Steve Nash was at his darting best in the final two minutes, paving the way for the Phoenix Suns’ eight straight victory on a night they clinched a playoff spot.In a 111-105 victory, Nash had the Bulls guessing: will he shoot, drive, dump it inside or kick it back out? And with Kirk Hinrich sidelined in the second half with a sprained ankle, Nash had room to work.In a frantic final stretch, Nash drove to the lane and turned around for a jumper. Seconds later, he maneuvered his way back to the basket and used his familiar scoop shot to score and start a three-point play.He found Channing Frye for a clutch tiebreaking 3-pointer with 41.6 seconds left, passed to Grant Hill for a dunk and then hit two free throws to finish off his 22-point, 10-assist night.All from a guy who had been nursing a sore back and the sniffles.Jason Richardson led the Suns with 27 points and Amare Stoudemire had 21 points — 13 in the first quarter — and 11 rebounds. The Suns are currently in fourth in the West.The 6-11 Frye connected on three 3-pointers.Flip Murray and Derrick Rose, who kept the Bulls close down the stretch with 10 points in the final period, had 23 points each. The Bulls are 1½ games behind Toronto for the eighth playoff spot in East.After Hill’s dunk 23.2 seconds remaining restored Phoenix’s lead to three, Rose missed a long 3-pointer when he had to double clutch. Nash then sank a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go. Stoudemire dunked on the break over James Johnson, was fouled and converted the three-point play to highlight a late 10-0 first-quarter run by the Suns that opened up a quick 12-point lead.The Suns’ lead didn’t last long as Jannero Pargo hit a pair of 3-pointers and Murray another in a 13-2 run that tied the game early in the second.
NOTES—The Suns’ last eight-game winning streak came from Nov. 9-23, 2007….Hinrich sprained his left ankle in the second quarter. He tested it during warmups for the second half and then did not return…..Joakim Noah was assessed a technical foul after the first half. He said he was asking officials at midcourt why teammate Chris Richard had been called for a flagrant foul late in the half……Entering the game, Stoudemire had averaged 27.6 points in the 20 games since the All-Star break……Murray brought the crowd to its feet by swishing a midcourt hook shot at the end of the third quarter, but the shot came after the horn. The call was upheld by video review…..The Suns are 17-4 since the All-Star break.