That went according to plan...for the most part. The Suns jumped out to a big 16 point lead in the 1st quarter but gave it back to close the half up just 6. Perhaps as a way to make things more interesting for the fans or perhaps just because these things happen, the Hornets went on an 8-0 run to start the 3rd forcing a Gentry time out.
Out of that forced break, the Suns took off and finished the 3rd quarter 28 to 14. The bench closed things out in the fourth allowing Nash to rest for the rest of the game. Final score 120-106.
Unfortunately, this game took a measure of revenge as Grant Hill came down hard on the back of his head with a sickening thud. He lay on the floor for a couple of minutes before walking off. The Suns put out a statement saying he is being evaluated for a concussion. More to come on that.
The star of the game was Amare. 36 and 12 in only 32 minutes of play. He got to the line a ton and was a perfect 14-14. Great all-around Gorilla Game.
The rest of the boys looked sharp. Nash was hitting his shots (13pts, 12 ast, 5/7 shooting). JRich had a nice game. Goran and Dudley were solid off the bench and Robin started strong with 7 points in the 1st quarter and 10 for the game.
For the Hornets, Marcus Thorton, Darren Collison and David West were all good but beyond that there's not much to talk about. Thorton was very impressive - hitting three's. Finishing at the rim. Strong game from him. Fun player to watch.
Oh, and Jared Dudley had his 3rd dunk of the season. He owes Goran for that one - Dragic passed up an open three to hit Jared cutting baseline unopposed.
I would like to credit the Suns defense for a solid game but really...oh hell, good game, Suns D. We will just ignore the level of competition faced.
Hill Head Update
Grant went home and will continue to be evaluated for concussion. When he left the arena his only symptom was a headache. I am not a doctor but I am married to one, so I can report that other concussion symptoms are dizziness and nausea. I would assume they told Tamia (Mrs Hill) to watch for that because those things can develop hours after the actual injury. Needless to say, we will keep you posted on Grant's situation. The Suns practice tomorrow and we will be there.
Coach Gentry was pleased with the team other than the 18 turnovers and getting beat on the offensive glass 14 to 5. He said there's times this team loses focus and tries to do too much and make "Harlem Globetrotter" type plays. He wants the Suns to just keep it simple and execute and not get too fancy.
When David West picked up two quick fouls, Gentry decided to keep going right at him which forced the Hornet to cover Amare with Okafor which was a mismatch that Stoudemire took advantage of. 36 points on 17 shots is a great game by any standard.
Gentry was full of praise for young Marcus Thornton saying he wasn't sure there was an answer for him. He finished with 28 to lead the Hornets off the bench.
Dudley's 3rd Dunk...or was it
Most of the guys cleared out of the locker room really fast tonight. I missed most of Jared Dudley's media time but no worries - he recorded himself being interviewed by FSN AZ so we will post that JMZ interview later. I did hear him say that he thinks he has 4 dunks on the season citing ESPN's stats (which I couldn't find).
Nash is back!
Nash reported the following about his back, "I really struggled physically for the last six weeks. Coincidentally tonight I felt the best I've felt in six weeks. Hopefully the work we did last week has really got me to a good point where I can finish the season strong and play at the level I played for the most part this season and help our team win as many games here down the stretch."
Clark to the D-league
Earl Clark is scheduled to head to Iowa tomorrow for three games with the Iowa Energy. They are scheduled to play the Dakota Wizards on Wednesday and the the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Friday and Saturday. Grant's injury situation could change those plans.
Robin Lopez Live Chat
The Suns no longer have a practice scheduled for Wednesday so our Live Chat with Robin will be Thursday the 18th instead of Wednesday the 17th. Stay tuned for more details.
- Small crowd tonight. If the Lakers game on Friday was a 8 on the energy and buzz level this one is a 2
- Hornets only have 8 guys in uniform for this game and pretty much 5 of them shouldn't be in the leauge
- Darren Collison isn't one of those 5...he scores twice to start the game for the Hornets
- Robin looks good early. Active. Head up. Two quick dunks
- If the Hornets think they can trap Nash with Okafor and rotate West onto Robin...they are in for a long night. Or maybe a short night. I think it will be a short night. Game over early
- Robin has 100% more rebounds than he did Friday...yes, that was lame and really didn't need to be said
- If you can get an assist on the block, Nash deserves one there. He said in front of Collison long enough to distract him while Grant came in for the rejection
- Robin is playing off Okafor basically giving him an open 15ft J. Okafor is 1 for 3 so far but I'd like to see Robin get up on him and see if Okafor can put the ball on the deck. So far, Robin's approach is sound but my idea would be more fun. Right?
- Nice video tribute for Nash's 1,000th. Great ovation that Steve sheepishly acknowledges w/ slight wave
- Jason and Steve both hit three's. Would have been nice to have that on Friday...but what can you do
- Btw - Suns up 25-11 with 5min to go in the qtr
- I am predicting that Earl Clark with have 10 pts in this game
- Hornets aren't exactly playing anything that I would call "defense"
- Nash looks much much better tonight - hitting all those crazy little pull ups he loves
- Wearing some new shoes tonight. Walked by Goran pregame - he pointed and gave me the thumbs up
- Question: Will the Suns let up and let the Hornets hang around? So far it seems that way. After getting up by about 15 they've allowed NOH to cut the lead to 12 with some sloppy play
- And that was just for checking into the game
- This Collison kid is GOOD. Suns up 34-22 after Darren iso's Goran at the top of the key and just jab step, pull up J to end the Q
- This crowd really isn't that small...prob about 17k. Not bad for a Sunday against a non-playoff team w/o CP3
- Anyone know what May 15th is? I am looking forward to it
- Interested to see Goran v Darren
- When they pass out the box scores the first thing I look at is the rebounding. That's how I roll
- Ok - Dragic got him that time w/ a block on Collison
- Aaron Grey is big...I'm not sure what else he is but he is large
- 37-28, 8:13. Frye just pump faked (foke?) and drove the lane. Too bad he ran right over Aaron Grey. He needs to learn Robin's little stop and pop from 5 ft
- Hill is pissed over that jump ball call. So he posts up, calls for the ball and goes Sprite all over someone
- Suns trap Collison in the back court and force a turnover...Defense, people. Get used to it
- Grant Hill with yet another amazing block...he's on a roll with those
- So far the bench is +2. 44-30 w/ 6min in the half
- Old people kissing....still gross
- Amare just got T'd up. I have no idea why. Nor does he from the look of it
- If Nash has to play the 4th quarter of this game that will be a fail
- Lead down to 9 - 44-35. Where did all that pretty scoring go?
- Gentry forced to call a time out. Lead down to 7. 4 min to go
- When the Suns need a basket who do they go to? Robin Lopez of course
- Balanced scoring for Suns. Amare with 8, Robin and Jason w/ 9. Nash and Dudz w/ 7
- Dragic in w/ 55 sec left in the half. A defensive sub? He and Robin stuffed Collison in the paint
- Thorton w/ a studly deep three at the buzzer. 55-49 Suns
- Hornets on a 8-0 run to start the quarter. Guessing that's not how Gentry drew it up in the locker room. Time out, Suns. 57-55 Hornets
- Amare's little hesitation side-step move in the lane is a thing of beauty
- At least three times, Nash has save balls going out of bounds right back to the Hornets. A for effort....I guess
- Amare's 17fter didn't even touch the net. It just slide right on through
- Four fouls on D West with 7:37 to go. Thorton in for him. Mo Pete picks up his 4th as well. Songalia coming in now
- Suns back up 69-59 btw. A 14-2 run for the Suns since the time out. 7 min to go
- That wasn't a comment on the game as much as me being tired. Late night last night. My anniversary. Wife and I had dinner at Mazies on up-town Phoenix and then saw Up in the Air. Food was good. Movie was meh...although the Vera Farmiga naked ass scene was worth the price of admission. Went home and kicked the baby sitter out and broke open some vino and...well it was a late night. So that's the reason for the yawn. k? thx
- Marcus Thorton splits a double team and hits a floater over Amare. Pretty play
- Amare iso'd on Sangalia in the post. What's the Lithuanian word for "pwnd"?
- Grant just landed hard! smacked the back of his head on the court. LOUD! damn
- He's up and walking off...phew. That one was scary. He was down for a couple minutes
- JRich with 13. This game is a perfect example of his getting lost in the offense. He's having a solid game but just can't get any plays ran for him
- Amare is Gorilla Gaming btw...28 points, 11 rebounds in 25 min
- Marcus Thorton just finished on the break and ran over to Max and gave him some love...putting his hands on Max to keep himself from falling over
- Dragic in for Jason - D'ing up on Thorton already
- Hornets TO after Steve's 3 gives Suns 81-67 lead
- Pretty sure USAC is pumping in fake crowd noise
- Jared Dunk! #3!!! He owes that one to Goran who passed up a wide open three to hit him cutting baseline unopposed
- Good job by the Suns collapsing on Collison and making Songalia take that shot at the buzzer. He rewards the Suns by missing.
- 83-71 Suns
- Finally they call a T on D West. He's been jawing all night. Finally gets the T for shoving off after finishing a nice post move against Fry
- Goran for three...lets see if he can get aggressive and put this game away like he's done a couple of times this year
- Amare just destroyed the rim with that dunk and might have made Darius Songalia reconsider having children. 91-74 Suns with 10:33 to go
- I think it is fair to say that Channing has shed the "soft" label. Nice hard (clean) foul on D West
- Good job so far by the bench + JRich. Suns up 18
- Thorton hits a three w/ a defender draped all over him. 22 points so far
- JRich w/ the 360 dunk off the bounce from Dudley's long pass after his steal. He's pumped about that....good thing LeBron wasn't here
- JRich drains a three...he's feeling it now
- Clark, Collin and Griffin all in the game. Game over