The play of the Suns bench in this win can not be overstated. While Rasheed Wallace and his Vitiligo spot was going 0'fer six behind the arc and Goran Dragic was running Eddie House of the line and forcing him to do something he doesn't like to do - dribble - the Suns bench was a combined + 42 compared to the Celtic's - 48.
And it wasn't the offensive punch from Leandro Barbosa that got it done for this group of 6th men. LB is still nursing a sore wrist so it was up to these scrappy youngsters to play...wait for it... DEFENSE!
In fact, Dragic, Dudley, Amundson and Clark only scored 18 total points in their combined 71 minutes of play as compared to 19 points from Daniels, Wallace, House and Mr. Candace Parker.
So how do 4 guys who scored one less point end up having such a huge impact on the game? Wait for it....DEFENSE!
In the second quarter the Suns went on an 11-1 run over a 4 minute stretch with the bench all playing big roles in that period. Dudley hit a big three to start the run. Clark stripped Wallace on the perimeter which lead to a Dragic-lead fast break and Lou did his Lou thing with a rebound and two missed free throws (oops).
Even more impressive and more impactful to the win was the opening stretch of the fourth quarter. The bench went on a 11-2 run to stretch a 2 point lead to 11 points with Nash on the bench. When was the last time that happened Suns fans? 2004? Nope. 2007? Nope. We are seeing something here that we've been waiting for a long, long time.
I am not a big fan of the +/- stat because there are so many other factors but in this game it is fair to say that Dudley (+14), Dragic (+12) and Lou (+10) deserved those numbers compared to Nash (-7), Amare (-9) and Hill (-7).
In fact the only Suns starters in the positive were Richardson (+7) and Frye (+5) and they both played significant minutes with the reserves.
That's not to say that Nash's big shot to seal the win wasn't BIG. Or Amare's block and late basket weren't key. And of course Richardson's (34 and 10) were crucial. But the importance of this young bench unit playing so well on the road and allowing Nash to be fresh for the final run and only play 35 minutes can not be overstated. I think I stated that already.
Here's what Boston coach Doc Rivers had to state about the Suns bench:
"And, hell, it’s rare when I’ll say ‘Keep Grant Hill on the floor,’ but we wanted him on the floor instead of Dudley, the way Dudley was playing. He was just a thorn in our butt. I mean, the biggest, one of their biggest plays is that back-cut down the stretch. But he did it all game. He was absolutely fantastic tonight. I thought Dudley was – him and Amundson – I thought those two were fantastic.”
The bad news is that the C's big front line of KG and Perkins killed the Suns in the paint (60-36) and in a series between these two teams there's no question that the Suns would be at a severe disadvantage. You just can't shoot 54% from behind the line every night.
The Boston defense rightly gets all the pub but the offense from their starting unit is much better than it was a few years ago. They move the ball really well and with a healthy KG they can score from pretty much anywhere.
This was a great road win for the Suns but in the scheme of things it doesn't change the power structure in the NBA but it is a shot across the bow to teams like New Orleans, Utah, Houston and the currently dysfunctional Portland Trail Blazers that the Suns are not going to go quietly into the night.
Richardson, Suns take down Celtics
The not-ready-for-primetime Suns are going to have a hard time staying undercover now.
Notes: Suns not rushing rookie Clark
True to the summer plan, the Suns are not rushing Clark. He has played important minutes some nights and mop-up ones on others. On Friday, it was the former. He entered in the first quarter and spent time guarding Rasheed Wallace, the type of shooting big man they drafted Clark to cover.
TruFan - :: Why the Celtics will beat the Suns
For Boston Celtics, loss to Phoenix Suns can be used as learning tool - ESPN Boston
But unlike Wednesday night in Minnesota, Boston's hallmark defense wasn't there. For the first time this season, its bench couldn't hold the fort when the starters desperately needed rest.
Stoudemire stating his case - The Boston Globe
"There’s a lot of times where we should be going to Amar’e more,’’ Gentry said following the game. "But we have somebody else going or somebody else is doing a good job, we don’t go to him as much as we used to in the past. But he’s all right with that. He’s still trying to work hard on his defense and get better at that. He knows somewhere along the line he will get the touches.’’
Kevin Garnett Can Still Score - CelticsBlog
Despite the L, Positive signs from KG last night
Stoudemire questions Perkins' maturity - Celtics Blog - Boston.com
"He''s a solid player out there, he loves to get physical. He's aggressive," Stoudemire said. "He keeps a lot of confrontation going. We try to play smart basketball from our standpoint. We try to stay out of the confrontation, really and just execute our plays offensively and defensively. But seeing sometimes he wants to keep it up, always mean, always mad. He don't even have fun out there. He needs to learn to have fun on the basketball court and enjoy his life, enjoy the game."
Jared Dudley an above-par sub - BostonHerald.com
Even when he was the ACC Player of the Year at Boston College, Jared Dudley never had the type of game typically associated with star players. No one skill made Dudley stand out. Instead, it was the sum of all the little things he did on the court that made him successful. With that in...
GameFlows or graphical boxscores of NBA games
The Suite Life - TrueHoop - ESPN
As if you needed more reasons to hate the Lakers...a fancy 200 person super club for the rich and famous to be rich and famous while a basketball game goes on beneath them. This is what sports is all about....in LA.
Game Highlights via They Who Shall Not Be Linked
It should not pass without notice that Amare is getting his lift back. Two weeks ago he doesn't make either of these plays:
Did you notice in this one that he literally dunked on KG's head while KG wanted no part of contesting that dunk?