Well sports fans, I honestly don't know if the Suns gritted one out with heart and tremendous effort and skill or if they just got extremely lucky to have escaped with a W. Clearly, you can make the case for both. Or neither. Or aliens .
Let's start with the stats. First my all important assist differential. +8 which is close to the + 9 they are getting in wins. That's good. Rebounds -8. For the Suns that's even pretty good. Where its gets funky is that the Suns got 30 D rebounds and only 3 on the O while the Cavs ended up with 17 of 24 on the offensive end.
This leads us to the night's Harry Stat of the Night: The Cavs had 23 more shot attempts. And lost! Think about that one for a second. I know for Sun's fans its painful to give up 17 offensive boards but how would you like to be a Cav's fan....let's just stop and think about just how crappy that would be on so many levels....and lose a game where you get 23 more shot attempts. And they even had a respectable 45.6 FG%.
This all really begs the question. Does a team get more offensive rebounds because they are shooting poorly or do they get more attempts because they get more offensive rebounds? I have no clue. But I can tell you this. At one point in the fourth it was truly comical. The Suns were trying so hard to grab rebounds that four purple shirts would jump for the ball and somehow manage to tip it to a Cav. This happened at least 4 times in a two minute span. Unbelievable.
Oh, and the ref's did in fact suck but this seemed like a game where their suckiness went both ways and that ball bouncing thing worked in our favor as well as King James had a few key point blank layups just pop right out of the rim.
As for the flow of the game, you don't need to be a genius to figure this out. The Suns lack of effort on D in the first half made the Cavs look like an offensive juggernaut on the level of the Timberwolves giving up 69 points. But in the second half the good guys locked down and managed to hold the Cav's to a more Eastern team like 39 all the while rain three's like death from above and mixing in the occasion Amare feed in the post. The Suns really showed what a balanced offensive team they are with Bell and Nash showing that you can't just pack it in and then still have the ability to go to the beast down low late in the game when it absolutely positively has to be there in the paint.
Player of the game:
Has to be Raja with a team high 27 on 8 of 12 shooting with 6 threes along with his usual solid defense. Take that you haters who were ready to bench him!
TexSun would say King James I guess, since she seems to like to give it to someone on the other team in a throw back to little league where everyone's a winner. Me, I play with the big boys so it's going to the MVP Steve Nash. 37 minutes, 9 assists and 9 of 11 with a career tying 7 threes. He was just deadly. And I think we have to award the Full French as well for 9 assists, 11 points and a solid all around game.
As for the final two Suns plays to steal the win. Enjoy and as you watch note two things. On both plays its Diaw that makes the crucial feed and listen closely at the beginning of the final play and you will hear Eddie Johnson call his shot. Well, call Shawn's shot I guess you could say.
Oh, and this just in. The Lakers lost tonight to the Mavs so the Suns are now 2 1/2 games up.
Update [2008-1-26 10:32:15 by srp]: Here's an update on Hill’s back
The lower right back spasms might have occurred as a result of compensating movement while returning from the appendectomy after two weeks. He returned for a two-minute stint in the second quarter Friday but did not play again.
"My back just locked up," said Hill, whose status for Sunday's road trip finale at Chicago is uncertain. "I couldn't move out there."