Wow. What can I say about this game? Where do I start?
The Suns knew that this was going to be a tough game on the road. Denver had been playing really well as of late even without Melo and they are really tough at home. So let me get something out of my chest before we start talking about the game: Why do you sit Shaq today? Because we play Minnesota tomorrow you dummy! Oh yeah...you mean the Minnesota Timberwolves? The ones that have an 11-26 record? Seriously?!
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about our new defensive-minded Suns.
Thanks to Lebron James, who decided to take a jump shot instead of driving to the basket for the win, I was not able to watch the first 6 minutes of the game where Denver started with a 7-0 lead. Mercifully The Bulls and the Cavs ran out of timeouts and the game was over with. I tuned in just in time to watch Lou dunk the ball and get high fives from his teammates.
The Suns were able to recover from the slow start and finished the 1st Quarter shooting 62% from the field vs. 35% from Denver and were able to build a 9 point lead. This has been a common trend for the Suns: they start with a lot of energy outscoring teams, shooting a high percentage and suddenly they just... collapse.
We saw interesting things happen during the first half: Dudley and Tucker got some playing time but did not stay for long since Denver made their comeback in the second quarter and Barbosa (who often comes in late in the second quarter) was in since the first quarter. I guess Porter wanted to give him more playing time since he had been playing very well. Had, Past tense.
Amare's foul trouble and Tenacious D: I think Amar'e just proved to us that a time machine really exists. He is back to being the brainless player that we all hate. Picking up silly fouls, sitting on the bench for most of the game, letting people blow by him for easy lay ups and dunks, not boxing out, turnover prone. And you want to know what's the most amazing part of all? He ends up with a Stat line like this one; 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists. I mean this guy is a master in padding up his Stats. K-Mart owned him tonight in all aspects of the game and he should be ashamed of himself, this was a perfect opportunity for him to be "The Man" and he failed miserably.
Turnovers: 23 turnovers. This will kill you against any team, let alone against one who lives by the fast break. It seamed like Kleiza was playing all by himself out there, how many lay ups and dunks did this kid have? Transition defense was awful throughout the whole game. Denver got back in the game thanks to the uncontested lay ups, dunks etc.
Matt Barnes: This guy is officially in a big slump. He is making bad decisions on the court. He got called for offensive fouls, threw up bricks, made bad passes. He finished with 5 TOs and eventually fouled out of the game.
I can come up with a bunch of things that went wrong in this game for the Suns, like Leandro going 1-11, Robin Lopez (are you kidding me) playing like a 5 year old but after all, this is the bright side of the sun so let's try to give it a positive spin on this bitter recap.
Nash continues to be as clutch as anyone in the game. He made big shots when we needed them the most and kept us in the game when we were down in the 3rd quarter and 4th quarter. He finished with 20 points, 14 assists but he did have 6 Tos. We have to give a lot of credit to the Nuggets defense. They shut down Nash every single time that he wanted to create something. They put different bodies on him, JR, Carter, Billups. Nash wanted to go to Amar'e in the fourth and OT but always had to make a pass to other teammate due to the Nuggets great defense.
Grant Hill: He had a season high 25 points to go along with some clutch plays down the stretch. He was all over the place and Porter rewarded him with the last possession of the game (or so we thought) where he drove to the basket and got fouled but the refs never blew the whistle. Billups went to the line last night and won the game against Dallas for much less than that. But whatever, I'm used to getting screwed by the refs. I'm just sayin'...
I'll have to say that the Suns competed. That's all that we can ask from them on a road game. We where one rebound away from winning. During the fourth quarter with less than 2 minutes to play, JR Smith got an offensive rebound that Grant would have had if he wouldn't have slipped. He shot the three and BAM! We are all tied.
I won't put the blame (at least not all) one the refs. The Suns played well enough to win but also played bad enough to lose. We need to take care of business early in the game and stop leaving things to luck...we all know that doesn't work well for us.
PS: Thanks to all of you who participated in the game thread, that was the bright spot of the night. You were awesome.