Suns Eliminate Visiting Clippers in Game 7

By Bob Baum
Associated Press
Tuesday, May 23, 2006; 1:31 AM

PHOENIX -- Steve Nash's aching back was a whole lot better, and that led to a painful night for the Los Angeles Clippers in the biggest game in that franchise's mostly sorry history.

With Nash back in MVP form -- 29 points and 11 assists -- and 3-pointers falling like a welcome desert rain for Phoenix, the Suns routed the Clippers 127-107 on Monday night to advance to the Western Conference finals for the second year in a row.

Game 1 is Wednesday night in Dallas.

Nash, 2-for-18 on 3s in the previous five games as he struggled with a chronically bad back, was obviously feeling better after three days of rest and treatment.

"With the help of our training staff I was able to overcome some physical problems I've had and I did feel a lot better tonight," Nash said.

Nash was 4-of-5 on 3s.

"When he made that first 3-pointer," the Clippers' Corey Maggette said, "I knew we were in for a long night."

Nash made 11 of 16 shots, twisting his way to layups and moving with much more energy than in recent games.

So was the rest of his team.

Seven players were in double figures for the Suns, who shot 60 percent overall and made 15 of 27 3-pointers.

Shawn Marion had 30 points -- including 5-of-9 3s.

"Everybody was stepping up tonight. Everybody was knocking down shots," Marion said. "I don't care. I could have had five points and if we win, that's all that matters."

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