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Nash puts up season-high 30

PHOENIX (AP) -- Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns got the best of
Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets in a matchup of perhaps the best
two point guards in the NBA.

Amare Stoudemire scored 33 points on 13-for-16 shooting, and
Nash had a season-high 30 points Sunday night to lead Phoenix to a
113-105 victory over the Nets, snapping the Suns' six-game losing
streak.

"It seemed kind of unnatural for us to be on a six-game losing
streak this year," Stoudemire said. "But I knew it was a matter
of time for us to get back to where we were. We've just got to stay
focused, and keep up the good work."

Nash, playing his second game after missing 3½ games because of
thigh and back injuries, was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and had nine
assists.

"It didn't feel like a season high," Nash said. "I just kind
of picked my spots and had a really good rhythm from 3 tonight. It
was nice to make some shots because we didn't really have our legs
under us tonight or play our best."

Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni thought it was an uneven
performance.

"Spots of good basketball, but just spots," he said. "We have
to get more consistent."

Vince Carter scored 32 points, and Kidd had 23 points, eight
rebounds and eight assists for the Nets, who did not arrive in
Phoenix until 10 a.m. because of the blizzard in the Northeast.
They had their season-best three-game winning streak snapped in the
first of five in a row on the road.

Nets coach Lawrence Frank understands how important Nash is to
the Suns.

"Jason and him are just elite point guards," Frank said. "You
can see the difference in our team with Jason back, and the people
in Phoenix have seen what the Suns are with or without Steve Nash.
Those guys, they're priceless. They just make everybody better."

Stoudemire made his first eight shots and 13 of 14 before
missing two in a row in the fourth quarter.

Quentin Richardson scored 20 points, including 5-of-10 on 3s,
for Phoenix. Joe Johnson added 15 points, and Shawn Marion had 10
points and 13 rebounds. Rodney Buford scored 16 points for the
Nets, but was 1-of-7 in the second half.

Phoenix blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 128-123
overtime loss to San Antonio on Friday night, and lost most of a
15-point second-half advantage Sunday.

"I don't think we fully have our confidence back," Nash said.
"They're a veteran team too and made some big plays. But we're
just still trying to build our confidence again and get our rhythm
again."

The Suns, who leave Monday for a season-high six-game road trip,
made five 3-pointers, two apiece for Nash and Richardson, in a 19-2
outburst that erased a five-point deficit and made it 76-64 with
6:02 to go in the third quarter. The run reached 20-4 on
Stoudemire's inside power move that made it 80-66 with 5:44 left in
the period.

"When we get one of those runs going," Richardson said, "it
can be real exciting."

Richardson's third 3-pointer of the quarter gave the Suns an
86-71 lead with 1:38 left. But Kidd sank a pair from long range,
one of them for 3, to cut it to 89-78 going into the fourth
quarter.

"They have shooters everywhere," Kidd said. "In the third
quarter, they caught fire and that's when they separated themselves,
but we didn't quit."

New Jersey scored the first seven in the fourth quarter and was
down only 89-85 after Buford sank two of three free throws with
10:15 to play. Phoenix scored the next eight, four by Nash, to make
it 97-85 with 7:31 remaining.

Kidd made three free throws, then hit a 22-footer, to cut it to
97-92 with 6:21 left, but Nash scored on a drive, then threw a
perfect fast-break bounce pass to Stoudemire for a stuff.
Stoudemire was fouled, and converted the three-point play to boost
the lead to 102-92 with 5:47 to play.

New Jersey cut the lead to six late in the game but could get no
closer.

Jim Jackson, in his first game for the Suns and first anywhere
in nearly a month, scored two points on 1-for-3 shooting and drew
five fouls in 17 minutes.

Game notes
The Suns made 15 of 30 3-pointers. ... All 10 starters
reached double figures. ... With Nash's game, all five Phoenix
starters have had at least one 30-point game. ... Phoenix re-signed
forward Paul Shirley on Sunday. He was waived just before the
season began. ... Frank drew a technical in the third quarter for
charging on the court after consecutive blocked shots by Marion and
Steven Hunter.