PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Boris Diaw dished the ball like a point guard and grabbed rebounds like a power forward.
“He’s been good all year, but particularly tonight,” Nash said of Diaw. “He’s playing with guys who are unselfish and move the ball, so he’s able to highlight what he can do.”
The Sixers, who fell one game behind New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division, were without Allen Iverson for the third straight game.
Iverson, second in the NBA in scoring at 33.6 points per game, sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter against Orlando last Thursday.
“It’s tough to play against them because you don’t want to run-and-gun like them,” Salmons said. “They control the tempo so well, it’s hard to contain them and play their style of basketball.”
Diaw, a reserve in his first two seasons with Atlanta who was projected to be a backup point guard in training camp, has emerged as a solid frontline presence for the Suns. The third-year pro has started at power forward and center, helping replace the injured Amare Stoudemire.
“I just give the ball to my teammates and they make it,” Diaw said of the assists. “It’s that simple.”
Bell, back in the lineup after missing his first game of the season with a calf injury, had 15 points in the first half. A fifth-year pro who went to the NBA Finals with Philadelphia in 2001, Bell played just 25 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter.
“He has been playing at an All-Star level,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said of Bell.
Webber missed 16 of 22 shots as the Sixers suffered their worst home loss of the season.
“The way they play, most people say you can’t win that way, but that’s how they play and they have one of the smartest point guards (Nash) in the league,” Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. “They play aggressive, offensive basketball.”
The Suns outscored Philadelphia 15-6 over the final 5:14 of the second quarter to take a 60-45 lead at halftime. Nash and Bell hit consecutive 3s to start the run, giving Phoenix a double-digit lead it never relinquished.
Nash scored on a driving layup and hit a free throw to complete a three-point play that gave the Suns an 84-64 lead late in the third quarter and Phoenix took a 19-point lead into the fourth.
A thunderous dunk by Diaw brought the entire Suns bench to its feet and sent most of the fans home midway through the fourth as Phoenix extended its lead to 103-81. Most of the Suns starters watched the reserves play the rest of the way.
The Sixers, who came in tied for the fourth-worst defense in the NBA, allowed at least 100 points for the 27th time in 45 games. Even with Kevin Ollie, a better defender than Iverson, on the floor, the Sixers allowed Phoenix to shoot 58.1 percent.
: The Sixers are 8-19 when allowing more than 100 points. … Philadelphia is 13-8 against the Western Conference. … The Suns complete their season-long six-game road trip in Boston on Wednesday night. … Phoenix is 14-5 against the East. … Sixers rookie Louis Williams scored a career-best nine points in a career-high 16 minutes. … Phoenix swept the season series and has won 10 of the last 14 meetings.