Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Nash directs late comeback to lead Phoenix past Dallas

AFP , DALLAS

Steve Nash directed a late comeback capped by Boris Diaw's basket with half a second left that gave Phoenix a 121-118 National Basketball Association playoff win over Dallas on Wednesday.

The thrilling triumph put the Suns 1-0 up in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

France's Diaw scored a career-high 34 points and Nash added 27 and 16 assists for the second-seeded Suns, who looked tired at times but relied on their resiliency and won a road game for the third straight series. The Mavericks led by nine points with less than four minutes to play against the Suns, but couldn't close it out.

The series opener was a continuation of the nail-biters that have pervaded the postseason.

It was Phoenix's fifth game decided by less than three points or in overtime. The Mavericks have played six such games.

Nash played five seasons in Dallas and was a fan favorite before leaving for Phoenix as a free agent in the summer of 2004.

He has won a pair of Most Valuable Player awards in two seasons with the Suns and victimized the Mavericks in last year's conference semi-finals.

A driving three-point play by Devin Harris, who scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting, gave the Mavericks a 114-105 lead with 3:43 to go.

But Dallas relaxed, and the NBA MVP pounced.

Nash scored Phoenix's next 10 points, making two free throws and a 3-pointer before going underneath good friend Dirk Nowitzki for a difficult layup and over him for a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 116-115 with 1:04 remaining. The teams traded empty possessions before Harris made a 17-footer from the right wing, giving the Mavericks a 118-117 lead with 4.8 seconds to play.

After a timeout, Tim Thomas inbounded to Diaw, who had gotten deep position on Jerry Stackhouse and made a turnaround 10-footer from the right baseline. The play was supposed to go to Nash, but he wasn't open.

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