Nash, Suns show Bucks there is no place like home
Steve Nash scored 26 of his season-high 35 points in the second half and the Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks in Phoenix for the 20th consecutive time, 122-114, on Saturday night.
Nash was 11-of-13 shooting, 4-of-5 of them 3s, in the final two quarters, showing no effect from the stomach flu that had kept him out of Thursday night’s loss in Utah. Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and Boris Diaw, starting while Grant Hill recovers from an appendectomy, had a season-best 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Andrew Bogut made 14-of-16 shots, all near the basket, for a career-best 29 points to lead the Bucks, who were playing one night after losing 110-105 against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Michael Redd added 18 points but on 5-of-16 shooting in his first start in six games.
Redd sat out five with a deep thigh bruise, then came off the bench against the Lakers. Charlie Bell also scored 18 and Bobby Simmons for the Bucks, who lost despite shooting 56 percent.
The Suns shot 57 percent in a game that featured little defense.
The Bucks were up by as many as 10 points and led 68-61 after a first half. But Phoenix outscored the Milwaukee 35-18 in the third quarter, finishing it with a 13-3 run to lead 96-86 entering the fourth.
Milwaukee hasn’t won in Phoenix since Feb. 21,, 1987.
But this one was no blowout.
The Bucks cut the lead to 100-94 on Royal Ivey’s 13-footer with 9:22 left, but Nash, Stoudemire and Raja Bell returned to the game. Nash made a 19-footer, Stoudemire a 7-foot runner and Nash a 3-pointer, boosting Phoenix’s lead to 109-98.
Milwaukee sliced it to 116-111 when Redd made two free throws with 2:39 to go, then Nash’s 15-footer put Phoenix ahead by seven 1:38 from the finish. Charlie Bell’s 3-pointer cut it to 118-114 with 56 seconds left, and the Bucks had a chance to get closer, but Raja Bell blocked Redd’s shot.
Bell and Nash put it away with a pair of free throws apiece.
Milwaukee outscored Phoenix 21-7 to go up 60-50 on Bogut’s dunk with 2:38 left in the first half.
The Bucks shot 62 percent, 8-of-14 from 3-point range, while taking a 68-61 halftime lead.
Stoudemire scored 21 in the first half, 16 on 8-for-9 shooting in the first quarter. His only miss in the first was a 3-pointer.
But Bogut faced even less resistance, scoring 17 in the first half on 8-of-8 shooting. Bobby Simmons scored 15 in the half, making 7-of-9 shots.