Tonight, the Suns used a balanced, dominating attack to defeat the road weary Detroit Pistons.The Suns controlled the game in virtually every category tonight-they defended, they rebounded, they made shots, they even looked respectable from the free throw line.
The Suns started hot, at one point shooting over 80% midway through the first quarter (9-11). Still, the Pistons hung around, keeping things close until the Suns bench took over in the second, extending the lead to 10.
This one was a sleeper, a pleasant sleeper mind you, from the third quarter on. The Suns played well on both ends of the floor and Detroit quickly discovered they were tired. Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey were non factors as the Suns held Gordon to 10 points and Stuckey to 8. The two combined for 7-26 from the floor.
The Suns were led in scoring by Amare Stoudemire with 21 points. Steve Nash had 20 points and 9 assists. Jason Richardson finished with 17 points to lead the Suns in scoring.
Some other items of interest:
- The Suns shot 57.9% from the field (11-19) in the first quarter, holding the Pistons to 41.7% (10-24), led by Nash and Stoudemire with 6 points and 7 points respectively. The Suns led 29-26.
- Leandro Barbosa and Goran Dragic led the Suns to a 10 point lead in the second quarter. Dragic looked like his normal, 2009 self, driving the ball to the rim and hitting a three. The Suns starters returned with 6.20 left in the second and extended the lead to 16 as the Pistons appeared to wear down.
- Amare Stoudemire was T-'d up for the first time this season after a missed shot. Honestly, I haven't seen Amare that pissed in a while, ripping of his glasses and screaming at the official as he jogged back down the floor. Gotta admit, I liked it.
- The Suns shot 11-18 from three point range (61%)
- At 11-3, the Suns are tied for the best record in the NBA with Atlanta and Orlando.
- The Suns are one of only three teams in the NBA undefeated at home (5-0)
- This year's Suns are only the 4th team in franchise in history to open the season with 14 consecutive 100-point games. The Suns are the only team in the league to score 100 points in every game this season.
- The sends held a solid rebounding lead throughout the game. Don't let the end statistics fool you: Detroit 39 rebounds, Suns 38. Let's remember the most minutes any of the starters played was 30. At the end of the first half, the Suns led the Pistons 22-13 in rebounds.
Post Game Quotes:
On the Game:
"It was a good win. They're all good wins, but we played a tired team. I think we did a good job of trying to jump on them early."
On Goran Dagic's performance:
"Goran did a really really good job tonight. He was really aggressive and obviously he shot the ball well."
On Steve Nash:
"Steve was a little more aggressive with his shot tonight...Steve knows, he knows what we need...I think he has a feel for when we need him to step up and be more aggressive."
"I'm slowly getting myself back into a rhythm. It's improving as a team we're playing well enough to get these wins. Just want to continue to grow and keep getting better
"I got a little upset in the heat of the moment."
On the New Orleans loss: "It was a tough loss, it should not have happened."
On playing the 2 next to Steve Nash tonight: "It was my first game with Steve, it was a really nice feeling. It's really awesome. It was my Dream to play with him on the same team."
Next up, Memphis comes to town on Wednesday, 7 P.M.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 11/23/09 7:24 AM MST ]
The first quarter of this game was by no means something to write home and tell your mamma about. The Suns after looking good with a quick 9 point lead out of the gates ended up give up a 16-4 run and were down 3 and forced to call a time out.
That gets forgotten in the blowout win but it was not exactly a shinning point of goodness in what was otherwise a romp. The entire first quarter felt lethargic as if both teams were playing with concrete shoes and were racing to see who would be swimming with the fishes first.
Fortunately, the Suns bench came in at the start of the second period and went on a 10-3 run in the first 3 minutes behind the defensive energy of Lou, the steady leadership of Goran (that's right. I said it) and 6 points (3-3) from Barbosa proving me right in naming him the PPOG.
Grant Hill said this about the clean-shaved Lou and his bench mates, "The bench has been great for us all season. You see the confidence. Goran's shooting the ball extremely well. He's running the show. Leandro and Jared are doing a great job. Lou I thought defensively, that's as good as I've seen him in awhile."
Then around the 6 minute mark Gentry replaced his best line up with those scrubs - Nash, Richardson and Stoudemire - and they promptly turned a 10 point Suns lead into a 4 point lead.
The turnaround from that point was ignited by (another) awesome Steve Nash sidearm pass from the baseline in traffic to a wide-open Jason Richardson at the top of the arc. Swish. Three points and the score was 49-42 with about 5 minutes to go in the half.
Phoenix would then proceed to lock down the tired Pistons team with great rotations. Detroit doesn't move the ball well on a good night so collapsing and trapping their ball handlers was a very effective strategy. The Pistons wouldn't score again for the entire half and finished the period with only 16 points on 7 of 20 shooting.
That is stone cold lock-down D right there.
The most interesting lineup of the game also came during this stretch when Gentry responded to the Pistons with the three guard unit of Nash, Richardson and Dragic along with Stoudemire and Frye. The mobility of that unit combined with all those ball handlers and shooters was a +7 and helped Goran have a team high +19 on the night.
Richardson said this about playing with Nash and Dragic, "It's definitely offensive punch. You've got two point guards out there that can pass the ball and can score...I don't know if it's a lineup we will use all the time but it was fun to see the three of us on the court at the same time."
While the Pistons often run three guards at the same time, in this stretch where Phoenix went small they actually had gone the other way and were playing Wallace, Jerebko, Villanueva, Summers and Chucky Atkins.
It was good win as far as any win is good and it was nice to see the Suns take care of business against an undermanned and tired Detroit team but overall I wasn't too impressed with this one. Just another "W" in the "W" column. Time to move on and not get complacent before Wednesday's game against the
Iranian National Team Memphis Grizzlies.