The Suns started off pretty well. They had an 8 point lead in the first quarter - though they ended with only a 1 point lead. In the second quarter, the Jazz held the Suns to only 19 points and went to the locker room with a 9 point lead. At that point, the Suns continued to play catch-up, actually took the lead on several occasions but never could get up the shooting prowess or the defense needed to beat the Jazz. As was typical of the game, Mehmet Okur hit the game-winning shot with 5.1 seconds remaining in the game. Boris Diaw had a chance to tie the game with two free throws but missed both. The Jazz made 1 of 2 free throws and Amare Stoudemire didn't get a final shot off in time (it didn't go in anyway) to end the game.
I think many people will blame Boris for losing this game. It was not, I repeat, it was not Boris Diaw's fault that the Suns lost the game. As with the Timberwolves game a week ago, the Suns lost because they couldn't stop the other team. Mehmet Okur had 29 points and Deron Williams had 28. Williams also had 10 assists.
On the Phoenix Suns side, Shawn Marion had a very poor game. I would love to blame the game on Shawn. But it just seemed like the refs were stopping him at every turn. Maybe he was a step slow last night. Or maybe the refs had it out for him. I couldn't really tell. It seemed that a lot of the fouls could have gone the other way or at least another player. The fouls took Shawn out of his game and he only shot 2-7 for 4 points.
Steve Nash had 22 points and 10 assists. He had 5 turnovers as well. His shoulder has been hurting him the past few games and it seems to have affected his play. With the stretch of games the Suns have coming up, I wonder if it is worth having Nash sit out a few games until he gets better.
Amare Stoudemire had his second monster game. He seemed to be everywhere. He had 28 points and 10 rebounds. And he only had 2 fouls. I think that is the most important thing. When Stoudemire doesn't have to go to the bench because of fouls, he is able to affect the game a lot more.
I was also impressed with both James Jones and Marcus Banks. They both played very well. They still have a lot of improvements to make but they are much better than they were even 2-3 weeks ago. I think both of them rushed their shots a bit but that may have been anxiousness to show that they are able to help the team. If they keep improving the way they are, Mike D'Antoni may be able to start resting Nash more and even start trying to include other players like Jumaine Jones and Jalen Rose.
Overall, the Suns played an OK game. They just didn't play well enough to beat the Jazz. Against 26-27 other teams in the league, they would have won by the middle of the 4th quarter. I just hope we get Kurt and Raja back very quickly. They are sorely missed on the defensive end (and on three-point shots in the case of Bell).
Editor's Note: Do you realize that Utah has accounted for 30% of the Suns losses this season? That's nuts - and scary if the Suns play them in the playoffs!