Phoenix Suns Stuff The Utah Jazz: 110-100

Robin Lopez walks off the court at the end of the Suns-Jazz game. (Photo by Max Simbron)

"I'm more impressed with the fact that we got it in the environment that we did. We hadn't beaten them yet obviously and coming down the stretch we pulled out a really clutch win in a playoff atmosphere and that's important for us."

Robin Lopez, Quote of the Game


With a ton of questionable calls (going both ways) and a lot of missed shots (going Utah's way), it wasn't exactly pretty, but it still is a BIG WIN for the Suns over the Jazz.

Amare Stoudemire and Robin Lopez absolutely torched the Jazz front line which was already thin without Andrei Kirilenko (calf) and made thinner by the loss of Mehmet Okurat halftime (stomach virus) and Kyrylo Fresenko (Ukrainian Foul Machine) picking up 6 fouls in only 9 minutes of play.

The Suns jumped all over the Jazz early, taking a quick 11-2 lead, with all 11 coming from Amare. The next six Suns points were scored by Robin, setting the tone for the night. Both guys were active and strong in the paint. Robin finished with 4 blocks, 19 points and 10 rebounds and led the Suns with a + 20. At least it was a +20 with a couple minutes to go. He ended up +14...but still.

Amare finished with 44 points on 14 of 16 shooting. He got to the line for 18 free tosses and made 16 of those.

The Jazz were banged up, tired, and did not play near to their peak level of performance but you have to be impressed, inspired and optimistic about the way the Suns front line controlled this game.

Robin was immense in the paint. So impressive to see what a defensive big can do for this team.

A needed win for the Suns.

I still can't get over how dominant the Suns were in the paint. Robin, in a game where fouls were being called quite freely, only had one going in to the final period. He ended the game with 5 but he clearly knew what he was doing late in the game and was selective about when and how he delivered his blows. Four blocks, 5 offensive rebounds, countless tips and altered shots. A real force. Lopeztipin_medium

Forget the 19 points (on 7 of 9 shooting). Robin's interior defense and rebounding are the one thing this Suns team has never had during the Nash era. Now we are seeing how a mobile, active, big, center can fit on this fast-paced Nash-lead team. The results are scary good.

Nash talked about how Robin and Amare help each other, "Robin's doing just fine on his own but I think the two of them together help each other because they're both threats. They're both causing different problems for the defense. We surround them with great shooters and play-makers and it's a nice balance."

Robin echoed that, "I think we're kind of able to open it up for one another. They have to block one of us out. Out of the pick and roll they have to guard one of us. We just open the lane up for each other."

With Amare playing at an extremely high-level and Robin coming in to his own, the Suns have a potent one-two punch in the paint. The pairing certainly has the potential to be one of the dominant big men tandems in the league.

Alvin Gentry has this to say about the game, "They were a little banged up and beat up, but that's all a part of being in the league. Injuries are part of it. We'll take a win any way we can get it. I thought we were really efficient on offense and did a great job defensively."

Other notes

  • Nash said the over his head "pass" to Robin was actually a shot. He said he knew he dragged a big man with him so he was just trying to get it on the rim for Robin. It happened to go right over the rim and into Robin's hands for an easy dunk
  • On his ejection, Coach Jerry Sloan claimed that he was complaining that Amare - who was on the bench at the time of the play - was allowed to come all the way down to his end of the court. That was his beef and then something happened where he apparently felt like he was in danger, "Security let him come all the way down in front of our bench. He didn't belong there." Then asked how it looked that he had his arm on the ref, Sloan said, "I'm worried about getting hit. That's what I was worried about." There's some speculation in the media room that was talking about the official, not Amare hitting him. Odd, to say the least
  • The SL Trib beat writer Ross Siler said that Sloan shoved the official, Michael Smith, and might be in for a multi-game suspension
  • For his part, Amare said the he left the bench after the buzzer sounded. He went down to high-five his mates. It was only after they reviewed the play that they put .2 seconds on the clock
  • Gentry said this about the high turnovers (23 TO's), "We weren't making the necessary plays. I thought we were trying to do things that was a little out of the box. I didn't think we really needed them. I thought we were really efficient offensively when we came down and just was very conservative and ran what we needed to do and took what the defense gave us. I thought we had some possessions there where we tried to create things that weren't there."
  • Gentry was happy with the energy the Suns played with but not too pleased with the transition defense
  • Boozer was impressed with Amare, "18 free throws and great finishes and he didn't miss too many shots. He really played great. A lot of pick and roll stuff, a lot of post ups, a lot of free throws. He took it to us tonight. He dominated the game."
  • Deron Williams agreed, "I'll second what Carlos said."
  • There was some chatter that one of Amare's two missed field goals really shouldn't have been counted as a "shot". Whatever
  • "Tonight we came out with great focus, we played well on both ends, got the lead and maintained it this time, which was very important and that was a key for us tonight," Amare opined on the game
  • The Spurs and Thunder both won tonight. The Spurs dropped like a 147 points on the Warriors and the Thunder destroyed the Raptors.
  • The Suns held the Jazz to 38.6% shooting which was the 9th time the Suns have held their opponent to under 40%. Five of those nine times have come during the current 17-5 stretch. DEFENSE!
  • 10 of the Suns 17 wins have come against playoff contenders
  • Amare has scored at least 19 points in 22 consecutive games. Two more games and he matches Tom Chambers' record from 1990

Amareblock_medium

 

 Post Game Audio:

Game Links

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • In the locker room pre-game, Grant Hill gave my new kicks some love. High praise indeed
  • Pretty good crowd
  • The Jazz radio guy was saying he expects the Jazz to lose this one b/c they are banged up and have played a lot recently. Whatever
  • Jerry Sloan - that crafty bastard - changed up ends so the Suns are attacking that way in the first half where as they usually attack the other way first
  • Amare with the first two buckets and a block on Memo to start the game. Uh huh. That's right. Max Contract is in the house
  • Carlos Boozer just got called for a little bump on Grant Hill as he crossed the lane. If they are going to call that kind of contact the Jazz are screwed
  • Suns up 9-2. Amare has 9 points. You do the math
  • Make that 11-2 w/ 11 pts for Amare
  • Amare w/ the AWESOME defense on Boozer coming from the weakside to contest, block andthen rebound. Boozer's been blocked twice already
  • Suns killing to so far. Up 17-8 and having their way w/ the Jazz defense
  • Jared Dudleyis pumped! They just showed all three of his dunks on the jumbotron!!
  • The Jazz really don't have a great front line. Boozer is solid but too short and Okur is a perimeter big. They don't defend well
  • Suns pick and roll is killing the Jazz. They are playing it pretty straight, trying to trap Nash and bring help but the help is slow and the Suns timing and spacing is excellent
  • Nash pull up three in D Will's grill. Suns are feeling it. 22-12 w/ 5 min to go
  • Nash going under screens on Deron, giving him the long ball. So far that's working
  • Pregame coffee and diet coke = high caffeine level and frequent men's room visits. TMI?
  • Bettter D by the Jazz out of a time out. Collapsed on Nash and forced the TO and scored on the run out. 28-20 Suns. 1:30
  • Jazz are 0-5 from three. That won't last. LB in to big cheers. JD picked up two quick fouls
  • Good D on that last possession. Amare switched on to Williams and forced him into help
  • Suns up 32-22. Suns out-shooting Jazz 57% to 38%. Up 14-11 TReb. Suns not on fire from three but still scoring easily. Amare was a beast. 15 and 3

2nd Qtr

  • Bench time. LB assists on a Frye open look., Nice
  • Grant with three fouls. That was a cheap one
  • Strangly officiated game. Lots of quick whistles for silly stuff
  • Nice swipe by Lou. Maybe we should call him Swiper
  • Goran looking for his shot in this game....not found it yet. 1-3
  • I really can't explain how Lou always manages to be in the right place for a rebound. I think I need to watch film of just him rebounding
  • Good idea, you should do that
  • Suns bench doing well. Not a pretty game but up 39-28 with 6:55 to go
  • Suns able to go with a 3 guard line up against this team - at least w/o AK47
  • You would think a game called as tightly as this would have more scoring. 40-30 with 6 min to go. 18 total fouls so far in the game and most of them on the perimeter for minor contact
  • Kiss Cam already? Not going to look.....DO NOT LOOK AT THE OLD PEOPLE KISSING
  • Nash and Amare back in. They got about a minute or two more rest than Boozer and D Will
  • Like that JRich made sure he got a shot off there. He's got to be a bit selfish at times
  • Robin in for Lou. Lou's got 4 reb in 7:45 min. Suns have 7 TO's. Not good. Jazz only have 34 points and about 10 of those are off TO's
  • subway sandwitches raining from the rafters....I think they should drop ice cream from above. That would be fun
  • Suns depth paying off. Grant and JD in foul trouble, Suns can play JRich at the three w/ Dragic at the two. Milsap gets three fouls and they have to go to Fresenko who is...goofy
  • I guess that was a behind the head over the rim lob from Nash to Robin. Or was it a circus shot gone wild?
  • Suns up 52-37. Suns D is playing well but the Jazz also look sluggish and are missing makeble shots

3rd Qtr

  • Good balanced scoring. Only Grant Hill is dragging it down w/ the goose egg. Jazz 14-44 shooting. Gentry can't be happy about the 9 Suns turnovers which account for 7 Jazz points
  • Robin showing his value in the paint just staying tall and deflecting shots, and grabbing the board. Playing big and strong. Way to go, Robin!
  • Fresenk starts the 2nd half. I guess Okur wasn't goofy enough...of course Memo isn't even on the Jazz bench right now so it's probably something more mundane like an injury
  • 4th foul on Fresenko...Jazz are going to run out of Bigs. Wonder if they can get Koufos here by the 4th qtr?
  •  It is impossible for Nash to slow down, let alone stop Williams in the open court
  • Report from Jazz that Okur left the game with a "possible stomach virus" and will not return. In other words, he's puking his guts out right now
  • Suns keeping the pressure on. Up 60-43 already (9:20)
  • Kyrylo picks up his 5th foul. Milsap in. He's got 3 fouls.
  • Robin is a doing an awesome job in the paint but he needs to tuck his shirt in before he gets a fine...Oh, good. He did
  • Amare shooting well. Very very well. 8-9 from the field and 7-7 from the line.
  • Insane calls in this game. Both coaches have reason to be pissed
  • Suns up 68-51 dealing with it much better but still...makes for a yucky game. YUCKY
  • Amare still playing hard. Hauling ass back in transition try and block a shot. Didn't get it but love the effort. A++
  • Grant Hill is quietly having a very quiet game. Robin on the other hand is playing so hard his shirt won't stay tucked in and Amare is a BEAST
  • 4th foul on Amare as he and Robin get crossed up. Amare thought they were switching but Robin stayed w/ Boozer which left Milsap wide open. Tough break. Frye in
  • WOW!!! Hill w/ the block from behind! Frye with the block on the rebound. JRich w/ the three!!! GREAT sequence!! Suns up 74-56 w/ 4 min
  • Suns playing very unselfish ball. So fun to watch
  • Even Channing is inflicting some pain in the lane. Hard foul in Milsap followed by an elbow going for a rebound. Suns playing HARD
  • Amare's streak of consecutive made FT's ended at 33...congrats!
  • Jazz on a little run - cut it to 79-64
  • Jarron Collins in. Interesting. Suns up 81-66 running the offense through Grant Hill in the post
  • Lead down to 14. Still think the Suns are fine but not thrilled with letting up. 81-67

4th Qtr

  • No way the Suns blow this lead now. Right? RIGHT?
  • LB with a nice three. Timely
  • Robin and Amare start the 4th to take advantage of thin Jazz front line
  • Not a good game from Goran
  • And Nash in early at the 10 min mark proving my point
  • After giving up 37 in the first half, Jazz drop 30 in the 3rd
  • Nice buddy hug from Robin on Amare
  • Suns have 9 blocks in this game. 3 from Robin, 2 each from Grant and Amare and 1 for Steve and Jason as well
  • Fresenko fouls out with 9 minutes of play. Epic
  • Robin just picked up his 2nd foul in a game where the whistles are fast and free and he's not exactly been timid
  • 4th block from Robin! He's also got 19 pts and 10 reb
  • Suns back up 20. 92-72 with 8:18 to go
  • Amare powers through a foul for a nice little hook in the lane and bobs his head in approval. Bob away, Amare. You've earned it
  • Sundiata Gaines playing well. Good D and passing
  • Suns lead down to 14. 94-80 with 6:15 to go. Not the dominating close out we were hoping for
  • Jarron Collins has played 27 seconds and is a minus 1
  • Out of the time out Suns get 4 quick points - both of steals!
  • Jazz doubling Amare. Bring a guard down when he makes his move. Amare needs to adjust
  • Looks like DWill is done for the game if he's not in now
  • Jason missed a couple three's that would have been huge. Back to a 14 point game.
  • 16 point game
  • Jeffers and Gaines both playing really well
  • Suns playing through Amare now. Giving him the ball every time down the floor in the post
  • The Wave? Really, Phoenix?
  • Robin gets a well-deserved ovation as he leaves the game with 30 seconds to go
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