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 Hill's layup with 2.7 left lifts Suns past Magic

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PostSubject: Hill's layup with 2.7 left lifts Suns past Magic   Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:41 pm

PHOENIX(AP) Grant Hill had two thoughts as he
ran the baseline in the closing seconds: Would he receive the pass, and
should he dunk the ball?Hill settled for a reverse layup with
2.7 seconds left to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 113-112 victory over the
Orlando Magic on Friday night."Those days are long gone,'' Hill said of the dunking option.Hedo
Turkoglu had given the Magic a one-point lead 7.2 seconds earlier on a
running 22-foot jump shot. Turkoglu had been 3-of-17 from the floor
before the basket."God is always with me in those situations, making those shots,'' he said.After
a Phoenix timeout following Turkoglu's basket, Hill inbounded the ball
to Amare Stoudemire at the right elbow and cut along the baseline for
the return pass and the go-ahead basket."I just figure if I cut
I might be open,'' said Hill, who along with Stoudemire and Steve Nash
was one of three options on the play. "I was surprised Amare threw it.''For Stoudemire, the self-proclaimed quarterback on the play, it was an easy choice."They picked their poison and Grant finished it,'' he said.Rashard Lewis had a chance to win the game, but his 3-pointer as time expired bounced off the right side of the backboard.Jason
Richardson scored 21 points in his Phoenix debut, Stoudemire also
scored 21 and Steve had 21 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who have
won six in a row against Orlando."I'm just proud to be a part of
this one,'' said Richardson, who received a 90-minute primer on the
Suns' offense earlier in the day. "When it all comes down to it, you
just play basketball.''Dwight Howard scored 19 points in 22
minutes for Orlando before leaving with 8:36 left in the third quarter
because of a sore left knee."I made a move on (Robin) Lopez and
I guess I came down the wrong way or something,'' he said. "I don't
even remember what happened but I was trying to run back on defense and
my knee started hurting. I'm not going to play with any pains like
this.''Howard said there was only soreness and no apparent structural damage."It's none of my ligaments,'' he said. "Everything is fine. I'll be all right.''Lewis added 18 for the Magic, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Orlando lost for just the third time in 16 games."We
didn't play any defense at all,'' Lewis said. "We took the lead early
by shooting the ball well and stopped playing defense and pretty much
let them do whatever they wanted.''The Suns carried an 87-77
lead into the fourth quarter, only to see the Magic rally on four
3-pointers in the first three minutes of the period, the last by
Courtney Lee with 9:29 to play to cut Phoenix's lead to 92-91.Richardson
hit a 3-pointer and added a 15-foot jumper to put the Suns ahead 103-95
with 6:12 to go. But Orlando rallied, taking its first lead of the
second half at 108-107 on two free throws by Lee with 1:54 to go."That's
a tough way to lose because of a defensive breakdown at the end,'' said
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "We fought hard to come back in that game
and to have a defensive breakdown at the end to give up a layup, that
doesn't sit well.''Howard helped pace the Magic to an early
12-point lead, hitting his first five shots and scoring 12 points as
Orlando moved ahead 31-19 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.Lewis
hit consecutive 3-pointers and Keith Bogans and Lee each added one as
Orlando opened a 51-40 lead with 7:42 to go in the half.But Matt
Barnes keyed a 17-4 run with a pair of 3-pointers and Nash added a free
throw off a technical foul on Howard as Phoenix took the lead, 57-55,
with 1:48 left before settling for a 61-60 deficit at halftime.The Suns opened the second half with a 13-3 run and built their biggest lead at 87-75 late in the third quarter."We just stepped up and made some big shots and made some big stops when we needed to,'' Suns coach Terry Porter said.Notes:
Stoudemire has seven straight 20-point games. ... Phoenix has won 11 of
its last 13 against the Magic. ... Orlando is 8-3 on the road. ... With
his first assist of the game, Nash moved ahead of Bob Cousy for 13th
place on the career list. ... The Suns were without center Shaquille
O'Neal, who missed his second straight game while attending the funeral
of his great-grandmother. ... Each team made its first six field-goal
attempts. ... Magic G Jameer Nelson scored 16 points despite battling a
stomach virus. ... Howard earned his technical when he elbowed Lopez in
the back after a missed basket by Orlando.

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