There it was for everyone to see, out on the court during the flow of the game and later in black and white on the stat sheet, yet hardly anyone could believe it: 42 assists on 50 field goals for the Phoenix Suns.
"Pretty crazy, right?" asked Raja Bell.
"Impressive," said Amare Stoudemire.
"Just incredible," sighed Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.
Steve Nash delivered a season-high 19 assists, Stoudemire scored 27 points, and Bell had 14 of his 22 points during a game-deciding third quarter, helping Phoenix beat host Washington last night, 122-107, for the Suns' fifth consecutive win.
"When the ball moves like that," Nash said, "we're difficult to guard."
The Suns led at halftime, 60-55, before breaking the game open. They outscored Washington, 40-21, in the third quarter, when Bell made all five of his field-goal attempts, including 4-for-4 on three-pointers.
The two-time league MVP had seven assists in the quarter, when Phoenix shot a remarkable 17-for-22 - 77.3 percent.
"It all starts," forward Shawn Marion said, "with Steve Nash."
Nash has four games in a row with at least 15 assists. He had 18 Wednesday, when Phoenix scored 136 points in a victory at Toronto, prompting this assessment from Suns coach Mike D'Antoni: "Offensively, we were just awesome."
It was more of the same last night, right from the get-go. With clockwork ball movement - not just by Nash, but everyone - each starter had one of the team's first five baskets. The 42 total assists were the most by an NBA team this season.
"If I think too much, I'll mess it up," D'Antoni said. "I just stay out of the way right now."
Nash finished with 12 points, Leandro Barbosa had 20 points and seven assists, Grant Hill had 18 points and eight assists, and Marion had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wizards were without their own All-Star point guard, Gilbert Arenas, who is sidelined after having a second operation on his left knee.
In other games:
* At Boston, Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and the Celtics improved to 10-0 at home with a 112-84 rout of Toronto. Paul Pierce had 18 points and Ray Allen 13 for Boston (16-2), which broke it open early.
Boston has won all but one of its home games by double digits - eight by 20 points or more. Anthony Parker led the Raptors with 13 points. T.J. Ford, Joey Graham and Juan Dixon had 12 apiece.
* At New Orleans, Chris Paul (career-high 43 points) hit a driving layup through a crowd of defenders with 1.8 seconds left in overtime, capping a 118-116 victory over Memphis.
* At San Antonio, Manu Ginobili (37 points) and Tony Parker (16 points, seven assists) led the Spurs to a 104-98 win over Utah.
* At Sacramento, Chris Kaman (26 points, 12 rebounds) and Corey Maggette (18 points, nine rebounds), led the Los Angeles Clippers to a 97-87 win over the Kings.
* At Orlando, Danny Granger scored a season-high 27 points, Jamaal Tinsley had 20 points and 10 assists and seven players total scored in double figures as Indiana beat the Magic, 115-109. Jermaine O'Neal had 15 points and Marquis Daniels 13 off the bench for the Pacers, who rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit.
* At Auburn Hills, Mich., Andres Nocioni scored 22 points and Ben Wallace added 10 points and 13 rebounds, leading Chicago to a 98-91 win over Detroit. Luol Deng had 17 points and Joe Smith added 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won four of their last five
* At East Rutherford, N.J., Yao Ming had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Tracy McGrady added 24 points, and Houston never trailed in beating the Nets, 96-89. Jason Kidd returned to the Nets' lineup after a one-game absence, and finished with 10 points - eight in the fourth quarter - seven rebounds and seven assists. *