This game could have easily been tossed out the window. A back to back getaway game on an East Coast road trip, against a young, upstart 76er team. Damn the schedule makers-these things kill an older team like the Phoenix Suns. But Jared Dudley is not old. So we need not worry about that. And Steve Nash, well, he's happy, so his age doesn't really matter.
Dudley sparked the Suns down the stretch, shooting 6-7, (4-5 from three point range) and did his usual junkyard routine, scrapping for rebounds and loose balls. On a night when the Suns were clearly not at the top of their game, a spark was certainly needed. Tonight it was Jared Dudley whose play at both ends of the court gave the suns that extra needed boost to pull this one out.
Oh, did I mention Steve Nash scored 21 points and handed out 20 assists? Yeah, that doesn't hurt. Nor does Jason Richardson pouring in 29 points and picking up 8 rebounds. It is becoming apparent to this writer that the Phoenix Suns do not know how to lose.
The Suns had a difficult time at the defensive end tonight, losing the battle of the boards Andre Iguodola and Marese Speights led the way with 9 and 8, respectively. Jrue Holliday, and Speights impressed. Holliday proved a nightmare for Goran Dragic, while Speights played his former tutor Stoudemire tough.
The Suns found themselves behind, as the 76ers stretched their lead in the second quarter to double digits. But 9 third quarter points by Nash and a resurgent Amare Stoudemire helped bring the Suns within 2 points 86-84. The 76ers fought back though and held an eight point lead in the 4th. That was when Jared Dudley went to work, nailing two three pointers to pull the Suns back within 2.
- The Suns stretch lineup consisted of Barbosa, Dudley, Nash, Stoudemire and Richardson. It's nice to know the when Grant Hill leaves the game Jared Dudley replaces him without any drop off
- Dudley was clearly a hug factor in this game but managed to post a +/- of -3. HMM. I've never liked the statistic. This is a perfect example why, it certainly doesn't tell the whole story.
- Steve Nash lifted the Suns with 9 points in the third quarter. He and the resurgent Amare Stoudemire helped the Suns reduce the 76er lead to 86-84.
- With the Sixers up 102-94 and the Suns badly needing a lift, Dudley hit two three pointers to bring the Suns back within two.
- The Suns continued their torrid 3-point shooting, going 15-30 tonight. Jason Richardson went 6-8 and is in the top three in the league in 3 point makes. On the negative side, for the third game in a row the Suns still found free throws to be confounding as they struggled through three quarters to break the 60% mark.
- Amare Stoudemire was slowed for much of the game but pulled it together in the second half ending the night with a respectable 17 points and 6 rebounds in 40 minutes played.
- Steve Nash had 20 assists in 36 minutes of play. Think about that. He is simply amazing. Between his diet and simply feeling happy, this guy is playing like a 27 year old.
- Everyone see the Nash to Richardson alley-oop, with Richardson throwing down the reverse dunk??? That was as the kids say, totally sick.
- The awesome thing about this Suns team is that every night it seems like someone different comes in to provide a needed spark. Nash has been more than consistent, running the offense (at one point the Suns went 1-11 with Nash out of the game), but one man cannot usually win a game.
- Even though Grant Hill has struggled with back to back games this year, he was still only two rebounds away from a double double tonight. Goes to show you the basketball IQ of this guy. Even if he's not feeling it, he can still contribute and impact the game in a positive way.
- Next up for the Suns is a day off followed by back to back contests with the Hornets at home and the Lakers on the road.
- Game Recap
- Liberty Ballers
SUNS: Postgame Quotes: Suns 119, Sixers 115
“It was a great trip for us and it’s a great start to the season. We weren’t really sure what to expect from this team out of the gates. We were disappointed last year obviously and we want to avenge that. We want to a build a really nice chemistry and a great working environment and play together and play hard at the very least. If that’s good enough to get us into the playoffs, great.”- Steve Nash
Notes: Suns' Kerr sees team bonding
Frye is going through a process that all new Suns shooters have battled - turning down shots the coaches want him to take. Is Frye OK with firing away after misses? "Heck, no," Frye said. "They have to yell at me about it. I was 2 for 6 (to start Sunday's game), and I felt like the whole Earth was crashing down. They were like, 'Channing, keep shooting.' "I'm still working through it. I think ahead of myself. When I drove and nobody collapsed, I was like, 'Dang, now I have to shoot it,' instead of being aggressive. That's something I'll get progressively better at."