Well - we knew there could be some excuses. Trevor covered that in the preview,
No one will fault the Suns if they come out shooting flat, playing minimal defense and just generally lacking energy. Everyone understands that triple overtime games take awhile to recuperate from, especially when you're as old as Nash, Hill and Carter (37, 38, 34). However, even with the excuses already locked and loaded, the Suns need to try their best to win this game.
Well the first part was entirely true. Oh and there was an added bonus - Grant HIll - well he was out with the stomach flu - and oh yeah, Steve Nash? He was feeling under the weather too. (What did those putrid Los Angeleans feed our boys?) Oh and one more thing? Mickael Pietrus sprained his knee. But again I'll rehash what Trevor pointed out - at this point in our unpredictable season failure is not an option. Excuses only sugar-coat the inevitable at this point.
But you know what's great? The second half of Trevor's declaration was equally and entirely true. The Suns indeed tried their best to win this game and it was the behemoth-of-an-effort from the bench especially that willed this team to victory over a confident and a hot Toronto Raptors team. That statement is not to discredit the heart and energy that the starters exerted as well to pull out this victory coming off an epic triple-overtime loss under the... dim-lit roof of Los Angeles' Staples Center.
A few goodies for you after the jump! READ MORE!
The Suns certainly came out a little flat with shots falling a little short, turnovers happening at a quicker rate than they were yesterday, the defense was a lotta slow a lotta times.. and Suns fell into a hole giving up a 9 point run to the Raptors to start the game and ultimately going down by 6 after the first quarter allowing the Raptors to score 32.
But the story-line changed in the second quarter as the Suns showed tremendous heart and scrap and a lot of execution from the bench. They broke even in the 2nd quarter holding Toronto to 29 points and painting 29 on the scoreboard themselves. After the half there was no looking back... though the Raptors went on a few tense runs themselves, the Suns rallied and outscored the opponent in both the 3rd and 4th quarters to take a 114-106 victory.
I have two goodies for you. 1) Some random notes - ADD YOUR OWN IN THE COMMENTS FOR THOSE WHO DIDN'T SEE THE GAME. AND 2) a short yet powerful narrative for your amusement and/or arousal.
And now for a little treat - as you can see I've tried to write a little something about everyone because like Alvin Gentry said in his post-game presser - it felt as if everyone who stepped on the floor tonight for the Suns did something to help the team earn this victory. Here's a tribute to one I've yet to mention.
A short narrative
There he was - a half step inside the three-point line on the right wing, poised and collected. His eyes shifted from the rim where out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of the expiring shot and game clock to match up with Gortat's penetrating Polish eyes. For a moment, the crowd went quiet, the background noise seemingly faded as if the miniature unicorns controlling his mental sound board slowly turned the dials from +10 to level at 0. "JMZ baby" He said to himself and he sneakily began his motion. The play was set. The time was now.
Aaron Brooks darted from his defender to stack-up behind Gortat and set a firm screen, by this time Jared was gaining speed and with a slight of hand only found at a Chris Angel dark magic show at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas the ball was transferred from the hands of the Polish Hammer to those of a now streaking Dudley. The integrity of the Toronto Raptors interior defense was broken, the lane was wide open. Before the weak side defender could turn and comprehend the movement of the enemy... HE WAS ALREADY AIRBORN.
It was as if he was floating, being supported by 16 small cherubim who were wearing Nike's with the words "High Flyers MJ?" embroidered on the tongues. Before the destruction was wrought upon the rim, an anxious and ecstatic Zabian Dowdell was already in airborne celebration on the Suns bench. Everything was surreal yet so comfortable for him... All in one moment, the rim was rattled, the basket was counted, and it was as if perfectly on cue the miniature unicorns all in unison cranked the background volume up to +20 - no gradual ascension - all at once Jared Dudley was invigorated with roaring sound of a loaded U.S. Airways arena... Number 7.
Great game - gritty win, still on track to survival. Let's now look ahead to our next game against the Hornets.
Check out the Raptors take at Raptors HQ.
Channing Frye's Journey To 'Clutchville' - SB Nation Arizona
Channing credits a new mental approach this season to his ability to make these big shots. He's a guy who Suns coach Alvin Gentry described as highly competitive but also very sensitive. For Channing that often manifested itself as an inability to relax and handle the pressure.
Frye - Bayless dust up: