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Suns bury past with sweep

The Suns’ Steve Nash, who had 20 points and nine assists, cradles the ball while driving on George Hill in the first quarter.

Associated Press

The Suns’ Steve Nash, who had 20 points and nine assists, cradles the ball while driving on George Hill in the first quarter.

Suns 19 31 22 35 107
at Spurs 25 22 24 30 101
Suns win series 4-0

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Steve Nash's right eye was swollen shut. He had six stitches beneath a bandage on his eyebrow, while the purplish lump was darkening another shade.

And that fourth quarter?

"I couldn't see anything," Nash said.

One good eye was plenty.

Nash scored 10 of his 20 while his eye gradually shut more and more in the fourth, and the Suns swept the Spurs from the Western Conference semifinals with a 107-101 win Sunday night. It was long-awaited redemption for the Suns, who had been booted from the playoffs by San Antonio four times since 2003.

"That was ugly," Suns forward Channing Frye said walking off the court.

He wasn't talking about Nash's eye, though it would have fit. Nash was accidentally struck by one of Tim Duncan's elbows in the third quarter and briefly went to the locker room.

Nash came back with an ice pack. Even then, he wasn't back into the game right away; first he lay on the court with the ice still on his head.

"He looked like Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini," Suns forward Grant Hill said. "It forced him to focus 'cause he was shooting out of one eye."

It was reminiscent of the 2007 West semifinals, when Nash had his nose sliced open when he and Tony Parker collided head-to-head in Game 1. Nash's nose bled profusely, and the Suns went on to lose the series.

Not this time.

"Obviously I'm very sad and very mad that we lost, but at the same time I'm happy for Nash and (Amare) Stoudemire," Parker said. "Because every year they played hard against us and it never went their way. This year, it went their way."

Stoudemire led the Suns with 29 points. He is the only Suns player who was on each of those Spurs-ousted teams over the past seven years, but rather than rejoice, Stoudemire coolly walked off the court.

PHOENIX (107): Gr.Hill 1-3 2-2 4, Stoudemire 10-17 9-10 29, Collins 1-3 0-0 2, Nash 8-15 1-1 20, Richardson 4-11 2-3 11, Frye 2-8 2-2 8, Dudley 6-7 1-1 16, Barbosa 2-10 2-2 7, Dragic 2-6 2-3 6, Amundson 1-1 2-4 4. Totals 37-81 23-28 107.

SAN ANTONIO (101): Jefferson 4-8 4-5 12, McDyess 1-2 2-2 4, Duncan 7-14 3-7 17, Parker 10-19 2-3 22, Ginobili 2-11 10-12 15, Ge.Hill 6-11 4-5 17, Bonner 5-6 2-2 14, Blair 0-3 0-0 0, Mason 0-1 0-0 0, Bogans 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-75 27-36 101.

3-Point GoalsPhoenix 10-24 (Dudley 3-3, Nash 3-3, Frye 2-7, Barbosa 1-3, Richardson 1-4, Gr.Hill 0-1, Dragic 0-3), San Antonio 4-11 (Bonner 2-3, Ge.Hill 1-1, Ginobili 1-6, Duncan 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsPhoenix 46 (Richardson 8), San Antonio 52 (Jefferson, Duncan 8). AssistsPhoenix 22 (Nash 9), San Antonio 20 (Ginobili 9). Total FoulsPhoenix 24, San Antonio 21. TechnicalsStoudemire, Phoenix defensive three second, San Antonio Coach Popovich. A18,581 (18,797).

Rondo's triple double pulls Celtics even

at Celtics 31 23 20 23 97
Cavaliers 22 23 27 15 87
Series tied 2-2

BOSTON — Those "MVP! MVP!" chants are usually reserved for LeBron James or one of Boston's Big Three.

Rajon Rondo earned every one of them Sunday.

The Boston point guard had 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, and the Celtics beat the Cavaliers 97-87 to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games.

Sometimes overlooked among the Celtics' other All-Stars, Rondo is the reason his team is two wins away from knocking off the East's No. 1 seed.

"I think it starts with Rondo. He's kind of the engine that really gets them going," James said. "He does everything for them. His performance was unbelievable.

"Rondo was definitely the differencemaker."

Rondo had a playoff career high in rebounds and matched his best scoring night in his fourth postseason triple double. He played 47 minutes with some of his bigger-name teammates in foul trouble, and fans serenaded him with the chants as he knocked down two free throws with 17 seconds left.

Rondo became the third player in playoff history to have at least 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. Oscar Robertson had 32 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists in 1963, and Wilt Chamberlain had 29 points, 36 rebounds and 13 assists in 1967.

CLEVELAND (87): James 7-18 8-11 22, Jamison 6-12 2-2 14, O'Neal 5-9 7-11 17, M.Williams 3-9 5-7 13, Parker 3-7 2-2 10, West 0-7 3-3 3, Varejao 3-4 2-3 8, Hickson 0-1 0-0 0, Moon 0-0 0-0 0, Powe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-67 29-39 87.

BOSTON (97): Pierce 3-8 3-3 9, Garnett 6-11 6-6 18, Perkins 0-2 0-0 0, Rondo 9-21 11-16 29, R.Allen 8-21 1-1 18, Wallace 0-3 3-4 3, T.Allen 6-7 3-6 15, Davis 2-3 1-4 5, Finley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-76 28-40 97.

3-Point GoalsCleveland 4-21 (Parker 2-5, M.Williams 2-5, West 0-3, Jamison 0-3, James 0-5), Boston 1-14 (R.Allen 1-8, Garnett 0-1, Rondo 0-1, T.Allen 0-1, Wallace 0-1, Pierce 0-2). Fouled OutR.Allen. ReboundsCleveland 44 (James 9), Boston 60 (Rondo 18). AssistsCleveland 19 (James 8), Boston 19 (Rondo 13). Total FoulsCleveland 27, Boston 31. TechnicalsCleveland defensive three second, Boston defensive three second 2. A18,624 (18,624).

Suns bury past with sweep 05/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 6:34pm]
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