The Suns came out strong and and finished strong to go 1-0 in what Coach Gentry has described as an eight game season.
Nash was amazing in this game. After getting torched by Brooks for 30 in their last meeting and putting up 27 shots to get his 32 points. Tonight, Steve was selectively assertive and deadly effective going 9 for 15 for 25 points in addition to his 17 assists and only 1 turnover. On a night where the NBA is promoting conservation and environmental awareness, Captain Canada was the model of efficiency.
Running and flying with Nash was the ageless wonder
Grant Hill Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq battled Yao in a classic big man match-up featuring Yao's outside touch and hook shots and Shaq's best Amare impression as he rolled to the rim for several amazingly athletic alley-oops. If watching little Nate Robinson deliver massive jams is fun because of his size, watching The Beast fly through the air like JRich was even more so. As Jose Lima used to say, "Unbeleeevable."
The big men played to a draw with Shaq putting up 22 and 10 and Yao 20 and 12 with Shaq having the inside advantage going to the line 11 times to Mings 3 attempts.
Grant Hill rounded out the trio of Suns veteran leaders who played just under 40 minutes going for 23 points on 10 for 12 shooting. Hill played solid D on Artest even when Ron Ron got hot in the third and went on a Kobe-like streak of hitting well contested outside shots.
Rounding out the starting five were Richardson and Barnes who finally showed up and delivered some timely shooting, explosive offense and solid defense (in the case of Barnes). I don't know why these two younger guys played so poorly on the road trip but the former Warriors got it going tonight.
The bench looked solid again at home with Dragic giving good minutes backing up Nash and Amundson bring his brand of energetic defense and shoot blocking. Lou had 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 16 minutes.
The star off the bench right now at least while Barbosa is recovering is Jared Dudley. JD brought it again playing great on both ends coming up with big shots and hustle plays.
Robin Lopez did get into the game on his 21st birthday at least for 46 seconds where his box score showed on foul and a lot of zeros. I believe that's counts as a one trillion. Look for the Suns to post a hilarious video clip of Shaq and Tucker in Ro-fro wigs singing and dancing for Robin's birthday. Great stuff.
The Rockets came out sluggish and slow and gave the Suns a big lead but they turned up the defense in the second half holding the Suns to 47 points after giving up 67 in the first.
They looked decent but Scola was a non-factor and Aaron Brooks as nice as he is offensively, looked massively out-sized by Steve Nash. Think about that. Brooks really needs to be coming off the bench in this league.
Von Wafer and his mohawk gives the Rockets a great Barbosa-like bench punch and Mount Mutombo managed one point and one finger wag in four minutes.
Nice win for the home team. Unfortunately, with the Mavs squeaking one out against the Heat the Suns are still four games back with seven games to go.
All the Suns can do is continue to play hard and have fun which is what tonight's game was all about.
Be sure to drop by and say howdy to the great ole Texas boys over at The Dream Shake
Thanks to our partners at Sports 620 KTAR for the audio