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Suns Turn it on Late, Edge Kings, 115-107

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Amare brought his gorilla game tonight. (Photo by Max Simbron)
Amare brought his gorilla game tonight. (Photo by Max Simbron)

A win is a win is a win. The Suns performance tonight through 3.5 quarters was nothing to write home about. But led by Amare Stoudemire's 21 rebounds, and Steve Nash's 32 points, along with some timely 4th quarter shooting by Channing Frye, the Suns came out on top with a 115-107 victory against the Sacramento Kings to keep their undefeated home record in tact. 

The Suns needed Amare Stoudemire tonight. Pure and simple. They needed the gorilla game, they needed the Artest game, the Sun Tzu game. They needed Nash to be aggressive on the offensive end, and they got it, and a little extra in the 4th quarter to finish off a gritty Kings team that was a far cry from the squad the Suns bludgeoned by 48 points last year.

Tonight the Suns struggled from the field, shooting in the high 30's for much of the game. Nash struggled with his shot, Amare didn't get the ball on the offensive end (unless it was one of his 9 offensive rebounds) for the first 2 quarters but the Suns were strong from the free throw line, which, along with the Kings poor shooting, kept the game close for much of the night. 

But in the fourth quarter a series of Suns threes and some excellent defense both on the offensive boards and on the defensive end sealed the victory. The difference in the game went a little something like this:

  • Huge 3 by Dragic suns up 88-85.
  • 2nd huge 3 by Dragic, Suns 91-89.
  • Huge 3 by Frye after two offensive rebounds 98-94. Stoudemire went to work, fighting off the whole Kings squad in the lane to earn a foul and two foul shots, one of which he made. Suns up 99-94
  • The Kings continued to bomb away and miss-while Channing Frye caught fire, hitting a three, Suns up 102-94
  • ANOTHER THREE, but by Nash, suns 105-96
  • Grant hill a long two 107-98 suns
  • Kings 4-0 run Evans makes two free throws and Thompson makes a basket inside.
  • Nash big three 110-102
  • Frye three 113-104
  • Defensive stops....Frye decides to play defense in the 4th.
  • With 8  minutes left, Nash returns....Feeds Sun Tzu for two, then a turn around in the lane after a Nocioni 3.

And a little series of play by Grant Hill encapsulated the Suns season thus far (GRITTY)and provided enough to turn a fairly small, mellow U.S Airways crowd into a frenzied mob. Here was the Bring the House Down Moment: 


Grant Hill drives on the left side beautifully takes the ball to the rim, gets hammered to the ground, but no foul is called. On his back he retrieves the ball and manages to pass out to Nash who passes to J-Rich for a three. He misses. The rebound bounces back to Hill, who nonchalantly (yet angrily) passes out to Frye who knocks down a three from the top of the key. The crowd goes nuts. Loudest I've heard it in U.S. Airways since the WNBA playoffs.

It was clear to me at that moment that the Suns and their fans were willing themselves to a much needed victory. 

Some Observations:
  • Nash had only 6 assists but hoisted up 23 shots
  • Stoudemire was two rebounds short of his career high. While he finished with 18 points, it was a fairly quiet 18, because for most of the night he battled the Kings for boards and put backs. Remember the Amare who many said was "watching" the games in New York and Cleveland? Not tonight. He certainly partook in the game, and reminded us all how valuable he is to this team.
  • Grant Hill seemingly struggled, going 4-15 from the field, but with thanks to some non calls by the officials, Hill got angry, and made the Kings pay both on the boards (8) along with his basketball IQ, finding the open man when it counted.
  • Let's also give credit to Jason Richardson and Channing Frye. Richardson started strong with 13 in the opening quarter. While Frye struggled throughout the game on both ends of the floor, he saved his best for last, making three three-pointers in the final six minutes to ice the game.
  • Lopez was active in his limited minutes, with a weakside block on Casspi that resulted in a foul. Still, it was an aggressive play. Lopez is definitely an imposing force, and necessary on this team. He is a foul magnet, which is to be expected, but he's got 6 to give, so he may as well make them worth it.,
  • Grant Hill played a quietly sound game. He looks much more energetic, his shot much more accurate than the past two weeks.
  • The Suns still weren't making shots early on, but they were not wide open. The Kings played quality defense most of the night, and hung around to take one point lead 51-50 with 2.40 left.  
  • The Suns were 19-22 FT at the half, finishing the game 28-34, which is no small feat, the way they have been shooting the ball from the charity stripe this season.

Post Game Quotes:

Alvin Gentry

It's a grind it out win, basically. We could never get any get any separation. they're so good offensively and they are so versatile offensively that they (Kings) force you into awkward situations. They started with a big lineup, then played three guards...We couldn't quite get our hands on the ball. We had a couple of rebounds that bounced kind of funny, but we never really could come up with those tow or three rebounds. They played well and we didn't shoot the ball well, but we found a way to grind it out. I thought Amare was great on the boards, it's a really good win for us.

We're a little bit tired, just from the travel, and I'm not trying to make excuses, it's just the facts. We're not quite as energetic as we've been. I'm sure we'll get back there, but our guys are a little bit spent.

 

Amare Stoudemire

Tonight was a big getaway game for us. We came out with intensity, we scrapped on the rebound tip. Down the stretch they played one on one with Steve, they wanted hm to be the scorer rather than the facilitator and he scored well...We stayed focus out there tonight. We know what type of team of we are, it was one of those nights wehere you have to just gut it out. Tonight we did that, guys were scrapping.

 

 

 


 

FINAL - 12.5.2009 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Sacramento Kings  26 29 28 24 107
Phoenix Suns  35 25 22 33 115

Full Boxscore "