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Suns feast on Warriors: 154 - 130

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Wow. Now that was a ball game. Or at least it was about 3/4's of a ball game because the game was over by the time the fourth quarter started. Let's jump right in to the bullets on this one:

  • Nash and Shaq looked as good as I've ever seen them together, with a great mix of running and inside game. Nash was looking for the Big Fella and getting him the ball, which is not something we've seen. It really paid off as Shaq's advantage provided high % inside scoring and got Turiaf into enough foul trouble that Nellie had to go with Davidson for a crucial stretch in the 3rd quarter
  • The Suns did a great job bringing Shaq across the lane from the weak side to the strong side using picks to get him great position. The timing on the entry passes was fantastic. In the past, the Suns would work the ball around to whichever side of the lane Shaq was on, allowing the defender to get good position. By moving Shaq to the ball and using screens, he caught the ball in much better position and didn't give the defender time to front. Great adjustment. It's about time
  • JRich and Barnes were both fantastic in their return to The City. JRich was an amazing 11-15 for 31 points in only 31 minutes and Barnes set a career high with 11 assists
  • LB, who reportedly had a lower abdominal strain before the game, was great in his 20 minutes, scoring 21 points on 7-15 along with solid defense
  • Amundson and Dudley really were effective against a pretty small Warrior front line
  • The Suns went to the zone heavily in the second half to stop Ellis's dribble penetration. The Suns tried that against Wade and the Heat and got torched. This time the energy and effort were higher, as was the communication. It helped that the Warriors only shot 28% from three but even if they had shot 40% it would have just made the score a bit closer
  • It was that defensive adjustment and execution in the 3rd that allowed the Suns to go on a big run and hold the lead
  • The key stretch was from about 7:40 to 5:21, which started with the teams tied at 83 and ended with the Suns up 98-87. A 15-4 run by the Suns starters. Turiaf was out for that entire stretch, having picked up 3 fouls. I don't think he returned
  • The next stretch might have been more impressive, as Shaq and Nash were replaced by Amundson and Barbosa with 5 min left in the 3rd quarter. It is not often you see Nash come out of a game at that point. The better defensive unit for the Suns closed out the final 5 minutes with a 22-13 advantage, led by 9 points from LB (including 3 tech FT's) and the defensive effort of Hill and Lou
  • Once again, Gentry showed great confidence in his bench, playing Dragic, Tucker and Dudley before the game was decided. Dragic had his third straight game of solid performance and I love seeing Tucker get non-garbage time minutes. He put a wicked cross over on Marrow to get into the lane and find Shaq. Maybe he's being showcased for possible trades this summer but I still am enjoying Gentry's rotations and balance
  • The refs in this game were horrible going both ways. Unfortunately, it earned S-Jax an early trip to the showers and Nellie decided to follow him soon after. I am sure Warriors fans are rightly upset about the 2nd T on their leader and certainly there were a lot of questionable and inconsistent calls

This was by far the best Suns game since the win over the Lakers two weeks ago. The all-around effort, chemistry, focus, balance and, of course, the result. They set all kinds of records for scoring in the season and had the most points in a regulation NBA game since 1991. Even against a Warriors team without their best interior defender and rebounder, that's impressive

The Suns have a light week coming with only the 76ers and Wizards on Wednesday and Saturday before being tested again by the Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers the following week

It is probably too late to make the playoffs but finishing strong is very important for the future of the team

Box Score * GSOM *