Steve Nash scored 21 points and made 20 assists as the Phoenix Suns continued their fine start to the season with a 119-115 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Jason Richardson top-scored with 29 points as the Suns (7-1) overcame an eight-point deficit in the final quarter to move clear of the LA Lakers, who were not in action, at the top of the NBA's Western Conference.
Andre Iguodala led the way for the 76ers with 24 points while Marreese Speights chipped in with 20 as Philadelphia fell to 3-4. The Suns, who failed to make the play-offs last year, trailed the 76ers 102-94 with 7:07 remaining but rallied to post their third consecutive victory. "It's a great start to the season for us," Nash said after posting his first 20-20 game since the 2005-06 season. Nash leads the league in assists and he tied his season-high of 20 on Monday, which was two off his career best.
Jared Dudley scored 13 of his 18 points off the bench in the final quarter, where he made three of Phoenix's 15 three-pointers. With the game tied at 108-108, Richardson scored the next five points to give the Suns a comfortable cushion and Nash made six straight free throws down the stretch to seal the game. The Suns finished their five-game Eastern Conference road trip with four wins while the 76ers were losing for the third time in four games.
In other NBA action, Manu Ginobili scored 36 points without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in the line-up as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Toronto Raptors 131-124. Richard Jefferson had 24 and George Hill added 22 for San Antonio, while Chris Bosh netted 32 points and nine rebounds for Toronto. Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko each scored 23 points as the Utah Jazz won at Madison Square Garden for the first time in more than five years, beating the New York Knicks 95-93.
Mehmet Okur hit what proved to be the decisive basket with 1:16 left in the game and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz. The New Orleans Hornets bounced back from a 16-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers as they cruised to a dominant 112-84 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul had 24 points and 10 assists and Devin Brown scored 25 points for the Hornets, who had the game all but won by the end of the third quarter as they led by 31 points.
Kelenna Azubuike scored a season-high 31 points and Anthony Randolph added 23 to help the Oakland Warriors beat the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves 146-105 and rack up their biggest win in more than a year. Stephen Jackson had 10 points and a career-high 15 assists and Monte Ellis had 18 points with 10 rebounds for the Warriors, while Al Jefferson scored 18 points for Minnesota, who lost for the seventh successive game.
* With agencies