I am going to re-watch that 4th Qtr again and will have more to say later this afternoon/evening. In the mean time my immediate reaction is that the Mavs simply wanted it far more and the Suns hubris finally caught up to them (or maybe it was the return of the curse of the early Sunday national TV game).
One new thing I deffinately saw was Shaq and Amare switching the high screens leaving Shaq to play D way out on the perimeter. I am sure you all saw this as well as he was on an island against Dirk and didn't look all that bad. This is certainly a new wrinkle from the Coach.
Update [2008-4-7 1:2:36 by Phoenix Stan]:
I was hoping that a few hours would somehow make this just a little less painful but I can see by the comments that I am not alone in my frustration.
That said - a little perspective might be in order before we totally pull the plug on the Sun's chances. Let's just remember these fun facts - they might help us all get through the night:
- What are the chances of the Suns going that cold for a quarter ever again in our lifetime. Hopefully pretty slim. The fourth quarter began with some wide open shots just missing. Hill wide open from the free throw line. Miss. LB with a little flip shot in the lane. All air. Nash from 3. Clank. Clank. Clank.
- You really can't give the Mav's credit for all those misses. At least early in the quarter. But when it got close the Dirks stepped up and the Suns...well, the Suns dirked it. I don't really take too much from that. Its not as if we played this game over again 10 times the same thing would happen. Let's just call it a fluke. As in a huge whale's tail of a fluke.
- Of course a fluke like this is much easier to take when you aren't fighting for playoff position. But let's not forget that we aren't the only team in the race to lose a game. Remember this? Or this? Or even this one which appearantly was so bad that PTR couldn't even blog about it.
- In the end, Steve tried to get Amare the ball and the Mav's D finally stepped up. They either pulled in J-Ho from the corner (leaving Hill very lonely waiting for the Amare dish) or they switched leaving Kidd on Amare which worked out much better then the Mavs had any right to expect. But yes, the Mavs certainly showed that once the game was close and the blood was in the water that they were the team with the Hungry Man in the form of a falling down German H.O.R.S.E. player. Scoreboard Dirk.
- I still think the most amazing sight of the entire game wasn't "The German Prayer" but Shaq playing defense on the perimeter. Let's not forget that it was just a few days ago that we talked about this being the last big hole on the Suns defense. That being Shaq's inability to defend away from the rim. The Suns had being using a lot of zone to try and cover this but tonight they tried something totally new. And it didn't look half bad. Shaq and Amare were switching the Dirk/Damp screen and rolls and Shaq did a pretty dang good job out there w/ the Dirkmeister. I have to think a lot of that was just surprise to see the Big Catcus so far from his planter but hey - at least Coach D is trying. This development certainly bares watching. Especially Wednesday against the Spurs.
Hard not to give it up to the big Kraut for not only his performance but for showing some serious stones in even being back on the floor so fast after the horendous fall. Just compare that to the Spainish Poodle that missed like 12 games with a similar sprain. Hat tip to Eddie Johnson for the "Spainish Poodle" moniker. Classic EJ.
Almost Player of the Game
The Big Cactus. Shaq had a very good game although for the most part it was par for the course as of late. So consider this meaningless award for not just this game but his past few. See, just like I can give my MVP nod to Kobe for his "body of work" I am perfectly willing to break the non-existing rules of this non-existing contest to recognize Shaq for stepping up, getting his ass in shape and perhaps just maybe moving out a bit from the rim to cover someone on D.