Tonight's game in Milwaukee was a tale of two-halves... well - at least is was from our starters who started the game flat, cold, and downright ugly.
What began as a back and forth game with ugly turnovers by the Suns and easy transition buckets for the Bucks, ended in a Suns victory as Phoenix rode an amazing 19-0 run in the third quarter from
the bench the starters who turned around in the 2nd half after trailing by 3 and played a great game defeating the Bucks by 24 points.
Mickael Pietrus stepped in for the Injured Vince Carter and played extremely well finishing with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Channing Frye also netted 20 points (5-8 from downtown), 9 rebounds and 2 steals.
After a rough loss in Boston in Tuesday the Suns stepped up tonight in a must-win game and took care of business.
Let's break it down a little more after the jump.
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Channing Frye Has Tigers Blood
In this game I mentioned how the starters came out very cold and without a lot of energy, well, everyone but Channing Frye - he has Tigers Blood. In 36 minutes he scored 20 points and had 9 rebounds and he was the work-horse that carried the Suns in the first half and continued his roll as the Suns built separation in the second half. What gets Frye even more plane-cookie points in my book is that he's doing this after coming off of a game where he was absolutely abused by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston. It was also a game in which Frye suffered a mild concussion, he missed practice yesterday but tonight he came to the game ready to work and dialed in to shoot. I think we all know of another player who's losing even more plane-cookie points (though that won't stop him from eating multiple on the ride to OKC) in my book because though he too suffered a mild concussion.. he watched the game from the locker room.
(Disclaimer: I'm not trying to make light of head injuries... but in my book Vince has a reputation of embellishing nicks and bruises. Channing Frye now has a reputation as A MAN)
Despite hitting a barrage of 3's, the most impressive basket of the night for Frye was his offensive rebound that he slammed home on the fly - a thing of beauty.
MP Has Tigers Blood
Man - what impresses me the most about MP's game tonight besides his 20 points and 8 rebounds was his activity defensively, he was everywhere! He was poking balls away, contesting everything, his weak side help as well as his slashing rebounds were awesome and he was flying in from the wing to grab boards all game.
Pietrus absolutely abused smaller guards down in the post in the second half and was feeling it (I think he's always feeling it regardless of if he's making it or not..) from behind the arc - we even heard yet another... tiger scream when he made a mistake and threw a pass into the back of an oblivious Marcin Gortat. That tells me he's engaged and passionate about making the right plays. I didn't miss Vince Carter one bit and that's probably not surprise since you already know I'm not a fan.
What's Wrong With Steve Nash?
Nash came out of the game with 4:36 left in the first quarter, that's very early... is he tired? Is he hurt? Is he just in a slump? Is it really just that he had 5 turnovers and 2 fouls in just under 7 minutes of play? Definitely not a good start to tonight's game for Nash but I don't buy that story. Something is wrong with Steve, maybe he's got a small nagging injury. A strained oblique again, maybe his back, maybe the groin... who knows but I'm willing to start a conspiracy theory that he's hurt or in a dark place mentally or whatnot, at least he has been since the start of this road trip.
In tonight's game Steve had 7 of the team's 8 turnovers they were sporting like a haematoma at the half. Though he turned his game around in the second half without a turnover and finished with 8 points and a big 13 assists. He's still finding guys and getting the job done in that department.. but on this road trip something is definitely wrong with his shot. Here's how his shooting has been,
@Toronto - 2/12 (.167), 0-3 from 3
@Indiana - 5/14 (.357), 0-4 from 3
@New Jersey - 3/13 (.231), 0-3 from 3
@Boston - 3/7 (.429), 1-3 from 3
@Milwaukee - 3/6 (.500), 1-1 from 3
Sure his numbers were better in the last two games but look... 7 and 6 shot attempts. For the trip he's shooting just 33% from the field and a paltry 27% from 3-point range. For Steve Nash, a career 49% and 43% shooter... that is bad.
He's also coming off his worst 3-point shooting month of his career in February where he shot just 30%.
So what do you think is wrong?
I wrote a few notes while watching - these are some things I observed that I haven't already highlighted above. Let me know what you think.
- Robin Lopez continually stops on the pick and roll and elects to take short and flat jumpers - sometimes fading away. Is he taking notes from Vince Carter? Regardless, it seems to me like he's rushing his offense today.
- Starters opening the game really sluggish both offensively and defensively ... again. Especially in the paint on the defensive end.
- At this point we are 4 minutes and 20 seconds into the game and the Bucks already have 4 Offensive Rebounds = NO BUENO.
- The Suns have 8 turnovers at halftime.. 7 from Steve Nash (5 steals from C.Delfino, he's got Steve's number tonight)
- Earl Barron who has a career .371 FG% and shot a .286 in his last outing.... is 2-2 shooting 100% at the half... WHAT?? (He finished the game 2-4... and that's still disappointing)
While the Starters were in – everything was from a distance. We started the game with 12 points – on 4 made 3-point shots. That’s great that we shoot the three well, but I’m talking about EVERYTHING was from the perimeter. The second unit came in and did a much better job of playing both from the perimeter and in the paint and drawing fouls.
19 to 0 run in the 3rd quarter from
the benchthe starters – GOOD GOOD GOOD especially because not everything is from a distance, they did a better job of mixing it up like the bench did in the first half.
- Josh Childress, Siler, and Z got some game time - tonight is a good night!
- Aaron Brooks is a great ball-handler. Pause.
- Though Corey Maggette is probably the buff-est dude in the NBA... he's pretty good at flopping and making it look like he's really weak though.
- Earl Boykins has great touch - between he and Jennings, I think I've seen the most straight lane floaters I've ever seen in a single game.
- ooooh Jennings had a big night with 16 points right? Wrong, he jacked up 17 shots hitting 5, 29%... ouch.
- Grant Hill quietly had a great BAMF night - 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. BAM.
That's All Folks
In conclusion - the Suns did what they needed to do and got some garbage time for Silo as well. That's a good game and a job well done. This is really a fun road trip.
Time to travel to OKC and take on the Perkins-less and Robinson-less Thunder. It won't be an easy game... but I'll let the next bro tell you all about that game in the upcoming preview!
P.s. - Check out the losers site - sometimes its fun