It was scary at times but at least it was an exciting game. The Suns pulled out the victory 99-94 on Sunday afternoon with stellar defense by Raja Bell and Shawn Marion and great shooting by, well, by no one really. Leandro Barbosa shot the best going 7-12 with no three point makes in two tries. But Amare Stoudemire made 9 of 11 free throws, Shawn Marion had 12 rebounds and Steve Nash had 10 assists. And when the Suns really needed a stop or a basket (or sometimes both) the players stepped up and provided what the team needed.
This game wasn't played at a super high pace. The Suns only had 1 fast break. The referees stopped another fast break attempt that would have sealed the game a few seconds earlier when Leandro Barbosa broke to the other side of the court after a Lakers made basket. But too much time went off the clock after the basket was made and instead of an easy layup for Barbosa, it was a stop in play while the referees determined how much time should be put back on. Mike D'Antoni was livid but luckily the ball was inbounded to Nash who passed the ball to Raja who was fouled and calmly sunk two free throws to seal the deal.
There are complaints this morning that the Suns didn't play up-tempo basketball and that it is going to hurt them come playoff time. Unfortunately, the Suns just can't win. For the past two years, everyone has been saying the Suns can't win in the playoffs at the speed they play. Now they're winning games where they score under 100 (7-3 this year) and people are saying they can't win that way either.
One other note: I don't really care if the Lakers were short-handed or not. That's life. The Suns were without Boris Diaw, Steve Nash's shoulder still looks like it hurts, Shawn Marion just came back from missing two games due to a hurt arm, Amare's calf and shin are killing him due to bumps and bruises he has had while playing. I don't see anyone saying, "Well, the Mavs wouldn't be 5 games ahead of the Suns if Steve Nash wouldn't have been hurt." So why are they saying the game would have been different if the Lakers didn't have hurt players? Because for some reason the Lakers always get the benefit of the doubt. It makes me ill. No, really, it does. I think I'm going to puke right now. And it's not just because I ate 7 donuts this morning. It's this whole Lakers thing. Really.
Next game is on Wednesday against the Bobcats.