NEW ORLEANS – Steve Nash became the Phoenix Suns' all-time leader in assists and set a season-high for points while he was at it.
Nash had 30 points and 10 assists, and the Phoenix Suns defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 120-103 on Wednesday night. By increasing his total number of assists with the Suns to 6,522, Nash surpassed Kevin Johnson's mark of 6,518.
Marcin Gortat had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which won for only the fourth time on the road this season and second time in New Orleans. Channing Frye added 16 points and Jared Dudley 15.
Hornets reserve point guard Greivis Vasquez had career highs of 20 points and 12 assists for the Hornets, who have lost three straight and 18 of 20. Jason Smith added 16 points for the Hornets, who led 57-44 late in the first half, but were outscored 76-46 the rest of the way.
Trevor Ariza added 15 points for New Orleans, while Emeka Okafor scored 11.
New Orleans was as close as 95-94 after Vasquez's 3 with 8:14 to go in the game, then the Suns began to pull away, outscoring the Hornets 25-4 the rest of the way. Gortat's free throws began a 13-0 Suns run that included Frye's layup as he was fouled, Nash closed out that spurt with a 3 that made it 108-94 with 5:10 left.
Phoenix wound up shooting nearly 53 percent (41 of 78) for the game, while New Orleans shot 52 percent (40 of 77). The big problem for the Hornets were their 17 turnovers — including 13 in the second half — which led to 27 Suns points.
The Hornets, who shot nearly 60 percent (25 of 42) in the opening half, led by 13 points when Jack made his second 3-pointer to make it 57-44 with 2:12 left in the second quarter.
Nash then hit a reverse layup and a floater before setting up Gortat's jumper, which comprised the beginning of 12-2 run to close out the half and cut New Orleans' lead to 59-56.
Nash finished the half with 19 points, 12 in the second quarter.
Phoenix then scored 10 straight points early in the third quarter, capped by Nash's jumper, to go up 66-62. When that surge ended, Phoenix had scored on 15 of 16 possessions.
The Hornets managed to regroup and stay close until early in the fourth quarter before Phoenix finally pulled away for good.
NOTES: Nash now has 9,441 assists in his NBA career. ... The Hornets set season highs for most points in a half (59) and in a second quarter (32). They also made a season-high nine 3-pointers on 16 attempts. ... Hornets coach Monty Williams decided to start DaJuan Summers at shooting guard for Marco Belinelli, who played in a reserve role. Summers finished with five points and Belinelli, who played more minutes, scored 10. ... The Suns' point total was the most allowed by the Hornets this season.