Excellent Free Throw Shooting Leads Suns Over Nets, 118-109

The Suns made 35 free throws and defeated the Nets on Wednesday evening. Steve Nash made all 11 of his attempts.

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Nash Leads Five Suns In Double Figures As Suns Rally For Win

Some say games like these are the kind that can energize a team, bring it together and start off a run of victories or at least more success.

With these Suns, you never know. And to be fair, this was the lowly New Jersey Nets. Except U.S. Airways Center was really starting to turn on the hometown team as the Suns couldn't hit shots to start the third quarter and fell behind by 12.

They rallied, only to fall behind by 12 again, and then 11 at the end of the third. With 10 minutes, 45 seconds to go in the game, Sasha Boo-jajic (Vujacic, he of the hated Lakers last season) hit a three, and the Suns looked finished, down 90-75.

Then the Nets began to miss, the pressure on defense began to take a toll, and the Suns began to rally. Phoenix scored 11 unanswered points, then took a 93-92 lead with 3:43 left in the game on two Jared Dudley free throws. Dudley, Channing Frye and Steve Nash excelled down the stretch, scoring 21 of the Suns' 30 points in the quarter. 

Nash hit a runner with 23.1 seconds left to play in regulation that gave the Suns a 103-101 lead. But Kris Humphries dunked seven seconds later, setting up overtime.

The Suns gave up a Vujacic three, but dominated thereafter. Nash gave the Suns a 109-106 lead with two of his eight OT free throws, then Vince Carter, who scored a Suns career high with 23 points, tipped in a miss as the shot clock expired to give the Suns a five-point lead. 

The Nets had nothing left.

Nash made some history. He made all 11 of his free throws and passed Mark Price (former Cleveland Cav) in career free-throw percentage, rounded up to 90.40 percent to Price's 90.39. Nash, who had 16 assists with his 23 points, has now made 48 free throws in a row and is six away from his single-season record of 54. 

The big matchup of the night between the Lopez brothers (Suns' Robin and Nets' Brook) went to Brook. He's just better with a smoother touch and more agile feet. Brook scored 16 points, but Robin outplayed his brother in the first half and ended up with 11. The brothers went at each other on a few occasions, and Robin was clearly the more animated. He glided in for a running hook shot with 8:37 left in the second quarter, going back door with his brother too late to recover on defense, and smiled going back on defense.

The Suns couldn't afford to let this game slip away, and it almost did. The defense didn't pick up until it was almost too late, the Nets got a lot of easy baskets early, and the offense almost completely slumbered with its third-quarter start. Fortunately for the Suns, these were the 10-28 Nets. They let them back in the game with their own misses and errors. 


Reeling Suns Face Nets, Attempt To Find Misplaced Chemistry, Heart, Offense; 7 P.M. AZT

(Sports Network) - On the brink of remaking their entire franchise, the New Jersey Nets will kick off a four-game western road trip in the desert tonight against the Phoenix Suns.

The Nets have been in deep negotiations to pick up All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver in a blockbuster three-team deal, but all the speculation to this point remains just that as New Jersey begins a tough trek that will also include visits to the LA Lakers, Portland and Golden State.

The Nets lost for the seventh time in eight games on Saturday in Newark when Chris Douglas-Roberts celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring a game-high 24 points off the bench, as the Milwaukee Bucks trounced New Jersey, 115-92.

Douglas-Roberts, who spent his two previous NBA seasons with the Nets, also dished out four assists and grabbed three steals.

Kris Humphries led the Nets with 22 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role. Jordan Farmar scored 20 and dished out a game-high 10 assists for New Jersey, which has dropped two straight and six consecutive to Milwaukee.

"They were small out there tonight and we couldn't make them pay inside the paint," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We get the ball in the paint and we don't finish. Offensively tonight we couldn't get anything going and it put a strain on our defense."

Devin Harris (right quad contusion) and Troy Murphy (virus), who have both been rumored as part of any deal, sat out against Milwaukee. Murphy did not make the trip out West but Harris is expected back in the lineup tonight.

The Suns, meanwhile, are just happy they will not have to face Anthony on consecutive nights. The All-Star notched a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds on Tuesday in the Rockies as the Nuggets throttled Phoenix, 132-98, at the Pepsi Center.

Vince Carter and Steve Nash both finished with 15 points for the Suns, who have dropped three of four and eight of 11 since their six-player trade with Orlando on December 18.

Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic and Channing Frye each finished with 11 points as Phoenix struggled without veteran swingman Grant Hill, who is out with a sprained right knee.

"It seemed like we stopped believing, but we play tomorrow night," Nash said. "We have to come out and feel good about ourselves again."

Phoenix swept the home-and-home series with the Nets a year ago and has won seven of eight overall in this series.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. local time and will be broadcast on My45 locally. Bright Side of the Sun will host a live game thread for all your panicking needs, gnashing of teeth and wild trade ideas, BSOTS will not provide paper bags for hyperventilation but will provide a virtual shoulder to cry upon.

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