It was down the stretch when pass-first Mr. Big Shot, one-time NBA Champion wanted to show a pass-first two-time MVP how it's done.
With under 2 minutes to go, the Suns were up 99-98. Nash made his shot. Billups made a 3 to tie it at 101. Then Nash made his own 3. Billups shot another three. He clanked it. Nash then swished another 3 and the game was over just like that.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 12/21/08 7:58 AM PST ]
That about tells the story doesn't it. Nash was missing everything all night until it was win time and Nash went Nash.
Also though let's not forget that one word. It is an elusive word in Phoenix. Call it the holy grail. The D word.
The Suns held the Nuggets to 8 points over the last 6:42 of the game and scoreless over the last 3 minutes.
The second most important sequence of the game was at the end of the 1st half when the Suns went on a run to cut a 7 point deficit. This run was lead by two fantastic defensive plays on Melo. First Grant did a GREAT job (as he did all night) staying in front of Melo and contested the shot enough to cause a travel. The very next trip down Melo used a screen to get a step on Grant but was absolutely exterminated by Lopez with a block that brought the newly defensive minded Phoenix crowd to it's feet.
Let's not forget Amare either. This is now 10 games in row scoring 20 points (nothing new there) but he also had 10 rebounds (8 of which came in the second half). Don't look now but Amare is leading the team in rebounding which he has not done is a long time.
Amare played about a perfect game being aggressive at times and super efficient with his shots but also focusing on the boards and defense. He's responded well to coaching and is trying to do what the team needs him to do which is far more then score the ball.
“My thing is I just go out there and play hard. Whenever coach comes to me and says, ‘we need you to do this more,’ I’m always down to accept the challenge. We’re just going to try and continue to get better as a team and grow as a player.”
Improvements on the defensive end to close out halves and having a +5 advantage in turnovers were the difference in this game. That and Nash going Nash.
Any feedback on the pregame podcast chat? Is it worth continuing? Any ideas on how to make it better?