I'll start with three pieces of good news:
The Mavericks lost to the Gilbert Arenas-less Wizards (at home).
The Jazz lost to the Knicks.
- The Spurs lost to the Kings.
Feel better? Good, because very little about the Suns-Warriors game brought warm fuzzies to Suns fans. Awesome night for Warriors fans. Their team played hard, focused, and truly deserved to win this game. I'm not sure there's a team in the league that would have beaten the Warriors tonight the way they were honed in on it. Still, it would have been nice to have seen the Suns at their best too, and that is something we didn't get to see.
This wasn't the worst outing of the season for the Suns by any stretch. The Lakers game on November 2 has that market cornered hands down, probably for the rest of the season. The Atlanta game, and maybe even one or two of the wins seemed a notch below in effort level as well. And I don't want to take too much credit from the Warriors, who really did bring their A+ game for the full 48 minutes. But still, the Suns are a much better defensive team than we saw tonight. It's one thing when the other team is making shots with hands in their faces, but there were countless times where the Suns almost seemed to step aside and let Warriors pass by to the rim unimpeded. That won't get it done.
On the positive side, the Suns out-rebounded the Warriors 48-39, but that was negated by the Suns having 10 more turnovers than the Warriors. Steve Nash narrowly missed a triple-double--and not the kind you want. He had eight turnovers to go with his 23 points and 13 assists. Steve shot the ball well (8-of-14), but judging by this game and the one last March, Don Nelson knows how to exploit the Nash matchup nearly as well as the Dirk Nowitzki one (understandable, given that he coached both players for years in Dallas). The Suns, on the other hand, could have done a much better job of exploiting their matchups than they did. This was one of those nights where you got the feeling either Amare Stoudemire or Boris Diaw (or both) could have had 30 had the Suns taken advantage of a Warriors lineup that had 6'9" Al Harrington starting at center. Instead, the Suns were outscored in the paint 52-42.
All that said, one of my pet peeves is when fans (and coaches and owners...you know who I'm talking about) refuse to accept that their team could lose a game simply because the other team is better. So I won't do that here. For this one night, the Warriors were the better team. They really wanted it, and they played very, very well to earn it. Hats off to them.
Player of the Game: Baron Davis or Stephen Jackson, take your pick. Monta Ellis was pretty good too.
Runner-Up: My internet connection. It was so crappy tonight that it distracted me from watching the game at times, thereby minimizing my level of fury and saving my TV from at least half a dozen flying objects.
Grading the Game: A+ for the Warriors and unbiased fans who were probably thrilled by the "upset". But this is a Suns blog. For us, I'm going with "C-". "D" seems inappropriate for a game with so little defense, and "F" is reserved for games like that one against the Lakers.