Jason Richardson sees red every time he sees a green Boston Celtics jersey.
Richardson exploded for 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns sent the Celtics to their first loss of the season, with a 110-103 road victory on Friday night.
Richardson went scoreless against Orlando on Wednesday night as the Suns suffered their first loss of the season. However, he bounced back with his sixth career 30-point game against the Celtics.
“It was a feeling tonight, like everything you throw up is going to go in,” said Richardson, who hit 10 of 16 shots, including six of seven three-pointers. “I wanted to come out, be aggressive and take it from there.”
“Richardson just kicked our butts,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He loves us, he’s a scorer.”
Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points for Phoenix (5-1) while Steve Nash added 16, 12 assists and a critical three-pointer in the final minute.
Kevin Garnett had a season-best 26 points. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce added 16 apiece, while Rajon Rondo finished with 14 and 11 assists for the Celtics (6-1), who were seeking a 7-0 start for the second time in the last three seasons.
“We have a long way to go, but don’t take anything away from what we’ve done,” Garnett said. “We lost tonight, and it is what it is. We fought hard for those wins, just like we fought hard tonight, but unfortunately it didn’t come out our way.”
Richardson opened the fourth quarter with eight straight Suns’ points, including his sixth three and a conventional three-point play, extended a two-point lead to 93-85.
After Garnett’s reverse layup with 2:29 left drew the Celtics to within 104-100, Rondo had a chance to pull the hosts to within a bucket. However, Stoudemire blocked his layup.
Nash, then, nailed a three-point dagger over Rondo from the left wing with 51 seconds left, pushing it to 107-100.
Ahead by four, Stoudemire hit two free throws in the final 16 seconds to ice the win.
HEAT 96, NUGGETS 88
Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and Jermaine O’Neal had 18 as Miami (5-1) handed visiting Denver their first loss of the season.
LAKERS 114, GRIZZLIES 98
Kobe Bryant scored 41 points for the third consecutive game as the NBA champion Los Angeles cruised to their fourth straight victory, without injured big men Andrew Bynum (elbow) and Spain’s Pau Gasol (strained hamstring).
Rudy Gay led visiting Memphis (1-5) with 22 points and Zach Randolph added 21 with 15 rebounds.
CAVALIERS 100, KNICKS 91
LeBron James had 19 of his 33 points in the decisive opening quarter, along with nine assists and eight rebounds, as visiting Cleveland (4-3) rolled to their fourth win in the last five games.
ROCKETS 105, THUNDER 94
Carl Landry and Trevor Ariza scored 21 points and Argentine Luis Scola scored 19 with 10 rebounds, carrying Houston to their 11th consecutive victory over the visiting Thunder.
Russell Westbrook poured in 33 points for Oklahoma City (2-3) and Kevin Durant added 27.
RAPTORS 107, HORNETS 90
Chris Bosh tossed in 27 points and Toronto (3-2) hit 14-of-29 from behind the arc to rout hosting New Orleans.
BUCKS 87, TIMBERWOLVES 72
Australian Andrew Bogut had 17 points with 10 rebounds as visiting Milwaukee (2-2) handed Minnesota (1-5) their fifth straight loss.
76ERS 97, NETS 94
Lou Williams scored 18 points and Andre Iguodala added 16, including a key three-point play late in the game, as Philadelphia sent winless New Jersey to their worst start in franchise history.