Is it good defense or bad shooting?
Early in the game the Suns defense was very active both inside and out. Amare especially came out on the defensive end and was great on the glass and on help D. He was solid manning up on Aldridge as well.
That said, both teams shot poorly with Bell and Barnes firing bricks and the Blazers (other then Roy) just as cold.
In the 3rd quarter, Blake came out firing and that seemed to wake the Suns up. It felt a little like the old days when the energy of the made basket fueled our own offense.
Bell and Barnes both hit a handful and the Suns ended the night shooting 44% from 3 while the Blazers only managed 32% from long range. And while we might want to credit our defense for that, the bottom line is they missed a lot of open looks.
Of course, all teams are going to get cold from outside and Suns fans know that if you live by the 3 you die by the 3.The Blazers weren't able to get much penetration other then the occasional Roy drive. No one else got close to the rim unless it was a put back.
I will give the Blazers this though, they did look a lot better tonight. Their interior defense was solid. Joel played very well and they did a good job denying Amare position and not letting him get comfortable. They were active and fought hard. They played much better basketball tonight despite the score.
Shaq and Amare both had solid defensive efforts with a combined 26 boards and 4 blocks. Best of all, in the second half the ball wasn't getting suck inside and there was good movement inside out to get open looks.
And yes, Shaq went into the stands again so prepare yourself to hear about that a few thousand times. He also had 17 rebounds but remember that the Blazers missed a LOT of shots. More misses. More rebounds. Don't get hung up on 17. He controlled the paint and did his job. Nice work.
Porter's rotations are still a mystery with no minutes for Lopez. I really wanted to see Ro-Fro on the floor with Amare and Diaw moving Grant to the two. Although to be fair to Porter, when Hill was guarding Roy he got abused. As did Barnes. For whatever reason, Bell has his number.
I definitely think missing Barbosa and Tucker is having a large impact on the rotations and we certainly need to be Patient. And chill. With either of those guys on the floor you probably can afford to play Lopez more because either are offensive threats (albeit very different kinds of threats). It might be another month or more before we get a good look at what Terry really wants to do.
We did learn from the Teevee that Porter considers Singletary and Dragic "even" and he's going to give Sean some looks as the #1 backup to Nash for a few games. I have to say that I feel more confident with the ball in his hands right now. He plays with more maturity and poise even if he did miss everything tonight. I think Dragic will surpass him eventually but the age and experience difference between the two is really showing right now. Maybe Goran should head to Iowa once LB is back.
Diaw and Hill were the difference in the game. Both guys played very smart basketball on both ends and were efficient in their offense.They really helped stabilize the game and made our bench the more effective unit.
Nash's turnovers were the opposite. He did come though with 16 points on 6-7 shooting and his 2 three's were timely.
But 7 turnovers? Look, I know the slow down game isn't his thing but shouldn't one of the greatest point guards ever be able to play in more then one style to be considered "greatest ever"? He's just throwing the ball away. He's forcing passes that aren't there instead of creating opportunities.
Later in the game they doubled him of the 1 - 4 pick and roll and then when Amare's man recovered back Shaq's man had to help. Nash delivered a pretty lob pass for a dunk. Contrast that with sloppy entry and perimeter passing.
Why is this creative MVP point guard making the difficult look easy and the easy look difficult?
I will leave you to ponder this purely speculative question from Paul Coro.
Steve Nash to the Knicks?