Suns explode to eliminate Warriors from playoff contention

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Now that the runnin' Phoenix Suns are making a playoff push, Shaq is wondering what took them so long.

Jason Richardson scored 31 points against his former team, Shaquille O'Neal added 26, and the Suns rang up the highest point total in the NBA this season in a 154-130 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.

"I don't want to use the word disappointing but coming in we thought we would be one of the teams," O'Neal said. "It's still special and if we stay focused anything can happen."

The Suns are within four games of the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth playoff spot with 15 games to play.

"It's big for us to make up two games in two days," Richardson said. "It gives us a lot of energy and the mindset that we can still do this."

Matt Barnes, another former Warriors player, added 20 points and a career-high 11 assists as the Suns ended a five-game losing streak on the road and a four-game skid at Golden State. Leandro Barbosa added 21 points and Jared Dudley and Steve Nash each had 11.

"This is the game we needed to get us going," Richardson said. "We just need to take care of business and let things fall where they may."

Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Corey Maggette added 21 for the Warriors, who had won their last two at home. Kelenna Azubuike scored 18 and Jamal Crawford had 17 as Golden State was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

"That was a tough loss, especially on national television," Crawford said. "It's embarrassing to lose like that, to give up that many points."

The teams combined for an NBA best 284 points and the Suns scored 56 fast-break points, the most since 1997, when the league began to track the stat.

Richardson scored 18 of his points in the third quarter, when the Suns netted 46, a season best for any period, aided by a series of free throws following technical fouls on the Warriors' Stephen Jackson and coach Don Nelson. They took a 120-97 advantage into the final quarter.

"It was great to have a game like that, especially against a former team and guys you know well," Richardson said. "This is how we what to play, go up and down the court."

Jackson picked up his second technical foul of the game with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter and was ejected from the contest. Nelson followed his star guard into the locker room 11 seconds later after getting his second technical foul.

"It was bad, man, we can't hide that," Azubuike said. "There's no excuse for that kind of performance on defense. We've got to get better."

The Suns shot 62.1 percent for the game, the best against Golden State since the Utah Jazz shot 63 percent in November of 2007.

Less than 24 hours after scoring 18 points in the first quarter of their victory over Oklahoma City, the Suns produced a season best for the first period with 42 against the Warriors.

The Warriors ended the second quarter on a 19-7 run over the final five minutes, but the Suns took a 74-72 lead into halftime.

Game notes
Warriors C Andris Biedrins will miss at least a week with a sprained left ankle sustained in the first quarter of Friday night's win over the Dallas Mavericks. ... The Suns have produced five quarters of 40-plus points in their last 16 games after recording two in their first 51. ... Jackson's nine assists in the first half were the most in a half for the Warriors. ... Crawford recorded his fifth 4-point play in the first quarter, and the 16th of his career. ... Richardson shot 73.3 percent from the field. ... The Suns are 7-0 against teams with a sub-par .500 record under coach Alvin Gentry.