Now that's what a 27-12 team is supposed to do to a 5-32 team! After ending the first quarter down by four, the Suns turned on the jets and proceeded to run the Timberwolves out of the building. Shortly after Steve Nash re-entered the game at the 7:20 mark in the second quarter, the Suns went on a 16-2 run that included four three-pointers, two Amare Stoudemire dunks, and four assists by Nash. It took less than four minutes to turn what had been a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead. Overall, the Suns outscored the Timberwolves 35-17 in the second quarter, and carried the momentum over into the second half. By the fourth quarter, the Suns were able to empty the bench and break out the ice packs.
Bullet points of interest:
- Al Jefferson had another big night with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but Amare came close to canceling him out. Amare had a nice double-double of his own with 23 points and 11 assists.
- The boxscore shows that the Suns were outrebounded by 10 and gave up 15 offensive rebounds, but that number is heavily skewed thanks to a couple of sequences that happened in garbage time. During the meaningful minutes of the game, the Suns held their own pretty well on the boards.
- The line of the night goes to Steve Nash, who went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, made all four of his free throws, and had 13 assists to go with his 17 points. He only had one turnover, and for those who like the plus/minus stat, he was an amazing +39. Not bad for 28 minutes of work.
- Raja Bell has looked a lot better lately than he did earlier in the season when he was slowed by ankle injuries and back spasms. He was 0-4 from three, but those were his only missed shots. He went 9-of-13 overall, and ended up with a well-rounded line of 20 points, four assists, and five rebounds.
- Shawn Marion had a quiet night on the boards with only six rebounds, but he continues to be on a roll from three. He was 6-of-10 over all, 4-of-7 from three, and had 18 points.
- Leandro Barbosa bounced back from his trade scare to put up a 19-point, five assist, five rebound night.
- D.J. Strawberry saw his first non-garbage time minutes of the season when he entered the game during Nash's customary first half break. As for how he did, I don't think I can top what srp said in the comments of JSun's diary:
"He wasn't really tested on D against a strong ball handling guard but he didn't force shots on offense but still didn't hesitate to take the open ones. You kind of felt he was tight and the only cure for that is more meaningful floor time. One thing I really really loved was how he looked to rebound on both ends. He only had 2 in about 20 minutes but unlike most of the Suns guards when the ball went up he was coming in from the 3 pt line looking for the ball.I think he could average about 5-7 rebounds and be a regular double double threat. I still don't expect him to get regular minutes this year for Coach D but I agree that he's got a nice upside. I hope he sticks."
Player of the Game: Steve Nash. See item 3 above.
Runner-Up: Al Jefferson.
Looking Ahead: The Suns take on the Nets Sunday evening at home. Steve Nash vs. Jason Kidd should be fun to watch.