The Suns started out the game with all of their shots falling a bit short, and that continued for the entire half as they went into halftime with a 12-point deficit. They once again faced a major rebounding deficit, yet this time they didn't offset those missed opportunities with shotmaking.
In fact, they made it worse. 4-20 on 3ptrs all night long (after hitting 22 the night before), barely over 42% overall for the game.
So the Suns had no chance, right? Coming off an emotional win the night before while the Nuggets hadn't played since Thursday, and with memories of getting run off the court by the Nugs in preseason... well...like I said: no chance.
Not with THIS Suns team. The Suns somehow fought back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit twice to a measly 2 pts as Suns fans questioned whether Denver's psyche was missing that killer instinct. Then Denver recovered a bit, reopening the lead to 7 points on end-of-quarter offensive rebounds and Suns turnovers. In fact, it would have been a 9-point Denver lead if Lawson could hit free throws.
OK, THIS time it was over, right?
After Denver started the fourth strong, pushing the lead out to 8, the Suns second unit flexed its muscle. Featuring Hedo, Warrick and Frye on the front line, with Childress and Dragic in the backcourt, the Suns outscored the Nuggets 18-6 in the first six minutes to take a 5-pt lead (87-82).
Hedo, Warrick and Frye along that front line, with Childress and Dragic in the backcourt. I love that lineup!
Hedo was the Hedo we always wanted (9 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blocks, 3 assists, 1 steal, and another BIG THREE to nail down the win, and then a BLOCK on Billups!). Warrick was the Warrick we always wanted (21 pts on p-n-r). In fact, with Childress giving us his own magic (10 pts and 8 rebs), can anyone question the value of the summer moves any more?
Those three carried the Suns to a BIG win over Denver on the second night of a back-to-back with no rebounders in the entire lineup.
Sleep well, Suns fans!
We've got ourselves a team to reckon with. Watch out, Western Conference!
[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/15/10 10:22 PM MST ]
Phoenix Suns With Impressive Defensive Effort To Down Denver Nuggets, 100-94 - SB Nation Arizona
The Suns easily could have rolled over and used the second of a back-to-back excuse, but they kept fighting and clawed their way to the win. This was the most impressive win of the season so far just based on the grit and determination the Suns showed.
and go vote in this poll about Amare and his comments about his new team...
Amare Stoudemire Struggles With The New York Knicks: Do Phoenix Fans Care? - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
What is surprising, at least to Amare, is that all NBA teams don't have the same chemistry and work ethic as the Suns teams he's been a part of. In a move that I am sure Amare feels is "leadership-y," he publicly called out his Knicks team for lack of effort.
Grant Hill Calls Suns Win Over Nuggets 'More Fulfilling' Than Win Over Lakers - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
Two nights. Two games. Two wins for the Phoenix Suns over Western Conference rivals. The first over the hated Los Angeles Lakers on their floor where the Suns have struggled and the second at home against the Denver Nuggets who haven't won in Phoenix in 11 (now 12) tries.
You would think the Lakers win would be more satisfying and more fulfilling for the team but when you consider how the games were won, there's really no comparison. Grant Hill explains:
I wonder if those guys who said the Suns were done and should trade Nash will publish some kind of recant? Not likely.
Post game audio:
- Channing Frye won the tip. That's new. Then again, Nene doesn't exactly have much spring left in those knees
- Aaron Afflalo just abused JRich in the post. Didn't have that one scouted in my pregame notes
- Hedo has the Sheldon Williams assignment. That's got to be a relief for him. Probably the worst PF he's seen all season
- And Mr. Candace Parker promptly scores. Of course
- Suns taking lots of threes. Not hitting any of them though. Or much else for that matter
- Now no one wants to take a three
- I guess I missed the memo that Afflalo is the Nuggets number one option on offense. SMH
- OK, so this is going to be one of those games that they call ticky-tack off the ball contact. OK, got it
- This game is being played in slow-motion. Good thing the Nuggets look just as lethargic as the Suns
- The Nuggets keep switching Sheldon Williams on to Nash but he's not lighting him up...yet
- Billups jawing at Hill who's at the FT line (missed both) about that charge call Grant drew on the other end
- Jared Dudley might have athletic hands but Hedo has smart hands. Nice strip and pick
- Suns now 0-4 from three. Guess they shoot themselves out last night. Nuggets can't hit anything either
- 13-13 with 3:44. Not your typical Suns-Nugs game. Not that defense gets any credit as much as both teams missing shots
- Sarcastic applause for Suns DReb FTW
- Kiss Cam....averting the eyes. Public displays of affection are so 90's
- Dragic and EARL CLARK into the game. EARL!!! Let the Era of Earl's begin!!!
- Hakim Warrick is playing center. I guess.
- Clark goes coast to coast and gets to the line. OK, I can live with that since he passed up a contested J on the last trip down
- Ty Lawson is very quick w/ the ball. Slippery quick
- Dragic with another crazy insane drive and finish in traffic. One man fast break
- 22-20, Denver. Bench for both teams out-playing starters
- Suns dancers, dancing to Journey played a 125% speed. Huh?? Is it 70's night and I missed it
- Suns shot 26.9% in the 1st qtr and were 0-6 from three. Nuggets 40% and 0-3 from three but had 6 TOs
- This Gary Forbes can ball
- Earl Clark not looking quite as destructive out there but Suns bench getting out-played by Nuggets starters
- We've found Garret Siler's talent! The guy can sing!!!! Gani Lawal, not so much
- This is a pretty decent lineup out there w/ Dragic, Dudley, Childress, Frye and Warrick. In theory anyway
- Denver now up 40-29. Can't get any stops here
- Nash and Jrich and Hedo and Hill back in. That should help...or not
- About this point the word you are searching for is "schedule loss"
- Drank too much coffee. Brb
- What'd I miss? I heard "Graaaaant Hill" a few times but the I can back and the Suns are still down 12
- Oops. Grant and JRich blow a 2 on 1 fast break
- 3rd foul on Nene. That's good news b/c he's killing Suns in the paint
- The Gorilla dressed up as Mr. T is funny b/c half the people here have no idea who Mr. T is and the other half are too old to remember
- JRich woke up and hit a J to cut lead to 10
- You know, I am starting to think there's a good reason Hedo doesn't go to the rim much. He really doesn't finish well in the paint
- Leave it to Grant and Steve to play smart, controlled basketball and patiently take advantage of Billups cross-matched on Hill. But then Billups attacks Hill on the other end and draws a foul. Those savvy old vets
- Still not pretty but at least the intensity turned up for both teams in the 2nd qtr
- 58-46, Denver. This might be the night they break the streak
- I'll have you know I've not had halftime ice cream once this season
- 50% shooting for Denver, 35% for Phoenix. 42 points in the paint for Den, 20 for Phx.
- Chauncey, Gentry, Hill and Igor showing some love before the half. Don't forget that Igor was in Detroit too. I know you forgot that but don't worry, I got your back
- JR Smith with a DNP-CD so far. That's interesting...not that I care
- Sweet spin move and finish from JRich. Time to get him going, only 5 points in the 1st half
- JRich again. See
- JRich again but missed. Game plan = Give JRich the ball = brilliant
- The tired legs are obvious on a play like that where Hill laid in a ball he normally dunks
- Whoa, was that Channing Frye with the drive and finish? Mark the time, 8:59 of the 3rd quarter. I want to watch that one again on the Tivo machine
- Video of Suns dancer in workout clothes showing off exercises for the chest...not so subtle there
- Nugs lead down to 6 btw, 60-54
- Nene powers through the lane and brushes off Hedo's attempt to foul him like it was nothing. It wasn't anything
- Hedo drives and doesn't convert
- I am hopeful that eventually these good Suns defensive rotations will result in good defensive results on the score board, they haven't yet and aren't tonight
- And Hill gets T'd up. That's like the third T of the game. See also earlier bullet about refs calling ticky-tack stuff off the ball
- Very impressed with that ref's kicking motion to indicate a kicking violation
- So Grant and JRich both go up for a rebound. No Nuggets around. Grant lets Jason have it. Wonder if Grant thought to himself, he's in a big contract year, I'll let him have it
- Oh, btw, the Suns really turning up the pressure and intensity here. No quit in this team. Still down 67-61. Getting a bit chippy (or is it chipy? Or maybe chippie??)
- Chilly w/ the put-back dunk cuts it to 67-65. Crowd is pleased, Nuggets are not
- I've yet to see Josh Childress look like a great perimeter defender, Grant still much much better staying in front of his man
- And yet another ref with a very demonstrative recreation of the foul he just called on Ty Lawson
- Nash backs off Lawson to avoid getting blown-by and Ty calmly hits a J. That kid can play
- Great ball movement off the trap on Nash. Nash to JRich to Warrick in the paint. Snappy
- If Suns have a chance it will be late in the fourth when the Nuggets hopefully wear down. They are playing Melo big minutes
- 76-69, Den. Much better qtr for Phx.
- Hedo on the court with the bench. Interested to see how this looks
- Melo bullied right through Chilly and drew the foul. He's a tough cover but you knew that
- Both teams really small right now which allows Warrick to get an OReb and nice little put back in the lane
- Hedo has one point in the game and five rebounds
- 6 rebounds
- Chilly with another fly-in put-back. He's pretty good at that, isn't he
- Nice ball movement to get Goran a wide open three but he can't connect
- Credit to Hedo there for solid D on Ty Lawson on the cross-match
- Melo has 19 rebounds and 16 points...getting his Love on. Get it?
- Hedo with his first bucket of the game, came in the paint
- Warrick might have better back to the basket post moves than Amare. Tie game at 81, starters still resting
- Another impressive demonstration from the ref, glad people are getting their money's worth getting to see them in action
- Great swarm defense on Nene in the paint to deny him an easy bucket. Can't fault the effort here
- And there he is! Turk finishes a drive and gets the foul. He does seem more aggressive when Nash isn't on the floor with him...or maybe not. What do you think?
- Nicely executed Hedo/Warrick pick and roll gets two for Hak
- 87-82, Suns. 6:00 to go. Gentry in no rush to put his bench back in. Time out Denver
- Starters back in minus Richardson and Hill and plus Josh and Hakim
- Perfect lob pass from Hedo to Hak who was being fronted. One thing that Turk can do is feed the post
- Huge shot for Frye at the end of the clock. I don't think we have to worry if he forgot how to shoot
- Billups the bulk of the Nuggets offense right now
- Except for that insane shot from Melo. 92-89, Suns with 3:44. Let's see if Phx can close this one out. Hill back in for Chill
- Suns doing a nice job looking for Hak after the switch instead of just all Steve
- Steve hits the wide open three!!!
- Warrick inside out to Hedo for another big three!!! Suns up 98-89
- I'm gonna be honest, I thought for sure the Suns were dead in this one. Very impressed with the fight in this team. Not over yet though, 2:48 to go
- Big Shot Billups cuts it to 98-92 with a quick shot
- Now Nash going away from what worked and trying to attack Nene on his own. Nothing on the last two trips down. Move the ball around please and find the mismatch
- Well, right idea but Warrick traveled with Afflalo on his back. A bit too anxious
- Hedo with the block/strip to give Suns ball back. BALL!!!!
- 98-92 with 1:10 to go
- Right back to Warrick with the mismatch. Nuggets not bringing help b/c they're afraid of Suns shooters. Warrick fouled and to the line for two FTs
- Another great defensive possession by Hedo to contest Melo's three
- That should do it. 100-94 with 17 sec to go. Nuggets not going to foul. Ball game