Suns Blow By Kings, 127-111

[Editor's Note: Thanks a bunch, SueB for filling in on the live blogging and writing up the recap! Sounds like I have something "must watch" waiting for me on my DVR when I get back.]


I wish I could come up with something better than that to describe the Suns' performance in the first half of this game, but that's all that kept going through my head.

The Suns tied the US Airways Center record with 47 points in the first quarter - and they easily could have broken the record, but they missed their last 3 shots. They followed that with a "slow" 33-point second quarter to total 80 points in the first half.

That's more than the Heat scored in an entire game tonight. And two points less than the Hawks scored in their victory over the Heat.

The Suns were crazy hot in this game, although - to their great credit - the Kings hung with them for nearly 2-1/2 quarters.

Thanks to jasonsuns1 for tallying up these first-half shooting stats in the live blog thread:

Nash 6 for 8
Barbosa 3 for 5
Marion 7 for 9
Hill 6 for 7!!!
Skinner 4 for 6

Yes, that last line is for Brian Skinner, not Amare. Amare was the only starter to have a relatively quiet game. He played only 19 minutes, finishing with 13 points. Skinner finished with those 4-for-6 for 9 points, but his court presence is getting more and more impressive with each game. Considering he was on the bench and Boris was in the game at the end of the game, I tend to think Skinner (we really need a nickname for him!) is almost getting to be the more important big man. Skinner and Amare even played at the same time for a while, allowing Shawn to play at small forward.  

As for the others, I guess I'll give the "game ball" to Shawn Marion, just slightly in front of Steve. After last night's embarrassing 2-point game, Matrix exploded for 25 points tonight - inside shots, outside shots, fast break shots. It was great to see Shawn shooting so well. Weirdly, he only ended up with 3 rebounds ... but then, there weren't that many rebounds to be had tonight.

Thank goodness Nash's shot was back tonight. No worries about him grabbing his neck like last night. He had 18 points and 15 assists and extended his free throw streak to 30. LB is still shooting like a crazy man, and Grant Hill had 15 points, many of them on slashing finishes - including a dunk! - after length-of-the-court rushes. Really, who would've thought. He also had 6 assists.

Now of course it must be said that the Kings were really short-handed tonight. Ron Artest missed the trip for "personal reasons", and Beno Udrih - who is already a fill-in for the injured Mike Bibby - was out after being hurt last night. But the players who replaced those two starters led the team in scoring. Francisco Garcia had a career-high of 31 points. Even though the pace was clearly not in their favor, they hung in there into the 3rd quarter and were only down by 13 a few minutes into the second half. But they finally succumbed under the onslaught of another 30-point quarter for the Suns, and with the score 110-82 after three quarters, on came the S-U-B-S!!!!

Yes, DJ, Alando, Banks, and Marks got to play pretty much the entire fourth quarter! Diaw was the other Sun on the court. As I commented in the game thread, perhaps Piatkowski had seen too many minutes recently and needed some rest. He was the Suns' only DNP.

Alando hit his first shot of the game - a 3-pointer - and ended up with 10 points. What an athlete. I wish he was just 2 or 3 inches taller. But if that were the case, he wouldn't have still been there at pick 29. DJ scrapped for 5 points, and Marks even powered home a dunk after splitting a couple of Kings' players along the baseline. The Suns' bench went crazy over that one.

Marcus Banks played 30 minutes. Do not adjust your computer screen - I said 30 minutes. He got into the game half-way through the first quarter and played significant first-half minutes in the absence of Raja (and Pike, apparently). He missed his first shot badly but came right back and made his next one. He was even spotted taking a charge, doing some dirty work. He only had 8 points but finished with 6 assists. Definitely a creditable performance, especially after not having played for several games.  

The final score was not at all reflective of the totally dominating offensive performance put on by the Suns. Some glass-half-empty people might worry that the Suns didn't play defense. But I'll just glory in the thrill of being able to watch this team when it is running at full throttle.

Player of the Game: It's pretty hard to pick just one Sun, but I'll say Marion (just ahead of Nash).

Runner-Up: Francisco Garcia had a terrific game for Sacramento.

Grading the Game: "A", without a doubt.