes:@ Warriors C Andris Biedrins will miss at least a week with a sprained left ankle sustained in the first quarter of Friday night’s win over the Dallas Mavericks. … The Suns have produced four quarters of 40-plus points in their last 16 games after recording two in their first 51. … Jackson’s nine assists in the first half were the most in a half for the Warriors. … Crawford recorded his fifth 4-point play in the first quarter, and the 16th of his career. … Richardson shot 73.3 percent from the field.

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