Think Amare Stoudemire might have been a little ticked off at headlines like the Arizona Republic's "Big Men Tear Up Suns" following that Christmas Day fiasco against the Lakers? After getting thoroughly upstaged by Andrew Bynum two days earlier, Amare wasn't about to let Chris Kaman have a big game tonight. Kaman was held to less than half his normal scoring output and about two thirds his normal rebounding production as he had nine of each, and five turnovers on a 4-of-17 shooting night that won't help his All-Star bid. Amare, on the other hand scored the Suns' first 11 points, and never looked back. He finished the night with 30 points (11-of-14), went 8-of-10 from the line, grabbed 15 rebounds, and had four blocks--all while fouling a grand total of one time and playing only 26 minutes. This is the Amare we need to see every night. More, please.
Grant Hill led the way on plus/minus with a +37. His 16 points came on 7-of-10 shooting, and he added three blocks of his own. Steve Nash and Shawn Marion were relatively quiet by their standards. Nash had 12 assists with nine points, and was only needed for 26 minutes. Marion also had nine points with five rebounds and four assists, and played just 28 minutes. The Suns led by 19 at the half, and stretched that out to 30 to start the fourth. The lead grew to 36 at one point before the garbage time brigade entered the fray. Marcus Banks provided most of the scoring late in the game, going 4-of-8 with two threes on his way to 11 points. Every Suns player not temporarily banished to Albuquerque (D.J. Strawberry) saw time tonight as the Suns wrapped the game up early, earning some rest for the starters, and some playing time for the "fitness club". For the Clippers' side of the story, check the Diaries at Clips Nation.
Player of the Game: Amare Stoudemire (see above).
Runner-Up: Corey Maggette (if you can ignore the plus/minus stat).
Grading the Game: "A" for the Suns as they take care of business against the short-handed Clippers who were without Elton Brand, Shaun Livingston, Tim Thomas, and maybe even some other guys (five DNP's for the Clips in a game that was effectively over after three quarters). "F" for the Clippers broadcast, to which those of us viewing via League Pass were subjected. Sadly, my DVR wigged out during halftime, so I don't have a recording of this game. Otherwise, I would mark this as "Save Until I Delete" to replay anytime I have trouble getting to sleep. Between the dead quiet crowd (except when booing their own team), and the rather monotone voices of the announcers, the broadcast had almost a summer league feel to it.