Lopez twins square off, Suns beat Nets 118-94
The two 7-footers barely spoke to each other in their scrappy first head-to-head meeting as NBA starters Wednesday night. When it was over, Brook’s New Jersey Nets were losers—again—118-94 to the Phoenix Suns.
Brook had 26 points and 13 rebounds for New Jersey. Robin scored 20, establishing a career high for the second time in the two games since he became a starter.
“He did great,” Brook said. “He did exactly what he’s supposed to do— bring energy, bring effort. A few of his dunks gave them momentum and he does a lot of the hustle things.”
As for the lack of conversation?
“We were playing basketball,” Brook said. “We talked about it on the free throw line. That was a bit too friendly for us.”
Now that both are starters, Robin said, “this is good for me and Brook.”
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Robin said. “We’re just going to play hard.”
Jason Richardson(notes), coming off the bench for the second game in a row, scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help the Suns finally put away the Nets, who fell to 0-17 against the West.
“It’s tough,” Richardson said. “My whole career I’ve been a starter, besides probably the first four or five games of my rookie season. It’s just a different adjustment. You’ve got to get yourself going. When you come in, it’s kind of hard because you’ve been sitting on the bench. You’ve got to find a ways of scoring to just get involved in the game.”
Amare Stoudemire scored 27 for Phoenix on 10-of-15 shooting. Steve Nash(notes) added 12 points and 15 assists for the Suns, who were coming off an 0-4 road trip and happy to welcome the Nets, now 3-38, to town.
“We needed a win,” Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. “We needed it in the worst way.”
The Nets used an 18-4 run to take a 40-36 lead in front of a quiet crowd, but Nash and Lopez returned to the Suns lineup and Phoenix regained control.
Phoenix outscored New Jersey 10-3 over the final three minutes of the half to lead 56-49 at the break.
With Phoenix leading just 62-56, the Suns turned the ball over and Courtney Lee(notes) drove for a fast-break layup. But he was called for an offensive foul against Steve Nash. Nash responded with a 3-pointer and the Suns led 65-56 with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
Phoenix went on to build a 16-point lead over the next six minutes.
The Nets’ Lopez, who had 18 points in the second half, had five in a row to cut it to 11 with 13 seconds left in the third quarter, but Stoudemire sank a 20-footer with 0.6 seconds left to put the Suns ahead 90-77 entering the fourth.
“We had a small stretch where they broke it open but for three quarters I think we did what we wanted to,” Nets coach Kiki Vandeweghe said. “We had a couple minutes where we didn’t play well. The fourth quarter I think we ran out of gas.”
A 14-5 run gave Phoenix a 111-89 lead after Robin Lopez’s layup with 2:34 left. Stoudemire, who scored 13 in the third quarter on 5-of-6 shooting, played only two minutes in the fourth quarter and Nash not at all. ^NOTES: The Suns’ Grant Hill(notes) cut his chin in the third quarter, requiring four stitches. … Phoenix has lost 11 of its last 12 on the road but is 16-4 at home. … The game matched the NBA’s highest (Phoenix 109.7) and lowest (New Jersey 90.2) scoring teams. … Phoenix recalled rookie Taylor Griffin(notes) from Iowa of the NBA Development League. … The Suns’ Jarron Collins(notes) started against twin brother Jason three times, most recently Jan. 23, 2006.