The defensive effort from the young Suns bench was the difference in the game as Phoenix beat Dallas 112-106. (Photo by Max Simbron)
You know what they say, defense and rebounding wins championships and tonight the Suns defense was clearly the story of the game or at least the final chapter where the Suns held the Mavs to 6 of 21 (28%!) in the fourth.
Amare Stoudemire was not part of that. He did have 22 points in 26 minutes on a nice 7/13 shooting night but his 1 rebound and 5 turnovers must have convinced Coach Gentry that it was time to do put aside egos, or trade value implications, or offense for that matter and just get the win the old fashion way. Defense.
Amare was all good with it in the locker room. Saying the right things, smiling for the cameras, "It's all good. I brung out the pom-poms for the fourth quarter. They did a great job out there on the court so I just had to cheer them on...We got the win which is the most important thing so we've just got to live with that."
Amare said this was the first time he remembers sitting out a fourth quarter.
It's hard to say what this means for the future but Coach Gentry did his best to beat down that kind of speculation,
"He's been a great teammate this year. He understood that we were going pretty good with Lou and the way the lineups were we were switching a lot of things. It was just the way it worked out. At the end of the day the guy had 22 points for us. He helped us win as much as anyone. So I wouldn't read anything into that at all. Hey, I took Steve out to put Goran in defensively and we talked about it the other day. We just got to do whatever we think we need to do to help us win the game."
The best compliments for the Suns came from the Mavericks.
Coach Carlisle, "Their bench was the difference and they played a very physical game and i though that was the difference."
Jason Kidd, "Their second unit was a lot better than the guys that were on the floor."
Jason Terry, "We've got to get the ball into people's hands that can put it in the basket."
The difference for the Suns between the energy and defensive effort between the starters and the bench was night and day and it started in the second quarter where the reserve unit of Dragic, Dudley, Frye, Amundson and Clark out scored Dallas 18 to 15 and changed the tone of the game after a slow start that had the Suns down 20-10 within a few minutes.
In the fourth quarter it was the combination of Hill, Dudley, Frye and Amundson that picked up the heaviest load with Dragic playing the first 6:38 before Nash was able to come in rested and ready to close out the final 5:22.
Dudley said this about the different approach the Suns took to winning the game with defense, "We had a line up that we could just switch so much different and between me and Grant switching on him we definitely limited Nowitzki and Terry in the second half."
Hill and Dudley both did a great job on Dirk. He finished with 19 points on 11 shots and had 10 FTA's but in crucial fourth quarter the Suns held him to only one attempt (a miss) by playing him physical off the ball and denying him his spots. You have to defend Dirk before the catch and make him work to even receive the ball and Hill and Dudley did exactly that.
Switching picks was certainly also a big key to the Suns defense in the fourth quarter. With that group on the floor they were able to mix it up and didn't let the Mavericks use screens to get open looks like they had earlier in the game.
Physical, smart, aggressive defense. About as common of a sight in Phoenix as snow but just as exciting and welcome.
Post Game Audio:
Post Game Links:
- Nice crowd for this game. Hope that helps
- Jet goes right by Nash to hit a floater in the lane. JRich in the post starts it off for the Suns. Both connect
- Amare hits his first two shots. He looks focused
- Dirk just hip checked Hill's head in the stanchion. Hill had fallen and was "sitting"
- Plenty of scoring if that's your thing
- Wow. Went to Robin in the paint to work against Dampier. Didn't work but first time I've seen that
- Three or maybe five early turnovers. Mavs up 20-10
- Can the Suns come back? In their current mental state, I doubt it
- Can't be long now before Gentry's forced into the zone
- Dirk's hair is boring these days
- Suns close a little to 26-18
- Suns go to the zone...give up a couple of quick wide open shots
- and the zone goes away and the Suns give up another bucket
- Amare fouls Dirk on the Landry Teeth Elbow
- 34-25 Mavs. No defense to speak of. Amare two fouls. 6 turnovers (none for Dallas)
- Mavs being aggressive getting into the paint and to the line. Suns are taking jump shots. Sound familiar? It's like 3 years ago
- 2nd unit playing much better D
- Goran can't buy a whistle with ten bucks an Amex card
- Like I said, Goran drives and gets the and 1
- Keeping it close by hitting shots but 8 turnovers? That won't do
- I do like this line up of Dragic, Dudley, Clark, Lou and Frye. Good D. Switching all picks and doubling Dirk
- Beaubois w/ three fouls - sits. Goran goes again to the rim and gets the and 1
- Frye's three cuts it to 41-44. Bench way outplaying starters. Again
- Louuuuuuu w/ the block
- Nash and Hill back in 5:02. Suns down 43-49. Dragic sits. I'm worried...
- I love that Nash/Amare slipped pick play. Almost always results in something good. I would run that about 20 times in a row
- Surprisingly, Hill's 1 on 2 defense doesn't work
- Robin is not having a good game. And his shirt is untucked as well
- Strong move by Robin!! Great dunk-ish
- Amare in and then right back out. Frye and Robin on the floor together
- Dirk could hit a jump shot with a hand inside his eyeballs and another squeezing his balls
- 55-59...not bad after that start
- Amare has 1 rebound
- Love walking by all the rich people at the AOT lounge under stands. They all look at me an I can tell they are thinking, "there goes that blogger..."
- Suns have more points in the paint, more second chance points, more rebounds, are shooting better but also gave up 16 points off turnovers
- They just whistled Grant Hill for "impedance". Aren't you supposed to get in the other guys way?
- Grant slowly walked up court and never got into the play which took 10 seconds to develop. Grant really is getting old
- Tie game at 62
- Tie game at 64
- Dirk much more physical then he used to be
- Robin just motioned Amare to get the hell out of the low block. Amare did
- Nice iso drive by JRich on Kidd
- Love being able to hear refs and coaches yell at eachother
- Grant doing a fab job on Dirk....as much as you can on Dirk that is
- Wow! Frye just rocked the rim! Hoop is still swaying
- Suns keeping it close. Much better defense this half
- Hill picks up his 4th foul...Mavs are going to Dirk over and over and over. Can you blame them?
- Mavs not doing a good job defending the middle pick and roll. Amare getting to the line a lot
- Dirks, spin fadeaway is the prettiest shot in basketball and completely indefensible
- 90-84 after buzzer beater from Barea
- Right before the 4th qtr started I locked eyes with Goran and he looked at me as if to say, 'I got this'
- Clark is a black hole on offense
- Thank you, Goran for that three. I know you hit that one just for me as payback for having faith in you when no one else did
- Clark with the three!!! That had to be his first three of his career to close it to 90-92. Both teams still shooting lights out
- Frye thinks he's Dirk and tries the turnaround fade-away. He's not Dirk
- I want to see Goran get really aggressive here and start looking for his shot
- 97-98 Mavs...getting there. Dudley is inside Dirks shorts
- I have a pretty damn good view of the Suns dancers....dancing
- Nash in, Dragic out but Dudley playing the 2 with Hill at 3, Lou and Frye up front
- OOOOH Louuuuu Slam to give Suns lead
- Mavs 5 fouls in this quarter. Suns none
- Crowd groans as Hill passes up an open three
- Sending Lou to the line is probably better than letting Suns shoot
- Suns really picking up the intensity...Amare benched for the end of the game?
- This unit is playing great. Solid D. Rebounding and still scoring the ball
- Nash with the three!! That extra rest Goran gives him really helps down the stretch
- Suns up 105-100. 3 min to go
- Mavs have gone w/ 3 guards most of this quarter
- Wow - tough shot by Barea right over Frye's arms. Ouch
- No jinx, but this would be a tough loss
- Dudley D'ing it up!!!
- Lou with the underhand scoop off the pick and roll! Amare who?
- Wonder if we are suddenly going to hear about some kind of Amare "ailment"
- Marion with the gift to his old team! Misses the bunny!
- 3pt lead. 42 seconds. Suns ball. A bucket here is huge
- AND NASH DELIVERS!!!
- Suns up 5 with 30 seconds. Mavs ball
- Gentry not screwing around. Nash out for the defensive possession. Amare benched. He doesn't care about trades or who's making how much money. He wants this game
- 2nd unit and bench players D won this game. Gentry with the balls to bench Amare as well
- Dragic with the great D. Nice way to close it out
You may not resume your regularly scheduled trade talk.