In an unexpected turn of events the Suns started hot and the Nuggets pretty much packed it in after getting down 20-5 by the 6:32 mark of the first.
"We jumped on them early and that team doesn't play well behind. They're more of team that's when they're up, everything is going well," Jared Dudley said about his opponent.
It's almost too much to believe or get excited about. I find myself wanting to make excuses for Denver. They played last night. They got some bad calls. The Suns were hot...get it? Suns, hot?
But really this was just an old-fashioned butt-kicking by a Suns team that has Denver's number and were the better team in every aspect of the game.
With this win (and the Jazz victory), the Suns have now secured home court in the first round. A win tomorrow in Utah can land the 3 seed. Utah played tonight and had Carlos Boozer leave the game with a rib injury. Without Boozer and Kirilenko, the Suns stand a good chance of winning that game.
But you have to ask yourself, do you really want the 3 seed and a date with the Spurs or Blazers or would you rather see the Nuggets again in a 4-5 match up?
Tough call but one thing for sure, don't mess with karma and try and force things. You go to Utah and try and get the win.
Amare the Bully Boy with 26 points on 10 of 16 shooting and 8 rebounds (27 minutes)
Jason Richardson with 14 points and 7 rebounds including 7 points to start the game off right (30 minutes)
Steve Nash with 18 points and 10 assists (29 minutes)
Frye and Dudley with 7 of 9 from three and a combined 23 points
Phoenix Suns for out-rebounding the Nuggets 51-32 (or something like that, I stopped counting with a few minutes left)
The Denver Nuggets for pretending to be a legitimate playoff team (at least in this game)
The officials for sucking on both ends. At least they were consistent
Suns Three-Point Shooting = Hot
In the nine games since losing Robin Lopez, the Suns have shot 46.3% from three (95/205). Coach Gentry explained it this way, "We have to space the floor a bit more with Robin out of the game but believe me I would rather have Robin and 42% and have Robin in there...I think Amare deserves a lot of the credit for our three-point shooting because when he rolls down the lane there's got to be somebody in there to help on his rolls and he frees up three-point shooters."
Jared Dudley (who does more than dunk) added this about three-point effectiveness, "With Robin when he screens and rolls he takes up a lot of space. I would say it's just taking what the defense is giving us...With (Robin), I put us right up there with anyone."
Dudz did also say that he would prefer to play the Blazers without Roy. Amare had other thoughts about getting the 3rd spot instead of the 4th, "The playoff check would be a little bit bigger."
Jason Richardson's back
"It's something I'm working through. It's not 100%. I'm definitely around 75% or 80% but I'm a tough guy, I came from Michigan State so I can play through a little pain."
Earl Clark on playing important minutes and stuff
"Man that was great for me, honestly, just be in that environment and play in that kind of game. You never know what can happen. A couple of guys got in foul trouble so I had to come in and play and I think I did a good job defensively and you know whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I am here for."
On playing in the playoffs his rookie year...
"That's good experience for me. A lot of rookies are home right now. Their whole season they've been losing, they're learning how to lose."
Earl's Rookie of the Year....
"My Rookie of the Year is Tyreke Evans. He's not only scoring, he's getting rebounds and assists. He's had a hell of year."
On being in Phoenix versus a team where he could have played more...
"Nah. I'm here for a reason. God put me here for a reason, I believe that. Everything is going smooth. Of course I would want to play more, a mad man wouldn't but you just got to play your position and that's what I'm doing just trying to learn as much as I can."
On what the coaching staff is telling him...
"He's just telling me to continue to work hard. He knows the work I put in. He's telling me I'm going to be a good player. Just try to learn, and first and foremost it's about being a professional and that's what I'm learning right now."
On what Earl thinks he needs to improve...
"I just need to shoot the ball better and get stronger. Get to guard a lot of guys down there on the block. That's something I'm going to work on and I will get better."
If you've not had a chance to hear Earl speak, I recommend it. He has a very unique voice. Between he and Robin the vocal range is quite extreme.
The Denver Nuggets on getting their ass kicked...
"It looked like we weren't ready. We just didn't play the way you would think we would play in a big playoff game." - Coach Adrian Dantley.
"They way they're set up, they've got three-point shooters that will stand out at the three-point line and one guy that rolls and gets layups, that's Amare. Now you can't just run and gun, you've got to try and execute against a team like that. If we do see these guys in the playoffs, our game play has to change a little bit." - Chauncey Billups
Billups, Melo and Dantley all talked about the Suns hot three-point shooting to start the game but the reality is the Suns were 4 of 7 from three in the 1st quarter compared to 3 of 5 for the Nuggets. That doesn't explain the big lead. 16 to 7 advantage on the glass, 6 to 0 second chance points, and 14 to 10 points in the paint were the difference.
So yes, the Suns finished the game 14 of 24 from three (Nash was only 1 for 5) but those were shots taken after the game had gotten easy.
Raw Game Notes:
- Longest National Anthem ever. Not bad but girl drew out every syllable
- Nice high energy crowd as befitting the momentous occasion
- I love that JRich can create a shot late in the clock. An under rated skill
- K-Mart does a good job denying Amare the ball in the post. Need to sort that out...someday
- JRich for three off a steal. Nice start up 11-2. JRich with 7 of the 11
- Right now Jarron Collins is a +9. Fact
- Smart play from Billups to slow down and get the rear-ending foul on Amare. Nash does that all the time
- Jarron Collins, offensive machine with the chest pound after his Bully Ball!
- Suns up 18-2!!!!
- If the Suns let up in this game I might have to....say "grrrrr"
- Collins with his 2nd foul has to come out. Uh oh...
- But seriously all you Collins haters, the guy is a pro
- Suns went up 20-5...now up 23-8 after Frye hit a three. The shots are falling
- Birdman got away with a goal tend there
- One guy chanting MVP for Amare while he's at the line...that should increase as the game wears on
- The MVP chants much more noticeable that time....30 seconds later. By the end of the game it will be deafening
- Suns up 27-14 w/ 3:07
- Amare BULLY BALLED the shit out of KMart! More please!
- Honestly I am getting a little chills watching him play
- JRich Smith and Billups hit some three's to close the game to 31-23
- Amare has had the ball stripped a few times before he got it over his head. That happened early against the Rockets too and he adjusted
- I saw Cheryl Miller this morning...her hair did not look like that
- Dudley is on JR Smith and at least made him give up the ball w/o shooting. Considering he's 3/3 that's a win
- Dudley Dunk!!! and he was way up there on that one. By far the best of the year! He is mentally composing his post-game tweet as we speak
- Just to prove how awesome he is, Nash hits a 3/4 shot after the buzzer to end the qtr. Suns up 38-26. I would say that went well
- Two quick fouls on Lou trying to star in from of Anthony. He may not have the foot speed for that assignment. Grant Hill gives him a pointer from the sideline during a FT but I am guessing that won't make Lou any quicker
- Poor offense from Dragic and LB that time = 24 sec violation
- LB is totally out of control. He's regressed two or three years. But he got bailed out by the ref so he will certainly try it again
- 3rd foul on Lou trying to stay in front of Melo. Earl Clark in to give it a go. The Nuggets are playing Melo at the 4 and Nene at the 5 with Carter, Smith and Lawson on the wings
- And so of course Birdman checks in for Melo now to screw me up
- You know it's your night when shit like that doesn't end up a turnover. Nene picks up his 3rd foul leading to Malik Allen
- Suns up 44-30 at 8:42
- The Suns employ the "let Malik Allen Shoot" defense. It works but Andersen gets fouled on the rebound
- JRich, Bully Boy and Grant Hill return
- Amare BULLY BALLED the shit out of
KMartAndersen AND Allen! More please!
- Dragic for three! Might as well call it a night, Denver if you can't stop Amare in the paint and the Suns are going to hit their three's
- Earl still looks lost but at least he's following the "Do No Harm" rule and not shooting...of course the Suns won't pass him the ball either
- Scratch that. Earl catches. Earl shoots. Earl misses
- Third foul on Andersen. The refs do not want this game to be physical...or good
- 49-33 with 6:16
- Amare not interested in joining the foul trouble brigade
- Nothing but net for Jason
- Tickle the twine
- Warriors tied up w/ Jazz at half and they aren't even hitting their three's
- 52-37 at 5:13. This game is not over by any means
- Live by the JR Smith. Die by the JR Smith
- JR Smith respecting Grant Hill too much to contest the old man's fast break lay up. I will just go with that excuse
- Nash to Amare alley oop in transition. It still only counts as two but it should get bonus throw back points
- 3 fouls for K Mart. We may be seeing Brian Butch before long
- Oops. Brian Butch is inactive as is Coby Karl who I think is wearing a velvet or velour sport coat
- Suns up 62-45 with 2:11 to go
- More Bully Ball. Ho hum
- Earl Clark back in. Very interesting
- Nuggets get a couple of T's which is nice but the Suns were in transition. They need to wait for the play to end and then call the T
- Suns now up 20...I am guessing we are going to hear a lot of the refs from the Nuggets
- Amare is the only one not getting whistled for fouls. Denver has a right to be pissed
- Suns pretty much destroyed the Nuggets in that half: 70-49
- No KMart for the 2nd half
- The general mood around here is game over but that's not yet the case. Lead is only 19 and the Nuggets can get hot...plus it looks like the refs are going to try and close the gap with their whistles
- 72-56 after a Melo three. No let ups!
- Suns time out after Nuggets open with 10-2 run. 72-59 Suns. 7:51
- When you need a bucket who do you give the ball to? Bully Baller himself
- Frye picks up his 4th foul. Certainly glad the refs are here for this one
- So the Nuggets pack it into the paint and Frye gets a wide open three
- Followed by a Nash and 1. Back up to 21 pt lead. 80-59 with 5:35
- Amare is having so much fun dunking on people
- 4 fouls on Melo b/c why would fans want to see that guy play
- Amare waving the crowd to it's feet after a Nuggets time out. 87-63. Suns on a 15-4 run after their time out
- Lou taking Bully Ball lessons! Slam! Suns up 94-70 at the end of 3.
- Oops, make it 97 after Frye banks in a three from 5 feet behind the arc...and that should do it folks
- Suns KILLING it on the glass 41-25
- Should get some nice rest for Nash, Amare and Hill in this quarter
- Not really sure what's happening now b/c I am drafting my recap but Suns are up 104-80 with 7:04 and there's some girls dancing right now and they aren't wearing a lot of clothes. Disgusting. Shameful.
- First look at Dwayne Jones
- Wow, that Goran 3/4 court alley oop to Lou was Nash to Marion flash back inducing