When the batter is on deck he takes some cuts with that heavy doughnut on his bat so that when he takes it off and steps into the box that bat feels like a twig. That's what playing the first quarter against the Sixers must feel like coming off that last half against the Celtic's defense.
The Suns came roaring into this game with a combination of solid defensive effort that didn't see a hint of zone and sparked a flurry of blocks and fast break points.
Most impressive though was the final 1:47 of the 1st Qtr when the Suns score 12 points to push the lead to 19. They did it on Shaq making 2 of 2 free throws, a pair of 3's from Bell and LB, a layup from LB, a running jump shot from Giricek and one tech free throw on a 3 sec violation. All with Nash on the bench. Now that's the kind of bench production we like to see.
Let's talk Amare
Isn't it a shame Amare doesn't play defense? He only had 5 blocks and 7 rebounds in 31 minutes. Despite "only" having 22 points, Amare was awesome tonight. He controled the paint and provided solid weak side help and was so effecient on offense without having to dominate the ball all night. And when he does get the ball in isolation he is just destroying guys and abusing the rim. He is so fast and so explosive right now that it makes you wonder what Aaron Nelson and crew did to fix his ass.
Say what you want about Amare, but you cannot accuse him of being selfish on the floor. This kid just works his ass off to improve constantly (note how much better his pick and roll D is now as opposed to early in the year) and I have never heard him complain about not getting enough touches. Even in games where he should have gotten more touches.
And speaking of fixing weak asses, turns out that's literally what Shaq's problem was before coming to the Suns.
"His butt muscles, that was the biggest thing,'' Suns athletic trainer Aaron Nelson said. "He knew that. We do manual muscle testing to show if a muscle is weak or strong, and it was pretty much nothing there.''
I quess Riley didn't ride his ass hard enough after all.
Nash had a fairly quiet night with 5 points and 10 assists in an easy 34 minutes. And once again, I argue that anytime the Suns play well without needing Nash that's a good thing. I think they sensed that what they did need was to get some of their other guys going so Nash and Amare both deferred resulting in Bell, LB and Diaw having great offensive nights.
Player of the Game
Awarding this tonight to the combo of Barbosa and Diaw off the bench with 17 each. Boris gets the Full French tonight despite not quite meeting the 10 5 and 5 criteria. In part because he was an awesome 8 of 11 shooting (and I think shooting effeciency is SO important) and partly in honor of our new French member of BSoS - Warmup.
Barbosa had a great night as well of course. He was aggressive but not reckless. He had some nice passes and a great steal. He needed a good game and he got it.
In other action - I guess that team in Bean Town is for real. They have now managed to beat every other team at least once and tonight gave us an assist by hanging a 20 point loss on the Hornets.
So all in all a great night for the boys in Orange. They make up a full game on LA and NO and take revenge for getting punked by this Sixer's team in our building a few weeks ago. They might be playing well right now but when you look at this roster, its just not a team that should demand respect. They certainly didn't earn any tonight.