He more than filled the job description on a night when he was sorely needed.
House made seven of 11 3-point attempts en route to a career-high 31 points and the Suns handed the Utah Jazz their fourth straight loss Friday night.
“It was just going down tonight. It felt good,” House said. “What’s more important than what I did is we needed a win bad, man, especially at home.”
The Suns, winners at home for just the second time in six games, blew the game open with a 19-4 outburst late in the third quarter and into the fourth.
“We struggled finding points and struggled playing well,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Eddie, Leandro and Pat Burke, they all gave us some energy and life.”
Barbosa scored 18 points. Diaw and former Jazz player Raja Bell added 12 apiece for Phoenix, which finished its home stand 2-3.
House, who once scored 61 points in a game for Arizona State, had 17 points in 14 minutes in the first half. He left with 25 seconds to go in the half with a mild ankle sprain, but came back to rally the Suns after Utah had cut Phoenix’s lead to one at 66-65 when Devin Brown made one of two free throws with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
“I thought it was hurt more than what it was,” House said. “When I came back here in the locker room for a second and moved around, the pain went away. I just re-taped it and came back out.”
House finished 11-for-16 from the field. His previous career best was 28 points for Miami against Orlando on April 12, 2002.
“We never got close to being able to get him at the 3-point line,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “He was wide open and he had some kind of game.”
Steve Nash, who had six points and 10 assists, was on the bench for the decisive run. Fellow All-Star Shawn Marion had 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting and with seven rebounds failed to get a double-double for the first time this season.
“Some of our main guys are struggling with their shot, they’re struggling with not playing well,” D’Antoni said, “and when that happens, you’re not going to be a work of art. Luckily, the bench has been coming in and doing a great job.”
“It seemed like every time we were getting a little closer, it was another 3, another 3,” Humphries said. “They just spread you out so well and move the ball so well. That’s something we need to do is make the extra pass like they do.”
Before House came on, it was an ugly game between two struggling teams. After Brown’s three-point play put Utah up 24-22, House’s 20-footer ignited a 15-4 Phoenix run. House scored 10 in the surge, including two 3-pointers. Boris Diaw’s stuff capped the outburst to put the Suns ahead 38-28 with 5:05 left in the half.
House’s fourth 3-pointer of the half—in six attempts—gave Phoenix a 43-33 lead, but Utah outscored the Suns 9-4 the rest of the quarter to cut the lead to 47-42 at the break.
Jazz point guard Keith McLeod missed his third straight game with back spasms. … There were 15 turnovers in the first quarter, nine by Utah. … Jazz guard Gordan Giricek, out with tonsillitis the past two games, started and scored seven points. … The seldom-used Burke played 16 strong minutes with six points, four rebounds and three assists for Phoenix.