PHOENIX (AP)—The Phoenix Suns were in a funk and awash in trade rumors. A victory over Golden State made them feel a little better, at least for now.
Grant Hill scored a season-high 27 points and the Suns pulled away in the final 3 1/2 minutes Friday night to beat the Warriors 115-105.
“It’s been a trying week, a trying couple of weeks,” Hill said. “But I think it was important for us to come out and get a win despite all the speculation that’s going on and all the negativity. We came out and played together and played hard and did what we had to do.”
Jason Richardson scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half as the Suns defeated the Warriors two nights after losing at Golden State 124-112. All-Star starter Amare Stoudemire, the main subject of trade speculation, added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the winners.
“It was tough,” Stoudemire said. “I think once the ball goes up, everything is put aside. You get totally ready for the game, you get focused for the game and what takes place on the court. But beforehand it’s a little tough and frustrating—everything is coming at me at once.”
Phoenix had lost eight of 12 going into the contest and blew most of an 11-point fourth-quarter lead before Steve Nash put the game away with six points in the final 1:25. Nash had 19 points and eight assists.
“It’s never easy to hear trade talk and rumors about teammates and stuff,” Nash said, “but I think everyone has faced that in their career, and you just have to keep fighting and root for each other.”
Coach Terry Porter called it “a solid win.”
“We did a good job of moving the ball offensively, getting attempts at the basket, and had a good mix of things,” he said. “I just thought defensively we did a much better job of taking the challenge and really making those guys work for everything that they had at the offensive end.”
With his first basket, which didn’t come until the second quarter because of foul trouble, the Suns’ Shaquille O’Neal became the seventh player in NBA history to score 27,000 points. O’Neal scored 12 points before fouling out with 1:17 to play.
Andris Biedrins had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State before leaving with a sprained right ankle with 6:23 left in the third quarter. X-rays were negative. Jamal Crawford added 17 points and Monta Ellis 15 for the Warriors.
“We stopped playing defense,” Crawford said. “Our defense was terrible at the end of the game. They played better `D’ on us than they did last game, but I think our defense was way worse than what it was the night we beat them.”
The Warriors’ Kelenna Azubuike was scoreless and took three shots in just under 15 minutes.
“I didn’t see him. Did you see him?” coach Don Nelson said. “He was missing in action.”
Richardson scored 10 points in a 2 1/2 -minute span late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. His 3-pointer with 10:11 to play put the Suns ahead 93-89.
Hill—who finished 12-of-17 shooting—capped a 13-3 run with an inside basket to put the Suns ahead 103-92 with 6:19 remaining.
Golden State, though, scored the next nine on two three-point plays and a 3-pointer by Jackson. Maggette’s three-point play cut the lead to 103-101 with 4:27 to go.
The Warriors scored the first nine points of the second half to take their first lead of the game. Biedrins converted a three-point play, then followed with a layup to put Golden State ahead 63-59. The Warriors twice led by five in the third, but Phoenix was up 86-85 entering the fourth quarter.
The other six players to score 27,000 points were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes. … Friday was the first anniversary of the trade that brought O’Neal to the Suns. … Nash turns 35 on Saturday. … Nash needs four assists to pass Lenny Wilkens into 10th on the NBA career assists list. … The home team has won nine consecutive games in the series. … The Suns took only four 3-pointers and made two, both by Richardson.