How'd you like that one Suns fans? It's about time we ran some one out of the building. Right? Can I get a hell yes up in here?
I know Dallas. You have lots of excuses. We know all about excuses here too. Tough game last night barely beating the Knicks (well done btw) and Dirk with a fever and then of course Mr. Fourth Quarter goes down in the third. What does he have now again? 22 points in 22 fourth quarters. I'm not from Texas but I believe that comes to 1 pt per fourth quarter. Production like that was sorely missed.
If you think I am being a bit tough on the Mavs fans and a bit unsportsmanlike just head over to this game thread Suns fans and enjoy the abuse dished out on your favorite players.
As for the game itself? What is there to say. Except for about the first 3 or 4 minutes, the Suns were on fire all night. Only red hot outside shooting from the Mavs in the first half kept it close. They were 7 for 11 from three at the half and finished 9 for 20.
The Better Team
You don't expect blowouts or even victories over a team like Dallas every time but what you do see is that clearly the Suns are a better constructed team. In a 7 game series the Mavs inability to score in the paint will kill them while the Suns for all their struggles are simply dominating at the rim. Between Shaq and Amare in the post and then slashers like JRich, LB, Hill and Barnes the Suns are going to be a very difficult team to defend.
The Suns defense meanwhile is slowly improving (we really can't say too much about it tonight since Dallas did play so poorly) and with the emergence of Lou as the second coming of Paul Milsap the bench is coming into form as well.
The 40-19 third quarter certainly put the game away, but the stretch that impressed me the most was at the end of the first and the early part of the second quarter with LB, JRich, Admunson, Lopez and Hill/Barnes.Those guys looked solid and really held the game steady while the starters rested (or hide from fou'l tr'oubl'e).
Lopez had a much better game and seemed more focused but also played with more poise and control. His rotations in the paint were great and he had 4 rebounds in 13 minutes and no fouls which is an improvement. He even showed some of his offensive moves in the fourth quarter. In a year or two people will be surprised by what he brings on that end of the floor. Don't be. He's got talent and in time will be able to show it.
Shaq of course was the real key. Starting the game the Suns wanted to get Amare going but when he got two quick fouls and the Suns were down 13 to 6 when the Suns started going inside to Shaq and the game fell into a groove on the offensive end. Most importantly, the Suns weathered with the Mavs hot shooting by rebounding and only giving up 5 turnovers. At the half the Suns were up something like 36 - 7 in points in the paint. 7 for 7 from the line doesn't hurt either thanks to Shaq's new finger tip grip on the ball.
Not Amare's Team
Amare on the other hand was again a disappointment on both ends. Silly fouls. Poor defense. He did of course get his dunks and he had a nice post up move against the 5'10" Berea but overall Amare was outplayed by his pony tailed understudy. You certainly didn't miss his presence while he was on the bench.
Still though, Amare is the key to how far the Suns will go this year. Riding Shaq and Nash is only going to go so far. To have any hope of advancing deep into the playoff's Amare is going to have to find a way to play like the super all-star he wants us to believe he is.
Genius Point for Steve Kerr tonight. JRich, Hill, Barnes, Admundson and of course Shaq are all his guys. I would even add LB to that because if I were the GM he'd have been traded already.
You Can Smell the Locker Room from Here
Here's the post game audio for both sides.
Grant is happy with the defense and will finally get some sleep. Nash is just happy with the win. Shaq will only be happy if this game gets bottled and used as a model for the rest of the season and come consistent. Shaq is happy though that he talked Coach Porter out of having practice tomorrow. Coach Shaq feels that the team is much better when they "don't bang twice".
From the Mavs side JET took his whooping like a man as did Coach Carlisle. No excuses from those guys. Josh Howard's wrist hurts unless he elevates it and he doesn't trust the Phoenix x-ray machines. huh?
Audio provided by Sports 620 KTAR