Can there be a more disappointing team than the Rockets? Yes.
And today it was the Phoenix Suns by more than just 12 points. The Suns shot less than 36% on the night and generally stunk so bad that they could not get a George W. Bush on a night when Artest, Scola and Barry combined for 3-24. That was because Bell, Barbosa, Hill and Diaw combined for just 6-29 and Amare was held to 11 points for the night. Again, the Suns had another crappy night being outshot from 3. Hubie Brown noted the Suns did not get a single point in transition. I'd say the Suns transition is now complete!
The Titans of the Paint battled to a draw with strong numbers for Ming and Shaq but weak numbers for STAT and Scola. TMac posted some big numbers, but I felt that he didn't really get going until the Rockets had pulled away and the game opened up. His 27 points may have sealed the victory, but given 22 of them did not come until the second half when the Rocket's lead was well-established. The main difference was the sharp guard play by the Rockets and the generally sloppy play and shooting on part of the Suns wings. Both Rafer Alston and Aaron Brooks had solid nights and seemingly could not be slowed by Phoenix' rather porous-looking defense.
The story of the night besides the disappointing Rockets win was the cheap shot Barnes put on Alston. The Rockets were up 16 with 27 seconds left in the 3rd quarter and Barnes, with Artest on the floor mind you, puts his shoulder into Alston.
Here's the rest:
Now its up to you what you think about a hit like this. Early in the season. In a game where the team is down 16 (soon to be 19). Unprovoked.
I was a big fan of Bell's clothesline on Kobe a few years ago. I was tired of my team being bullied by Kwame Brown. I felt it was deserved retribution for elbows and dirty plays. It was the playoffs when I wanted my team to care most. That is not this case.
Obviously I think this play sucks. I think it sucks more than some twitter trash talk. I think it sucks more than some taunting. I think it's just plain stupid. And Nash running back into the skirmish. That was dumber than Barnes' cheap shot.
Also, there's something I've thought about that I didn't say about the suspension during the Spurs Suns playoffs two seasons ago. Had Nash not gone running back into the fight, there would have been no "fight" to discuss. Then there wouldn't have been any suspensions for Amare and Boris walking on to the court. No fight, no suspensions.
Steve Nash, stop running into fights like you're the team enforcer or something. When Kobe was clotheslined, he didn't go back to mess with Bell. Because he knew he had won. Next time, I'd appreciate you simply staying on the ground and counting to 5 before getting up. Steve Nash, I thought you were a pacifist, man? What up?