It's appropriate on Veterans Day to review the difference a few year's experience can make when it comes time to win a game. Suns fans are seeing the payoff of all those blown games over the past 5 years as our veterans (including the still youthful Diaw, Barbosa and Amare) show the young cubs how it's done. Smart plays and lock down D.
With the game tied at 100 with just over 2 minutes to go the Grizzlies got a put back when Marc Gasol battled Amare for a board tipping it to Gay for the easy dunk (a rebound that the Suns would have had if Shaq hadn't fouled out).
With the Suns down by 2 with 1:30 left Barbosa hit a three which put the points on the board but most importantly we held the Grizz scoreless for the final stretch of the game.
And while Barbosa's three gets credit let's not overlook that the Suns also missed two other three's in the final two minutes and it was the defense that won this game.
Work. In. Progress.
Despite a very encouraging record and some early positive signs, this is a Suns team that very much is in need of more time together. The silly turnover's continue and there isn't much flow offensively and without Shaq on the floor Porter is going small which doesn't please me. I want to see more Lopez.
But first, let's give Iveroni and the Grizzlies some credit.
They played the Suns as well as anyone this season on the front line. "Holding" Amare to 18 points on 6-13 (sub 50%!) and only giving him 6 tries from the line. He made all six bringing his hit rate to 88% for the year. That's good for 26th in the league but his 83 attempts are good for #2 behind only Dwight's 86 attempts (he only made 52%) and giving Amare a wide lead in free throws made (73).
Time out. See what happened right there? I started that paragraph writing about how well the Grizzlies interior defense looked and how their activity made the Suns entry passes look down right pathetic and I ended up gushing about Amare's free throw prowess. That's how dominant the guy is. He takes over games. He takes over blogs about games. He's the MVP.
A Few Final Bullets Before I Get Fired for Blogging While Working
- Whatever that agent paid OJ Mayo wasn't enough
- How good would the Mayo / Al Jefferson pairing look right now in Minnie? They can't be Loving that deal (there should be a Kevin Love pun drinking game)
- I wonder if that "steal" the Laker's pulled off might not look so egregious when it's all said and done. Marc could be the better Gasol bringing the toughness and banging that any team needs along with a touch of the Pao from outside
- The Suns showed the balance they are going to need to win some games and why they are still a very dangerous team
- Let's hope this is the start of something for LB. I am not even close to being sold on that though. He's going to have to deliver a lot more then one great (scoring) game. But I am also patient given his ailing mother and missing training camp
- How good has Boris been this year? Loving it!
- And let's give it up for Goran Dragic's best game yet. He looked a lot more confident and as Eddie Johnson said he finally punished guys for riding him so close. He's going to have to earn respect in this league and last night was a tiny step forward.
- The Cut Goran Dragic blog isn't buying it though