Phoenix (36-10) at Memphis (26-20)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Feb 1, 2005
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With Steve Nash leading the way, the Phoenix Suns look to avenge a recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and remain perfect on their season-high six-game road trip.

The league’s highest-scoring offense is surging since a season-high six-game losing streak.

The Suns played most of those games without Nash, who averages an NBA-best 11 assists per game. He missed 3 1/2 games with a thigh contusion and back spasms, including an 88-79 defeat at home to Memphis on Jan. 19.

Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello knew he caught Phoenix at the right time, holding the Suns to season lows in points and field-goal shooting (33 percent) without its floor leader. The Suns, who lead the league with 109.7 points per game, averaged just 87.3 and 37 percent shooting in three games without their star point guard.

“You can’t be without an All-Star player like Steve Nash, who is such a vital part of what they do, and expect to play the same way,” Fratello said after last month’s win over the Suns.

Nash has returned and Phoenix has quickly recovered to win five straight, scoring 123.6 points and shooting 53 percent from the field in that span.

Amare Stoudemire had 27 points and Shawn Marion added 21 and 17 rebounds as Phoenix beat Toronto 123-105 on Sunday.

Nash had 19 points and 12 assists as all five Phoenix starters scored at least 17 points. The 6-foot-3 Canadian didn’t play in the fourth after helping the Suns to a 104-72 lead after three. Phoenix outscored Toronto 46-26 in the third, the most points against the Raptors in any quarter in their 10-year history.

“I feel great. I only had a half day at work,” said Nash, who posted his 25th double-double and his 30th game with at least 10 assists.

“When we get into the open court it’s very difficult to contain us, so we have breakout quarters like that. It was certainly one to remember, maybe one of my best.”

The Suns, who also beat New York, Milwaukee and Boston, improved to 4-0 on their trip, but will face their first opponent with a winning record.

The Grizzlies posted a franchise-best 12-3 record in January after a 98-91 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Monday.

Lorenzen Wright had a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds and Stromile Swift added 19 points for Memphis, which is 21-9 since Fratello took over for Hubie Brown on Dec. 2.

Jason Williams scored 14 points and Mike Miller, coming off two recent concussions, added 13 before sitting out most of the second half after a couple of hard collisions. The Grizzlies are already without starting forwards James Posey (Achilles’) and Pau Gasol (foot).

Memphis, which is allowing just 90.8 points per game, opens a three-game homestand hoping to extend a four-game win streak at the FedEx Forum.

The Suns have won 12 of the last 17 meetings with the Grizzlies, and lead the all-time series 29-8.

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