We're back baby!
The bandwagon is filling fast!
Plan the parade!
Too soon? Yeah. Too soon.
Back to life. Back to reality. Back to cheesy headlines.
The tale of three halves
To start the first half the boys came out hard and fast and gave us a solid 24 minutes of what this team can be. They put a total beat down on all ends of the court and went into the locker room with a 19pt lead and dominated all aspects of the game.
Then they came out in the second half and gave us a solid 12 minutes of the Suns we team we've come to know and hate. Giving up 30 pts and blowing most of that lead. I am going to have to rewatch this quarter and see exactly what happened here. Was it Roy on fire (and he did look downright Kobe-esque) or did this team fall right back into old habits and have a let down. Wasn't that all Shawn's fault? I don't know. But clearly, Amare picking up his fourth foul when Frye tripped and fell into him was a big blow as Coro points out.
Then in the third half we saw another look to the Suns. Shaq was a beast on the boards and the Suns played solid D and ground out a win even though some wide open shots weren't falling.
Amare missed two open jumpers he usually makes. Hill missed one open shot. Amare at the rim came up short a few times. LB who was en feugo disappeared. Boris? Did Boris play the third half? Oh, that's right. He did have a really nice tap on a long rebound.
And at the end of the game when they absolutely, positively had to have a bucket with under two minutes. They sat Shaq and ran the old Nash to Amare pick and roll and Stat got to the line on a call that the Blazer's fans hate and could clearly have gone either way except that Amare jumped away from JJ (we kind of sorta miss you JJ except that you disappear when it matters) and JJ leaned over to help draw contact so it was the right call so suck it Blazer's fan. Just kidding. We love you guys and your team although you do need to be able to score inside and get to the line more to win in the post season. Trust us. We know these thing here in Phx. Amare of course sank two to put the game out of reach.
FunkyAmazing Stat of the Night I am not sure I understand how this is possible. The Blazers had 83 FGA's to the Suns 70. Now its normal for the Suns to have fewer FGA's but not when they win the glass by three. They are even in ORB. Turnover's are even. So how did we manage to have 13 less FGA's?
With 17 more FTA's! When was the last time that happened? Hat tip to Zonaflash for pointing out the obvious to your dim-witted correspondant.
Are we turning into the Spurs and slowing down that much and grinding out the full 24? Your Phoenix Suns! 23 seconds or less! Maybe only sometimes.
Player of the game
Got to go with the Big If and his 6 points on 5 attempts. He really played well and dominated the glass grabbing rebounds in a way we haven't seen from a Sun since the Round Mound himself. Elbows out. Fighting for the ball. His D was much better both coming out and trapping the ball on the screens and defending the paint w/ 3 blocks and a huge Big Monster presense. Come on. You love this picture too right?
Runner up POG
Brandon "break your ankles" Roy. This kid has serious game. He was hitting fade away contested J's. Driving and dishing. And that between the legs thing splitting two defenders and getting the foul was unbelievable. Do you think they would take Diaw and LB for him? No, I wouldn't either.
I like the rotation patterns better tonight. Sitting Amare first and playing Diaw w/ Shaq and then letting Amare come in while Shaq and Nash rested made more sense. Then in the end of the 3rd / early 4th Amare covered while Nash and Shaq rested. Let the 25 y/o have those extra minutes and let your aging stars rest up for the final push. I think Amare's 4th foul (horrible call!) messed that up a bit but still. You could see something that was making much more sense then we had seen before.
Final other thoughts
Despite the 3rd quarter let down on D and the Mysterious Disappearing Offense that made this game closer then it should have been, I am feeling positive. Shaq should start hitting those >1m shots and demanding a double and we know Amare is going to shoot better then he did tonight (I noticed his arm was wrapped?). Nash's TO's were way down but of course he wasn't passing the ball near as much and only had 4 ast.
This new look Suns is going to take some serious getting used to but they should be fine. At least until they meet a good team in the playoff's. Like in the first round.