NBA: Richardson leads the Suns over Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Jason Richardson still enjoys the atmosphere in his old stomping grounds, where he remains popular among fans. He even credits them for getting him ready to play.
Richardson scored 25 points against his former team and Grant Hill added 24 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 107-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
“I’m used to playing here,” Richardson said. “The fans, every time I come, it’s a standing ovation when they announce my name. They get me up. I played here for six years, and there’s familiarity. I had some great times here. It’s a great place to play.”
Steve Nash added 13 points and matched his season high with 16 assists as the Suns beat Golden State for the ninth time in 11 meetings.
“The guy is 36 and he’s still able to go out there, have 16 assists and control the game,” Richardson said. “He helps everybody become better players. It’s amazing what he’s doing at his age and still able to be a top-five point guard in this league.”
Channing Frye had 10 points, matching his career best with a 10th straight double-figure game, and grabbed 10 rebounds. It was his first double-double of the season.
Monta Ellis scored 38 points for the Warriors, who have lost four straight at home and seven of eight overall. David Lee added 25 points and Dorell Wright had 10 points and a season-high 10 rebounds.
Ellis missed a pair of free throws with 3:16 left, which he said was the turning point of the game.
“If I hit those we would have been down just one,” he said. “We made some mistakes but it was a great game and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry missed time in the first half when he was poked in the eye.
“That slowed me down,” Curry said. “I was initiating the offense well and getting people involved. It just took me a while to get back.”
The Suns led 52-49 at the half.
The teams both surpassed the century mark for the 18th straight time in their series, dating to January, 2006.
Richardson and Hill combined to shoot 73 percent (19 of 26) from the field, while the rest of the team combined for 44.6 percent.
“He plays well when he comes back here, which is nice,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of Richardson. “His defense has improved dramatically and he shot the ball well.”
Phoenix took a 75-72 lead into the fourth quarter. Jared Dudley sank a pair of free throws with 6:53 remaining to put the Suns up 93-79, their biggest lead of the night.
The Warriors scored the next 10 points, with Rodney Carney capping the rally with a 3-pointer from the corner. Ellis missed a pair of free throws that would have closed the gap to one and the Suns took advantage to pad their lead. The Warriors never got any closer.
The Suns scored the final nine points of the first quarter to open a 31-20 advantage.
NOTES: The Warriors play 11 of their next 16 games on the road. … Ellis reached 30 points for the fourth time this season and 44th of his career. … Hill extended his double-figure scoring streak to nine games, the most since he scored in 10 straight in December, 2007. … Richardson averages 23.1 points against the Warriors, his most against any team. … Warriors C Andris Biedrins left the game in the fourth quarter with stomach pain. … Ellis’ 38 points is a Suns’ opponent season-high.