- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 26, 2009

PHOENIX (AP) - Grant Hill scored 26 points, including a tiebreaking jumper in the lane with 31.5 seconds remaining, to lift the Phoenix Suns to their season-high sixth straight victory, 118-114 over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The win kept the Suns three games behind the Dallas Mavericks in their push for the eighth and final playof spot in the Western Conference. Each team has 11 games left, with one game between the teams April 5 at Dallas.

The loss dropped the Jazz 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Denver Nuggets in the Northwest Division.

Matt Barnes, with 18 points in the second half, and Jason Richardson each had 21 points for the Suns. Steve Nash scored 12 and had 14 assists, while Shaquille O’Neal had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Deron Williams led Utah with 25 points and 10 assists. Ronnie Brewer scored 17, Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver each added 15 points, and Carlos Boozer 14.

The score was tied at 114 when Hill made his critical fadeaway 9-foot shot. After Utah missed two field goal attempts, Barnes completed the scoring with two free throws.

Utah now is 0-9 on the road against Western Conference playoff teams on the road and 14-21 overall away from home.

The Jazz trailed for most of the first half, but used an 18-6 spurt over the final 6 minutes of the second quarter to seize a 58-52 halftime advantage. Williams, with six points, and Kirilenko, with five, sparked the Jazz’s late run.

Williams finished the half with 13 points and Boozer had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz. Richardson, who hit his first six shots, led the Suns with 15 and Hill had 14.

Utah, which generally plays a slowdown half-court game, showed no hesitation in running with the fast-breaking Suns, moving the ball upcourt crisply and efficiently. They also converted eight offensive rebounds into 11 points and hit five 3-pointers. On the defensive end, they often double-teamed O’Neal and limited him to four shots and five points, and held Nash to six points on 2-for-7 shooting.

Each team had a big run in the third quarter. The Suns, spurred by nine points by Barnes, opened with a 15-4 burst and took a 67-64 lead. The Jazz responded with an 11-4 spree, capped by a 3-pointer by Kyle Korver, and regained the advantage, 73-71. Utah extended its margin to 78-71 before the Suns had the final run, 18-5, and led 89-83 entering the fourth period.

Notes:@ Nash’s ninth assist of the game and the 7,393rd of his career, enabled him to pass Maurice Cheeks for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time list. … Utah has had a total of 142 games missed because of injuries; last year the Jazz had only 42. … The Jazz’s top three scorers _ Williams, Boozer and Okur _ didn’t appear in the same game this season until Feb. 23. … Phoenix is 7-0 against sub-.500 teams under Alvin Gentry. … The Suns are the only team in the league shooting better than 50 percent from the field. … Bart Starr, the former Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame quarterback, was a courtside spectator.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide