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Suns ride 47-point first quarter to easy win over Heat

PHOENIX (AP) -- Steve Nash dished out 12 assists in a 47-point
first quarter for Phoenix, and the Suns raced past the depleted
Miami Heat 111-93 on Friday night.

Before tonight's Heat-Suns game, Jim Gray asked Heat coach Pat Riley how often he thought of coaching when he was out of the job. Riley replied, "Not much at all."

Riley then said: "I was happy with what I was doing. I doubt I will be coaching after this season. I came back because I have an obligation and responsibility to this organization. I built this team … but I really doubt I'll be back [coaching] next year."

Nash broke the franchise record and tied for second-most assists
in a quarter in NBA history. Last season's league MVP finished with
19 assists and 11 points in Phoenix's sixth victory in seven games.

The Suns tied a team record with 17 assists -- on 18 baskets -- in
the first quarter. The 47 points were most in a quarter in the NBA
this season and most for the Suns since the franchise moved to
America West Arena in 1992. The arena officially changed its name
to U.S. Airways Center on Friday.

Miami was without Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams. Wade felt
soreness during warmups and was a late scratch with a bruised left
shin. Williams had right knee tendinitis.

Seven Suns players scored in double figures, including all five
starters.

Raja Bell matched his season high with 24 points, 18 in the
first half. Shawn Marion had 19 points and 16 rebounds. James Jones
added 16 points, Boris Diaw 14, Kurt Thomas 13 and Eddie House 10.

Shaquille O'Neal had eight points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Antoine Walker led the Heat with 22 points. Jason Kapono added a
season-high 16 and Gary Payton 15.

The Suns, up 47-25 after one, tied a franchise record with 11
first-half 3-pointers -- in 17 tries -- while taking a 72-50 lead at
the break. They finished 13-for-26 on 3s.

Phoenix led by as many as 26 before the Heat cut it to 94-80 and
Nash returned to the game with 7:09 to play. He came back just as
Miami's Gerald Fitch and House were thrown out of the game.

Phoenix shot out to a 16-6 lead, then scored 11 in a row to go
up 31-10 after Thomas made one of two free throws with 3:46 to go
in the first.

Nash got his 12th assist on a half-court bounce pass to Bell for
a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer. His big game came four
nights after he had a career-high 22 assists against the Knicks in
a triple-overtime loss in New York.

Game notes
The league record for assists in a quarter is 14 by John
Lucas for San Antonio against Denver on April 15, 1984. Avery
Johnson had 12 for the Spurs against the Los Angeles Clippers on
Dec. 10, 1997. ... The Suns' record for assists in a quarter was 10
by Jason Kidd and Jeff Hornacek. ... Phoenix plays at home against
San Antonio on Saturday night. ... The arena name change followed
the merger of America West Airlines and U.S. Airways. ... The most
points the Heat have given up in a quarter was 49 at Phoenix on
Dec. 29, 1990. ... Miami was on the second stop of a seven-game
road trip.