Fight, fight, fight! (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
As a preview/thread/recap guy, I believe I got off to a 3-10 start last year before "righting the ship" later in the season. So far, it looks like I'm bucking the trend. 1-0 to date!
But enough about me.
The Phoenix Suns got that soft-stuff throwing monkey off their backs in time to record their first win of the season, leading the Hornets for virtually the entire game. The Suns' defense (and Hornets' anemic shooting effort) held the Hornets to a franchise-low 28.9% shooting. Franchise low! Only their 24 offensive rebounds kept the Hornets' deficit within 15 points in the second half.
Suns' heroes in this win: Hakim Warrick (18 and 7 in 25 minutes), Channing Frye (16 rebounds), Marcin Gortat (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 charges taken and a couple big fourth-quarter hoops when the Suns really needed it) and Steve Nash (12 assists).
Frye still can't make many 3-pointers, and Nash can't make much of anything at all (6-23 between them) from the field, but they still helped the Suns get into the win column. In fact, every Suns player that hit the floor did so with a ton of effort. It also helped that the Hornets hit their wall tonight after beating the Suns without Jarrett Jack on Monday, and then the Celtics without Eric Gordon on Wednesday.
Good thing, because the Suns play in Oklahoma City tomorrow night. This win was needed, which is why Nash was re-inserted into the game for 8 fourth-quarter minutes where the lead didn't get below 9 points.
But hey, I remember the Suns re-inserting Nash for the last few minutes to close out a few games last year after a big lead, and too often Nash never got his mojo back and the Suns lost the game. Once, or twice, to the Kings comes immediately to mind. And there were a few others as well.
But not tonight. Not in this game. The Suns never backed down. They fought, scrapped, clawed and found a way to keep the lead right through the closing bell.
1-2 looks a lot better than 0-3, doesn't it?
Sure, the Hornets helped the Suns win by missing so many shots. And sure, their best scorer - Eric Gordon - did not play in the game.
But you have to give the Suns credit here. The Bugs beat the Celtics on Wednesday without Gordon in that game either. By 19 points. And in all their years of existence, the Hornets have never shot so poorly. The Suns' defense had something to do with that. 10 blocks, 13 forced turnovers, contested shot after contested shot.
Other Suns contributors:
- Shannon Brown had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals and an assist in only 16 minutes
- Jared Dudley had 16 points
- Grant Hill gutted out 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists