Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns made Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards look more like NBA pretenders than contenders, putting the so-called "Phoenix Suns of the East" in their place with a 127-105 thumping on Tuesday.
Nash scored 27 points on 11-for-13 shooting and added 14 assists in the Suns' 14th straight win. Phoenix led by 21 after the first quarter and won for the 30th time in 32 games in a matchup between the NBA's two highest-scoring teams.
Arenas, who has compared his team's high-octane offense to the Suns', scored 31 points, but he started 1-for-6 and the game was essentially over before he got going. When he finally made his second field goal, it only served to cut the Suns' lead to 24.
Shawn Marion finished with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and Raja Bell also had 21 points for the Suns, who were opening a five-game road trip.
Caron Butler scored 24 points for the Wizards, who had won a Verizon Center-record 10 straight at home to move atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Mavericks 111, Magic 95
At Orlando, Florida, Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Josh Howard added 25 points to help Dallas beat Orlando for its eighth straight victory.
For the second consecutive night, the Mavericks led from beginning to end. They pushed the margin to 25 points in the second quarter with a 15-5 run capped by Nowitzki's three-point play, and kept it around 20 for most of the second and third periods.
Jameer Nelson scored 23 points for the Magic and keyed the third-quarter run that brought Orlando back into the game. Hedo Turkoglu scored 17, Grant Hill had 15 and Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
76ers 102, Hornets 96
At Philadelphia, Kyle Korver scored 25 points, Andre Iguodala added 20 and Philadelphia held on to beat New Orleans.
The 76ers got double-figure scoring from five players and opened the second half of their season with a victory after going 11-30 over the first 41 games.
Andre Miller had 17 points and 11 assists. Rodney Carney added 13 points, and Samuel Dalembert had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Sixers.
Devin Brown led the Hornets with 24 points and David West added 23 in his third game back after missing 30 following shoulder surgery.
Bulls 94, Hawks 86
At Chicago, Luol Deng scored 18 points and Kirk Hinrich added 12 points and 12 assists to lead Chicago.
P.J. Brown scored a season-high 15 points and had nine rebounds for Chicago, which has won nine straight over Atlanta.
Chicago took control in the third quarter, scoring nine consecutive points to open an 18-point cushion.
Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 29 points and Marvin Williams added 22. The Hawks have lost three straight after winning three in a row.
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