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Nets-Suns Preview

Nets-Suns Preview
Without Steve Nash on the court, the Phoenix Suns were completely out of sync and suffered an embarrassing home loss.

The expected return of Nash should help the Suns get back on track, and a home game against the New Jersey Nets probably won't hurt, either.

Nash looks to lead Phoenix to its 15th straight win over the Nets on Sunday at US Airways Center.

The Suns (11-6) played without Nash in Friday's 107-92 loss to Miami. The two-time league MVP was sidelined with a right thigh contusion, sustained Wednesday in a collision with Minnesota rookie Kevin Love. In Nash's absence, Phoenix had difficulty controlling the ball.

The Suns committed 14 first-half turnovers - one more than they had in the entirety of Wednesday's 110-102 win over the Timberwolves - and finished with 19. Phoenix also dropped to 0-5 when scoring 96 points or fewer, compared to an 11-1 record when scoring 97 or more.

"We never really could get in the flow," said Shaquille O'Neal, who had 12 points and nine rebounds. "In the first eight possessions, we had six turnovers. Once we get rid of our turnover problems on a consistent basis, we'll be all right. We've been very careless with the ball."

Nash is averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 assists in his last three games - all wins for Phoenix - and his return should help the Suns' uptempo offense return to form.

The six-time All-Star had 12 points and 11 assists in Phoenix's 114-86 victory over the Nets (8-7) on Nov. 4, still the Suns' most lopsided win of the season.

Phoenix has defeated New Jersey five straight times, and in nine of the last 10 meetings. The Suns have also won 14 straight home games against the Nets since a 124-93 loss on March 13, 1993.

Nash is averaging 24.0 points and 9.3 assists in four career games against New Jersey at US Airways Center, while Amare Stoudemire is averaging 29.5 points and 9.5 rebounds at home versus the Nets.

The Nets won 105-88 at Utah on Saturday to improve to 2-1 entering the finale of their annual Thanksgiving road trip. New Jersey has won four of its last five road games overall.

Devin Harris led the way for the Nets Saturday, scoring 34 points, going 13-for-17 from the field and dishing out six assists.

"It's what I do best: Attacking the basket, getting to the lane and creating some havoc," said Harris, who is averaging 27.2 points in his last five road games. "I was able to get some shots going early, it kind of got me into a rhythm and it carried on into the second half."

Harris didn't have much luck against Phoenix earlier this month, though, as he finished with a season-low 11 points while shooting 2-for-11.

Vince Carter finished with 19 points in the loss to the Suns this season. He had just 10 points in last season's 116-92 loss at Phoenix on Jan. 20.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2008


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