Amare Stoudemire takes a charge from Corey Maggette. This is Amare's 3rd charge of the season and part of his increased effort on the defensive end. (Photo by Max Simbron)
By all accounts the Phoenix Suns ran right over the hapless Golden State Warriors. You can certainly give plenty of credit to the Suns good shooting (55% from three) and to a solid effort on the glass (47-38 rebounding advantage) but the bottom line is the Suns did what they had to do while the Warriors looked like a team that had no desire to play the game of basketball.h
You really have to feel for Stephen Curry who by all accounts is a solid kid. He's the one player both Coach Gentry and Steve Nash talked about post game as having a lot of potential and they both really seemed to think highly of him as a player. Unfortunately, he was drafted into a team that plays the game in absolutely the wrong way.
Only 16 total assists for the Warriors is an indication of how much of their play is about individual isolation and their lack of size is not made up for by overly aggressive or active defense. Maybe it was just a bad night for the Warriors but what they did tonight was an embarrassment to their great fans.
Not to take anything away from some bright spots on the Suns side of the ledger.
Most impressive was the growth and development of Amare Stoudemire. It's like watching another player out there. Gone are the amazing offensive moves and the explosive power game. In it's place is a more heady player who's defense is already much improved and who's outside shot is money.
"It's been amazing the transformation that he's had as far as the alertness and the weak side help and being in rotation. He continues to get better in that area right there. You know, his offense is going to come. We're not worried about that," said coach Alvin Gentry about Stoudemire's progression as a player.
Amare took two charges in this game. The first moving over and standing in perfect position to take a charge from Anthony Randolph right in the chest. The second was even more impressive as he moved his feet laterally and beat Corey Maggette to the spot to draw the foul. He also had a nice weak side block on Curry.
Of course, the big honors in this game go to Channing Frye who's first home game back in front of his native crowd saw him hit 6 or 7 from three and finish with 24 points. Asked if he was in a zone Frye responded, "Sorta, kinda. If I made 9 or 10 then I would be in a zone."
Frye knocking down shots certainly helped Steve Nash look even better. He finished with 20 assist which is the 6th time he's done that in his career and only the 13th time in Suns history. A guy named Kevin Johnson had the other seven.
Coach Gentry pointed out how we all can take Nash for granted, "You look down and he has 18 and 20. 18 points and 20 assists and you're like, that's what he's supposed to do."
Nash for his part was ever humble, "It's better than getting four, but for me I want to win the game. I can get five assists or 20 assist and if we win, it doesn't matter. If you get a bunch of assist, it means a lot of guys are scoring which is nice."
Nash still isn't nearly satisfied with where the team is offensively. He feels the Suns aren't running enough and are yet to find their rhythm as a team. He "blames" that in part on the new players and the need to spend more time on the floor together but he also thinks that the emphasis on defensive rebounding is pulling in the wings and preventing as many leak outs.
Even in a blow out game, Nash had 37 minutes. He emphasized that he feels great and thinks that he can play at this level all season long and into the playoffs. His minutes don't seem to be impacted by his lack of a solid backup, Goran Dragic who had another solid outing with 8 points and 4 assists in just under 14 minutes.
Nash said this about the development of his Slovenian understudy, "I think Goran's improving. Goran's got good tools. He just needs that confidence and comfort. He's going to struggle at times but I think you're going to see a big improvement from him."
Perhaps without Jason Richardson on the floor, Nash was needed a bit more in the three guard rotation. I would still like to see his minutes closer to 33 per game and he even admitted that those extra 3 or 5 minutes on the bench add up over the course of a season.
Nice game all around for the Suns despite the fairly pitiful effort from the Warriors. Coach Gentry is looking for his team to protect home court stating that most 50 win teams win 30 at home. So far, so good.
We'll close the recap with Channing Frye who summed up the game best in his remarks. Frye certainly has a career in broadcasting if that's where he wants to go when he hangs up the sneakers.
Post Game Links
My buddy Brett from AOL has a great take on the Warriors mess
Nelson's Curious Lineups Make Things Tough on Anthony Randolph -- NBA FanHouse
PHOENIX -- The Warriors played basketball like five individuals wearing the same uniform on Friday, instead of like an NBA team that was anywhere near