Steve Nash had enough of losing and showed that on occasion, even when his shot isn't falling, that he can still carry a team. As Panama Sun put in the game thread comments:
Has someone ever dominated a game with only 9 points?
I am sure the answer is yes but it would normally accompany 20 rebounds and 5 blocks not 18 assists and only 2 turnovers.
He had two very open looks from behind the arc late that would have sealed the tight game and missed both. But when it really mattered he drove the lane, got the contact (but not the call) and finished with a big bucket giving Phoenix the 3 point lead with 12 seconds to go.
On the other end Anthony Parker who was shooting lights out got a great look at a layup but missed it (and was not fouled) and Grant Hill battled Bosh hard enough to prevent and easy put back. Game over.
A lot of credit goes to Terry Porter for correcting some of the mistakes from the past two games. Porter talked before this game and over the past few days how the Suns (mainly Matt Barnes) were taking too many quick 3's and not taking advantage of their inside out game.
Barnes was only 1-5 from 3 in this game (continuing an 11 game 11- 46 3 pt shooting slump) but played much better. The three's he took came at the right time towards the end of the clock or on wide open looks. He had been forcing them quickly trying to shoot out of his slump. The result though has been his shooting the Suns out of leads as he gave up offensive possessions and long rebounds leading to transition buckets.
In this game, the Suns did a much better job working their offense either through the post or on drive and kicks. Guys were turning down looks from three early in the clock in order to get better shots later. Moving without the ball and finishing also helped Nash get those 18 dimes.
The Suns scored 117 in game they shot 28% from 3 point. That would never happen in 7SOL. This Suns offense (which has scored over 100 points in 19 out of the past 20 games) is really rounding into shape. The defense is good enough to beat most teams and not great enough to beat the top teams.
Credit where credit is due
Amare had a pretty typical Amare first half. Or at least typical based on his recent play. 1 rebound and hand full of points that were created by Nash. In the second half he came out looking like Porter had ripped into him. He played with a lot more energy and effort on both ends. He faced up his man and drove the lane drawing fouls or finishing. He was active and disruptive on the glass and did a solid job on Bargnani on the perimeter.
I think Amare is in this mental place where he's so worried about picking up fouls that he's taking himself out of the game.
In this game though, he had reason to be concerned. The officiating was poor and while it always feels the other team gets all the calls, this game they just sucked regardless. The number of quick whistles had a big impact on the game and contributed a lot to the high scoring first half. Two teams that don't exactly thrive on their defense helped with that too.
In the end, it was a solid win to start a long road trip and end the two game losing streak. I don't take too much from it other then that. On to Boston for a big test tomorrow.
To all you Suns fans that don't have hope for miracles just remember that the Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. Unbelievable.
Congrats to all the real Cardinals fans out there. I don't feel right jumping on the bandwagon now after hating that team and it's piss poor ownership for so long but it is pretty darn amazing to think that The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. Unreal.
Be sure to check out Revenge of the Birds for all your Cardinals blogging needs.