Deron Williams celebrates as a dejected Steve Nash walks off. (Photo by Max Simbron)
Suns came out of the huddle on fire, quickly building an 11-2 lead with 6 of those coming from Robin. He and Amare dominated the boards early.
They got themselves a nice 10 point lead after 1 and then managed to keep it pretty even through the 2nd. The Jazz certainly stepped it up but I guess they forgot that Grant Hill is FREAKIN AWESOME! He had 9 points and 3 rebounds and another great block and a YouTube worthy dunk. Took a couple of charges, too.
Nash was bloody brilliant through the first half, with 14 points and 8 assist in 18 minutes. "We have Steve Nash and you don't." (prize to anyone that knows the origin of that quote).
Overall a darn good half of basketball. Great energy. Great effort. Solid play from both sides. The Suns did have 9 turnovers (4 for Nash, 3 for Hill) and gave up 11 OReb but with the Jazz only shot 40%, there were a lot of missed shots to grab.
Amare played well with 10 points and 3 rebounds in the first half before going nuts in the second. He finished with 30 points on 17 shots but he did miss 5 free throws and only had 7 rebounds.
The Sun managed to keep the lead around ten during the third despite Nash sitting with four fouls half-way through but the Jazz came back in the fourth hitting a number of three's and playing solid D forcing 4 Suns turnovers. They outscored the Suns 41 to 22 in the fourth. That's painful. That's really, really sucky.
The Jazz were able to close it out the same way they got back in the game - by forcing turnovers and hitting threes.
It was a great game for most of the night but the Suns just couldn't keep up the energy at the end. It was a tightly called contest which made for an ugly one but it was a good taste of the playoffs to come. Painful loss. Very painful.
Some numbers to chew on:
- Jazz were +9 on the offensive glass and 43-38 overall. So much for glass domination
- Suns had 19 turnovers to 13 for the Jazz
- Jazz shot 12 of 24 from three. Suns finished 5 of 19
- Jazz had 38 FTA's to 28 for Suns. Suns missed 8 of them
- Deron Williams was awesome. 27 points, 9 assists, and 5 for 9 from three. He made up for missing those free throws in their loss to the Clippers
I know this is a painful loss for everyone. Players. Fans. Max Simbon who got run over by Kriilenko after Lopez took him out with a flagrant foul. But I agree with Gentry in his post gamer when he said, "It's not so much what we didn't do, it's more so what they did do. They made the necessary shots and came up with good defensive play, and I really though we kind of ran out of gas at the end. That's asking a lot of Grant and Steve."
The Suns gave it their all for about 45 minutes. The game was tied at the 1:50 mark. The Jazz had scored 31 points up to that time which is a lot but not an absurd amount considering they were 7 for 11 from three in the quarter. They dropped 10 more points in the final 80 seconds with two dagger threes by Williams and Okur and a handful of meaningless free throws.
I will have to go back and look at the fourth quarter again, but my sense is that they were just hitting shots. They are a good team and Williams is going to force you to collapse in the paint and then he's going to find the open man. Exactly like Nash. The difference was they hit their shots and the Suns went ice cold going 1 for 9 from downtown in the 4th.
It sucks losing to the team we are chasing but I don't think this game has any greater meaning beyond a tired team getting beat by a well rested Jazz squad that was pissed about losing to the Clippers.
Don't go jumping off any bridges tonight. There's still plenty of games left. And shame on you anyway if you let yourself start believing this Suns team is somehow in the top tier of the Western Conference. Or even in the 2nd tier for that matter. Not yet, anyway and tonight showed that.
Oh, and how awesome is Grant Hill? I almost asked him if he drank Sprite but he didn't seem to be in the right mood for that. He did talk about eating well and getting plenty of sleep as part of his "secret".
Post game Audio
In game Notes
- Wow Grant. Block much? Holy ancient legs
- Suns missing some early shots but dominatrixing on the boards. Robin is active as is Amare
- This team looks really good right now. Super active. Energy is great.
- Suns killing in the paint! ROBIN!!!! Sloan w/ the early TO
- 8 to 3 rebounding edge. Robin already has 3 himself...and 6 points too. Suns up 11-2
- Jazz coming back after two Nash turnovers, some nice Jazz passing and a D Will three. 16-10
- Nash responds w/ five quick points. Of course
- Lot of Jazz fans here
- Nash going under a lot of screens daring Deron to shoot. He is and he's making them
- They're calling a pretty tight game. I think that helps us
- Jazz fan in the front row (but behind me) yelled at JRich, "You need to accept my Facebook invitation buddy!". Jason just smiled
- If the Suns are going to hit their three's like this it's over
- Clark in the game Earl(y)...with the big boys. See how this goes. Hope someone told him that he's not the best shooter on the floor
- Great D by Amare to help and then recover quickly to block Boozers shot
- and Clark shoots and misses
- Hill with the buzzer beater!!
- Or is it? The refs by the way are about 10 ft directly in front of me reviewing the play. The one white dude looks like he's 16
- No good on that shot but still...great start for the home team 34-24. Suns 73% shooting to 35% for Jazz
- Huge cheer in the crowd for old people kissing on Kiss Cam. GROSS!!!!
- Grant Hill running the point...so far, not good
- Nice baseline cut from Dudley and high to low pass from Frye. That was Jazz-like
- Grant posting up Miles = win
- Jazz switching all the Suns screens leaving Hill on a small. Nice basic offense
- Now that was nice. Earl cuts to the ball and finishes in the paint. IN THE PAINT, EARL. NO J's
- Nash and Robin checking back in
- GRANT HILL OWNING THE YOUTUBE!!!
- Dumb foul, Dudley. Don't bite on the up fake. You can't block the guys shot anyway
- Suns up 48-38. Treading water which is fine when you are 10 points above the tide...(huh?)
- Grant takes his second charge. He's just awesome right now
- Sundiata in the game
- D Will and AK both have 3 fouls
- Group of Jazz fans yelling "offense" every time they do the "defense" thing on the speaker dealie
- Why are there so many Jazz fans in Phoenix?
- Nash pissed about a call so he comes back on the other end and pisses all over Jazz
- Refs put the wrong guy on the line. What a cluster fuck. Lots of fun for me though listening to Gentry go off on the refs about it
- Nash says EFF YOU and gets his bucket anyway
- Steve Nash is still AMAZING!
- JRich looks off. Sick or something
- and Sundiata Gaines does his thing
- Ugly post up by Robin followed by Amare losing Okur followed by a turnover and Jazz run out. Not a great start
- That's better. Robin block. Amare gets the loose ball, Nash drives it up court and finds Jason open for a corner three. More please
- Amare smacks him a Turk
- It's really amazing to watch Amare catch and finish through contact
- Suns up 10 so that's good
- This certainly feels like a playoff game
- Nash picks up his fourth foul and gets replaced by Dudley. Suns up 74-63 with 6:41. What's going to happen now!!! Stay tuned. DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL
- Amare doing well this quarter.
- Deron playing off the ball curls around screen for a shot. He missed it. Thought you might want to know. Did you?
- Remember when I said that calling it tight helped the Suns? Not with Nash in foul trouble but Suns doing a solid job holding the lead w/ Steve on the bench. That's so nice to say
- That call on Frye was a foul but man...they could call that on every play
- Grant Hill gets all Hilly with it again!
- Lou, Dudley, Amare, Clark and Hill...never seen that line up before, have you
- Nice effort by Clark fighting for that missed free throw. Shouldn't have two missed FT's though
- Lou and Amare smothered Gaines
- Grant picks up his 3rd charge of the game. Suns ran a nice play to get Clark open at the rim. He missed
- Great job holding the lead with Nash on the bench. 86-75
- Dudley D's em up and forces the over and back violation. I would not want to be violated over my back. For the record
- D Will hits a couple of three's to make is a 5 point game
- Guy wins $10k Deron Williams is interested in all the details..then walks over the Amare and says, I got 10 large in my sock. What's the big deal
- Missed way too many FTs
- HUGE THREE in transition for Jason!! Suns up 96-85
- That was a dumb foul by Frye. His 5th
- Jazz hitting a bushel of three's
- That was a sweet little play at the 5:26 mark. I want to watch that again.
- Jazz cut and pass so well. They are always working to get an open look. Suns meanwhile missing shots
- Jazz tie the game at 98 on Memo's three
- Building ERUPTS on a JRich dunk to take the lead back. Great game!
- Amare looks tired. Suns going to Jason down the stretch. Robin back in w/ 3:36 to go. Suns up 102 - 100
- Bad time for a turnover and silly reach in foul on the run out.
- 102-103 with 2:50 to go
- Robin just erased AK47 but earned the flagrant in the process. He missed 1 of 2 but Jazz keep the ball. 106-104 Jazz with 2:15 to go. Offensive foul on Jazz so all in all a good foul from Robin
- JASON parachutes in from China for that follow dunk but D Will answers w/ a three. Ouch
- Did I mention this was a great game?
- Okur w/ a buzzer beater three on a great through the legs pass by Deron. Jazz up 4 with 58 seconds to go
- Boozer blocks Frye's corner three leads to a run out. Damn
- Suns down 5 with 45 seconds to go.
- Boozer missed two free throws but secure the rebound
- Suns defense disappeared in the 4th...