When you don't have Amare Stoudemire and you don't have Steve Nash, it is very difficult to out score great teams.
Tonight, we will see if the Suns can outscore a not-so-great-but-won-their-last-two-games-and-now-have-the-Matrix-and-are-bigger-than-us team.
I was surprised last night to turn on the TV and see that Tucker was starting. I had assumed without really checking that meant JRich would come off the bench in a Manu-style 6th man punch, but no.
Gentry instead went with the obviously left-foot hobbled Hill at the four to go with his three guard line-up and Shaq. If you thought starting Hill on Odom was a bit of a mismatch (especially when Grant's not scoring), then imagine tonight playing Shaq and Hill against Bosh and Bargnani with the Matrix battling Richardson on the glass.
For some reason, that does not inspire confidence. I would much rather see Barnes at the four than Hill, at least for his defensive abilities. But given Matt's prolonged shooting slump (in which his attempts haven't slumped nearly as much as his makes), I get the lack of appeal there, too. Amundson and Dudley are both very solid role players, but neither should play more than 20 minutes in a game. Combined.
There just aren't a lot of good options for a Suns front line that was thin going into the season with Shaq, Amare, Diaw and Lopez, and even moreso now with just Shaq and Lopez.
You can't play those guys together and Sims has been the only other guy with the potential size and skills to fit in but for whatever reason (money) he's no longer here.
Not enough big men to control the glass and defend the paint. Not enough skill with the mid-sized bench guys. Unhealthy gunners in Hill and Richardson.
Can Barbosa score 50 tonight? I hope so.
It is not all bad, though. The Raptors are inconsistent and far underperforming their talent. The Suns can win this game if they play smart and hard and give 110% on the defensive end.
Matrix Returns Part II
When Trix came back to Phoenix the first time, there were some Suns fans that were not pleased with the lack of class shown by the Suns organization towards this former player. I include myself in that "some."
No video tribute. No jumbotron message of thanks. No owner standing and clapping for the guy who busted his ass in Phoenix for eight years.
You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, but you can at least remember to wash your armpits for the mulligan.
I am hoping the Suns heard the message and will give Shawn the honor he's due.
Speaking of Shawn - here he is talking about how the Raptors will focus their defense on Shaq...watch this and tell me you don't miss this guy
Check out Raptors Republic - good dinosaurs over there