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Rick Adelman Keeps the Suns' Hopes Alive; Suns beat Rockets 114-109

PhxStan begged for some help with the game recap. Everyone else stepped back, so I guess I was standing there. I warned that it might be a weak Suns-in-Sacramento type of effort.

Bluntman went to the game tonight. He's been dating two girls. One that likes basketball and one that takes him to strip clubs. I wonder who he took to the game. Don't answer too quickly -- he does go to work tomorrow.

I wonder what he thinks about the game. I wonder what SHE thinks about the game.

The thing that interested me most was that the Suns went on an 11-0 (or more, mabye) run in the fourth with Shaq on the bench. Shaq was on the bench because Yao was on the bench. The 20 seconds or so in the game when Gentry went without Shaq on the floor with Yao in the game was pretty scary. Yao and Shaq out at the same time seemed to benefit the Suns more than the Rockets.

I'm also glad that Adelman took Artest out of the game. That bench time really cooled him off. My high school economics teacher (a former bond trader) always used to say, "The trend is your friend." He meant that you shouldn't try to guess the top of the market or the bottom of the market. Why try to guess when Artest is at his high point? Why not until you see him slipping? You can get into trouble when you try to out-smart yourself.

Dudley continues to do his thing. One thing I want to pay more attention to are his minutes in the final 8-game mini-season. If the Suns' chances get even bleaker, I think I'd like to see him starting at the 4. If (good Lord willing) the Suns are able to snooker Cleveland into taking Shaq, then maybe we'll see Amare at the 5 and Dudley at the 4. Could be fun with Gentry and Nash next year.

Familiarity is also comforting.

Nash hit his daggers and dished out those assists (17 to 1 assist-to-turnover ration). Grant Hill continues to play at his consistently high level. Amundson continues to fumble hand-off passes. Goran took his typical step backward after taking a few steps forward. JRich continues to shoot and score.

Overall, it was a good team effort. Almost a great team effort. If Shaqovic-itis had not hit the team, it would have been a more comfortable win. If the Suns had stepped out on the three-point shooters in the first half, the Rockets would not have been close (9 for 14) in the first half. Good half-time adjustments, I suppose (12 for 25 by the end of the game).

The 21 point third period was disappointing, but at least the Rocket returned the favoer with a 21 point fourth. Without Yao centering their offense, with the Suns running and with Artest sitting, the Rockets could not find a groove on offense.

You'd like to think that with a day's rest and Sacramento at home, we could pencil the next game in. In theory, that should work. In theory.

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