Steve Nash had a season-high 21 assists, becoming the first player in nine years with two 20-assist games in a season and leading the Phoenix Suns to their eighth straight victory, 109-90, over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night in Phoenix.
Nash, who had 20 assists against Sacramento Dec. 5, matched Avery Johnson, now the Dallas coach, who had two 20-assist games in 1997-98. Nash's career high is 22, against New York Jan. 2, 2006.
LeBron James scored 34 points, including the first 14 of the fourth quarter, for the Cavaliers, whose five-game winning streak was snapped.
Shawn Marion led the balanced Phoenix offense with 19 points, while Raja Bell had 18, Amare Stoudemire 17, Leandro Barbosa 16, and James Jones 13. Stoudemire also had 13 rebounds and Marion 11.
In a battle of two of the league's NBA elite -- Cleveland (22-13) has the best record in the Eastern Conference and Phoenix (27-8) is second in the West -- it was no contest. After three quarters, the Suns had built a 32-point lead, 91-59, and Cleveland never seriously threatened in the fourth.
The Suns completed the first half with a flourish, outscoring the Cavaliers, 21-2, in the final 5:16 of the second quarter, and had a 67-41 lead at halftime. Marion, who had been scoreless in the first period, triggered the burst with 11 points, including two vicious dunks.
Nets 86, Bulls 83 -- Jason Kidd recorded his 82d career triple-double and New Jersey erased an 18-point deficit against host Chicago for the second time in a week.
Kidd had 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double of the year.