Nuggets Falter in Phoenix; Lose 3rd Straight

PHOENIX - (AP) Steve Nash scored eight straight points in the final 3 minutes and the Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets for the eighth straight time at home, 108-101 on Saturday night.

Nash's first big basket gave the Suns a 101-98 lead. After Chauncey Billups tied it with a 3-pointer, Nash connected on two 3-pointers, giving Phoenix a 107-101 lead. A free throw by Shaquille O'Neal completed the scoring.

Nash finished with 16 points and 11 assists. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 27 points and 10 rebounds -- his 10th game in a row with at least 20 points. O'Neal had 19 points and nine rebounds, Jason Richardson also scored 19, and Grant Hill had 11.

Hill also did a strong job on Carmelo Anthony, holding the Nuggets' leading scorer to 10 points -- 11 below his average.

Reserve JR Smith topped the Nuggets with 23 points.

Nene added 20 points and 15 rebounds for Denver, Billups had 18 points and eight assists, Kenyon Martin scored 13 points, and Linas Kleiza had 10.

The loss dropped the Nuggets to 17-10 and into a tie with idle Portland for first place in the Northwest Division.

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