The game of basketball is funny in the sense that the numbers tell a false version of the final score sometimes.
The Suns were outrebounded 54-38, with Tyson Chandler wiping the glass clean to the tune of 17. In a game that saw one of the Suns stars Jared Dudley play nearly 20 minutes with a goose egg to show for his efforts, the Suns let Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire toss up brick after brick en route to victory.
This is a sweet win for the Suns. While the game itself could be described as uglier than your girlfriend's sister, the Suns shot 45% from the field and 58% beyond the arc. Apart from an amazing performance from Nash on a back to back, his pals kicked in to help him out:
- Marcin Gortat went for 11 and 12
- Grant Hill dropped in 14 points, his highest point total in 6 games
- Shannon Brown went 6-12 to go with 2-3 from down town with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. You can start talking about starting the guy again.
- Channing Frye hit for 3 3-pointers coupled with 4 rebounds and 4 blocks. Is he coming around?! Yes?!
- Alvin Gentry mixed up the starting lineup by adding Ronnie Price and Markieff Morris to the mix. Clearly he read my preview and took my advice.
It's never easy to win on the road, after losing 5 straight, in front of your ex-coach and arguably best player in recent memory. But the Suns withstood an ugly rebounding deficit, limiting the Knickerbockers to 37% shooting while hitting on 58% of their 3's to get back on the winning track in the daunting Madison Square Garden full of raucous, delusional fans. Hand it to our boys, they won't let us quit on them. And while we all shake our heads when considering whether this team should mail it in this season or search for an inevitable solution, we have no answers as to how such a mediocre team can gel and make it to the Spring show.
Alvin Gentry had even less to contribute:
"That's pretty ironic you know, because obviously most of the things we do is what Mike did when he was there...there's a few things that we've changed, but it's kind of a mystery to me. I can't put my finger on the fact that we're struggling to get to 100 every game. I thought that would be one of the areas where we'd have the least worries and it's become just the opposite."
How Steve Nash can still stand is beyond me. A night after playing 30 something minutes, the guy comes out, plays 38, and shoots 9-12 to go with 11 assists and 5 rebounds. It is a testament to the drive and motivation and faith this guy has to win. He knows the fans want a winner, and he's single-handedly attempting to get the Phoenix Suns back to the promised land. And further, the most difficult part of being a Suns fan this season is not knowing if and when this team is going to decide to show up. Alvin Gentry is at a point where trying nearly any rotation is justified, and he has the stones to do it. I liked the idea of Morris starting. On paper it looked like garbage, but to see a Suns squad start a rook, or when it's feasible to start rook is a minor miracle.
Let's be honest here, when Carmelo Anthony takes 22 shots and misses 17 of them while Stoudemire takes an equal amount and only cashes in on two more, you have a good chance at winning. This Knicks squad reminds me a lot of some of the Suns squad with D'Antoni at the helm. "Shoot through it, you'll eventually start draining them..." Well on some nights, yeah, on others, you flat lose because you can't get it going. Shumpert is a great talent, but he hasn't gotten it yet. The Knicks may prove better with Baron Davis running the show. As long as he doesn't take 22 shots a game.
ENJOY THIS ONE, SUNS FANS. VICTORIES LIKE THIS
ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.