PHOENIX (AP) -- Steve Nash had a triple-double, Quentin
Richardson set team records for 3-point shooting and the Phoenix
Suns clinched their first Pacific Division title in 10 years by
beating the Philadelphia 76ers 116-87 Wednesday night.
But an injury to Chris Webber could be the 76ers' biggest concern.
Webber injured his left shoulder, saying he ignored an inner voice that told him to sit out the
Sixers coach Jim O'Brien described the injury as a strain, while
Webber said it was a dislocation. He was to be re-examined when the
team arrived back in Philadelphia.
"I would just say you should always listen to the doctor,"
said Webber, who had 12 points and six rebounds before leaving the
game 2:31 into the third quarter. "He told me at halftime, 'Do not
go back in.' "
Webber said he "tweaked" his surgically repaired left knee in
the first half, but felt compelled to play after Phoenix took a
65-41 halftime lead. The 6-foot-10 forward joined the Sixers on
Feb. 24 in a trade that sent Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas and
Corliss Williamson to Sacramento.
Nash, who played only 27 minutes, had a career-high 13 rebounds
to go with 12 points and 12 assists. The stylish point guard drew a
loud ovation with his 10th assist, a pass to Steven Hunter for a
dunk that put Phoenix ahead 77-58 with 5:07 left in the third
Richardson broke Dan Majerle's franchise records for 3-pointers
and 3-point attempts, set in 1994-95. Richardson went 4-for-11 from
deep to finish with 201 made in 559 tries.
Majerle, a color commentator at courtside, pretended to wipe
away a tear when Richardson made his 200th with 5:54 left in the
Shawn Marion had 26 points and nine rebounds, Joe Johnson had 20
points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Jim Jackson scored 19
points for Phoenix, which learned just after tipoff that its magic
number was one because of Sacramento's loss at Detroit.
The Suns had a 65-41 lead at halftime and were never threatened
The Suns' other division titles came in 1980-91, 1992-93 and
1994-95, when they won 57, 62 and 59 games, respectively, for the
three best marks in franchise history.
The Suns went on an 11-3 run to take a 27-21 lead with 1:55 left
in the first quarter.
Philadelphia fought back, going up 33-32 on a jumper by Iverson
with 8:10 remaining in the second.
But Jackson started a rally with three free throws, and
Richardson took over, nailing three 3-pointers in a 2:09 span. Over
the rest of the quarter, Phoenix outscored the Sixers 33-8, and
Philadelphia's chances to rally dimmed when Webber went out.
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix's leading scorer, sat out his
second straight game to rest an inflamed left ankle. Coach Mike
D'Antoni wasn't sure about his return. "He needs to be 100 percent
before he can come back," D'Antoni said. "He says it's a lot
better, so we'll see. ... Nash, who tied his best double-figure
assists streak (12), had his only other triple-double for Dallas
against Portland on Nov. 17, 2003. ... The Suns finished
interconference play with a 24-6 record, their best winning
percentage ever against the East. ... Iverson also had nine
rebounds. ... Marc Jackson had 11 points and Rodney Rogers 10 off
the bench for Philadelphia.