Hill's late layup lifts Suns in Richardson's Phoenix debut

PHOENIX -- 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.

Game 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.