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Suns’ playoff hopes on thin ice after loss

The Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill defends against the Sacramento Kings' Francisco Garcia during third-quarter action Sunday in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings won 126-118 and hurt the Suns' playoff chances.

The Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill defends against the Sacramento Kings' Francisco Garcia during third-quarter action Sunday in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings won 126-118 and hurt the Suns' playoff chances.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns are finding the road is a bad place to make a playoff push.

One night after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Utah, the Suns had a lackluster effort against the NBA’s worst team.

Jason Thompson had 21 points and Spencer Hawes added a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Sacramento Kings in a 126-118 victory over the Suns on Sunday night.

Nash scored 31 points for Phoenix, which went 0-3 on its road trip and trails Dallas by four games for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff chase. The Suns have eight games remaining, including four of their final six on the road.

“There’s some emotional hangover (with Utah loss) and we’re tired, but we’ve still got to dig down and find a way to get it done,” Nash said. “No disrespect for that young team, but we weren’t playing the Lakers or the Celtics. We laid an egg, it was very frustrating.”

It was a rare win for the Kings, who own the NBA’s worst record at 16-56. Still, their typical inadequacies didn’t surface against the Suns. Sacramento shot 51 percent, outrebounded the Suns and beat the older Suns to loose balls most of the evening.

“Yeah, we had fun playing spoiler,” Martin said. “That one is definitely going to mess with Phoenix’s mentality.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting how they approach us in the next game (on Friday in Phoenix).”

Andres Nocioni and Francisco Garcia each had 19 points for the Kings, who had lost seven of their eight previous games. Kevin Martin scored 17 and Beno Udrih added 16 points and seven assists.

Shaquille O’Neal had 24 points and nine rebounds, Grant Hill 19 points, Jared Dudley had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jason Richardson added 16 points for Phoenix.

Cavaliers 102, Mavericks 74: At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 24 points with 12 assists as the Cavs won their 60th game of the year and their 12th straight.

The Cavs, who earlier this week surpassed the club mark for wins in a season, trailed 35-20 in the first quarter and 49-47 at halftime.

But Cleveland outscored Dallas 30-11 in the third quarter and 55-25 in the second half to improve to a league-best 35-1 at home.

Celtics 103, Thunder 84: At Boston, Paul Pierce had 27 points and Eddie House scored 14 of his 16 in the second half to lead the Celtics.

Hawks 86, Lakers 76: At Atlanta, ex-Arizona Wildcat Mike Bibby scored 21 points as the Hawks won.

The Lakers had won five straight, locking up the top seed in the Western Conference, but an ailing Kobe Bryant had just 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting.

Hornets 90, Spurs 86: At New Orleans, Chris Paul scored 26 points, hitting three clutch free throws with 7.1 seconds left to lead the depleted Hornets.

Raptors 134, Bulls 129, OT: At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 31 points and 15 rebounds and Andrea Bargnani scored 28 points for the Raptors, who extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.

Timberwolves 108, Nets 99: At Minneapolis, Mike Miller had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to help Minnesota snap a seven-game losing skid.

Pistons 101, 76ers 97: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points, Rodney Stuckey added 16 points and Allen Iverson returned from a back injury to help Detroit.

Pacers 124, Wizards 115: At Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 31 points and rookie Brandon Rush continued his late-season tear with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

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