NBA Game Summary - Utah at Phoenix
(Wednesday, March 25th)
Final Score: Phoenix 118, Utah 114
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Grant Hill made the go-ahead jumper with 31.5 seconds left and finished with 26 points, as the Phoenix Suns edged the Utah Jazz, 118-114.
Matt Barnes added 21 points and nine rebounds, and sealed the game with two free throws with 4.1 seconds left, as Phoenix won its season-high sixth consecutive game and continued its late-season playoff push. The Suns remained three games behind Dallas, which also won Wednesday, for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"It was a big win for us," Hill said. "Utah, since the All-Star break, has been playing very well. We need every game. It wasn't pretty, but we went out there and fought. It was a very physical game, but the officials let us play and we did what we had to do."
Jason Richardson also finished with 21 points for the Suns. Steve Nash had 12 points and 14 assists, and moved past Maurice Cheeks into ninth place on the career assists list. Nash now has 7,397 as he vaulted past Cheeks (7,392). Shaquille O'Neal had 12 points, 12 boards and five assists for the Suns.
Deron Williams had 25 points and 10 assists to pace Utah, which fell into a tie with Portland for the sixth playoff seed. Both the Jazz and Trail Blazers are 1 1/2 games behind Denver for first place in the Northwest Division.
Mehmet Okur had 15 points and 12 boards in the loss, while Carlos Boozer contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds. Ronnie Brewer scored 17 for Utah.
"We didn't win the ballgame," Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan said. "But I thought we had some moments where we played pretty hard. They have some tough matchups for you. When they put that smaller lineup out there, it's really difficult to guard with a big guy."
In a close game down the stretch, Utah's Kyle Korver drilled a three with 1:50 left to tie the game at 112. On the Suns' next possession, Barnes used a spin move on the left side of the court to get to the hoop, sinking a layup to put Phoenix up two.
After several misses from each team, Brewer forced another tie by getting a baseline jumper to fall. After a timeout with 44.8 seconds left, the Suns turned to Hill, whose fall-back jumper in the lane again put them ahead by a basket.
Utah called a timeout with 27.3 seconds left, and a similar shot from Williams missed. But the Jazz kept the ball after grabbing the rebound, and Okur drove to the high lane for a shot -- but the awkward, off-balance attempt didn't even hit the rim. Barnes went to the line in the final seconds and made both attempts to wrap up the win for Phoenix.
The Suns led 32-31 after a tight first quarter, and went ahead 46-40 midway through the second after a five-point burst. But Utah countered with seven consecutive points to go in front.
Boozer's layup capped another seven-point run late in the frame, which helped the Jazz take a 58-52 lead at the break.
"We looked at each other a couple of times and said, 'Where the hell are they getting this energy from?' Because they were running us," Barnes said. "We usually don't get tired in games, and there were a few times they had us with our tongues out. They fought a hard-fought game, but we wanted this game more."
Shortly into the third quarter, Barnes sank two successive layups, the second being a three-point play, to tie the game at 61. The teams traded baskets until the Suns ended the stanza with seven points to take an 89-83 lead to the fourth.
Down six early in the final quarter, Utah used an eight-point run to go back on top. Okur capped it with a three-pointer for a 97-95 Jazz lead with eight minutes remaining, and the contest was back-and-forth the rest of the way.
Goran Dragic added 11 points and Louis Amundson 10 for Phoenix...Korver made 5-of-8 three-pointers and finished with 15 points...Paul Millsap had 13 points and seven boards in the loss...Utah made 45.3 percent of its shots, including 12-of-22 from three-point range...Phoenix shot 54.9 percent from the field...Each team had 27 free throw attempts. The Suns made 22, while the Jazz sank only 16.
03/26 03:29:57 ET