Kidd Is the Man as Suns Defeat Nuggets

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Antonio McDyess may have left the Phoenix Suns as a free agent, but Jason Kidd is still with them. Monday night, McDyess probably wished he was still with them too.

McDyess’ 20 points and 12 rebounds were no match for Kidd’s 28 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, and the Suns defeated the Denver Nuggets, 115-106, at Denver.

“Jason was unbelievable,” said Tom Gugliotta, the free agent who replaced McDyess for the Suns. Gugliotta had 10 points and eight rebounds.

“He carried us through difficult stretches, shot the ball well and bailed us out of some tough moments.”


Kidd, who had the 20th triple-double of his career, was nine of 17 from the field as the Suns defeated the Nuggets for the eighth consecutive time and second time this year.

“I don’t really care about the triple-double and don’t really care about stats as long as we have more wins than losses,” Kidd said. “My job is to get the team going. I was too laid back early and I wasn’t aggressive, but came back in the second half when it was do or die.”

Bryant Stith scored 23 points, Nick Van Exel had 21 and Chauncey Billups had 20 for the Nuggets, who last defeated the Suns on Dec. 23, 1996.

George McCloud had 24 points for Phoenix.


Coach Danny Ainge became the fourth coach in Phoenix history to win 100 games.

Utah 120, Sacramento 112--In a game that featured Jason Williams and Chris Webber vs. John Stockton and Karl Malone, Bryon Russell and Shandon Anderson combined for 12 points in overtime as the Jazz remained undefeated with a victory over the Kings at Salt Lake City.

It was the Kings’ 11th consecutive loss at Utah.

The victory sets up a showdown tonight at Seattle between the NBA’s two remaining undefeated teams, the Jazz and the Sonics.

In only his fifth NBA game, Williams had 19 points and seven assists, while Webber had 26 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out early in overtime.

Malone finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, and Stockton had 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Tonight, the Jazz will be without Jeff Hornacek, who is staying behind due to the death of a close family friend.

Miami 95, New Jersey 72--Alonzo Mourning had 34 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks at Miami as the Heat handed the Nets their third consecutive loss.


P.J. Brown chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds for Miami, which has won 12 of its last 14 games against New Jersey.

The Nets’ Kerry Kittles, playing in his second game of the season, made only one of 13 shots and had five points.

The Nets’ Rony Seikaly faced his former team in his first game of the season after sitting our with a sprained left ankle. Also returning from the Nets’ injured list was another former Heat player, Eric Murdock, who missed the last three games with a strained groin.

Portland 99, Dallas 84--Arvydas Sabonis narrowly missed a triple-double and Isaiah Rider once again made more noise with his mouth than his play as the Trail Blazers defeated the Mavericks at Portland.

Sabonis had 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Blazers, who have won seven in a row against the Mavericks at home.

Rider, who finished with 14 points, didn’t play the final 17 minutes after arguing with Coach Mike Dunleavy as he went to the bench.

New York 78, Detroit 69--The Knicks’ strategy of letting Grant Hill get his points but shutting down the rest of the Pistons worked, and the Knicks won in the Pistons’ only visit to Madison Square Garden this season.

Hill scored 31 points, but no one else reached double figures for Detroit.


Conversely, Allan Houston scored 19 points, Patrick Ewing had 14, Larry Johnson 12 and Charlie Ward 10 for the Knicks, who won their third in a row.

Golden State 101, Minnesota 99--Antawn Jamison scored 21 points, including the game-winning tip-in with four seconds left to give the Warriors a victory over the Timberwolves at Oakland.

The Warriors won their second game in two nights and broke a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Jamison had 11 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench, none more crucial than his tip of Terry Cummings’ missed put-back after Donyell Marshall shot an air ball.

Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett led all scorers with 29 points and also had 10 rebounds.