Steve Nash had 29 points and nine assists, then sat out the fourth quarter Friday night and watched his Phoenix Suns gain ground in their last-ditch playoff drive by beating the Sacramento Kings 139-111.
The Suns' seventh straight home victory, combined with Dallas' 107-102 loss at Memphis, left Phoenix three games behind the Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the West with six to play. The Suns are at Dallas on Sunday.
Francisco Garcia scored a season-best 29 for the Kings, who beat
Phoenix last Sunday in Sacramento. The Kings were without leading
scorer Kevin Martin, who sat out with a sprained left ankle two nights after scoring a career-high 50 in Sacramento's 143-141 loss to Golden State.
Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes had career highs with 23 and 22
points, respectively. Jason Richardson scored 19 for Phoenix.
Leandro Barbosa, back after missing seven games with a bruised left knee, scored 15, 10 in the fourth quarter. Jared Dudley also had 15 for Phoenix, including a career-best four 3-pointers.
The Suns led by as many as 15 in the first half but were up only by four at the break. Then the Kings scored the first four points of the third quarter to tie it at 69.
Phoenix - 5-of-6 on 3s in the third quarter - responded with a 14-0 run. Shaquille O'Neal scored the first five, including a three-point play, then the Suns made three straight 3-pointers - two by Richardson and one by Matt Barnes - and Phoenix led 83-69 with 7:27 left in the quarter.
Louis Amundson's inside basket put the Suns ahead 106-91 with 8.9 seconds to go in the third. Bobby Jackson sank a 22-footer at the third-quarter buzzer for the Kings but was called for a technical foul as he walked off the court.
Barbosa made the subsequent free throw to start the fourth quarter and the Suns led 107-93.
A 14-4 run, capped by Dudley's 3, put Phoenix ahead 120-97 with 9:22 left. Barbosa scored six in the spurt, including a three-point play after his steal.
Nash had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting and four assists as Phoenix took a 39-25 lead after one quarter.
The Suns went cold in the second quarter, and a 9-1 run by the Kings cut the lead to 60-58 on Jackson's 3-pointer with 2:11 left in the half. Nash sank a pair of jumpers, one a 3-pointer, and Robin Lopez scored four to help the Suns hold on for a 69-65 halftime lead.
Nash has 85 points and 40 assists in his last three games.
The Suns are 8-1 against sub-.500 teams since Alvin Gentry became coach. The one loss was at Sacramento.
Sacramento has scored 100 points in six of its last seven games.
The Suns have beaten the Kings seven times in a row in Phoenix.
The Suns tied a season-high with 14 3s, in 26 attempts.