Wow! For the first time all year, the Phoenix Suns touched the 120-point barrier, turning the game into a chuckler in the final stanza on the way to an easy 17-point win.
And in the process, Steve Nash set the Suns all-time assist record in his 17th "30 and 10" game of his career, but for the first time in more than 2 years. He was ready to play tonight, wasn't he?
(Digression: can you guess the top 5 Suns career assist leaders? Bet not! Jump to the bottom for the answers...)
If Suns coach Alvin Gentry hadn't already played 12 guys before the Suns took the lead for good, he might have been able to clear the bench in the final couple minutes. But for some reason, one of the best-shooting guards in the history of the game (Michael Redd) never took off the warmups. Where is Pat Burke when you need him?
How did this happen? How did it take 20 games for the Suns to score 120 points in a single game? Who knows. We'll just take what we can get, and enjoy it in this otherwise lackluster season.
The first half was nothing to write home about. The Phoenix Suns played with no energy on defense, allowing 59 points and 20 assists in the first 24 minutes to a team that only averages 87 and 18 per 48. Somehow, they were only down 3 points, thanks to the Hornets equally bad defense by wanting Nash (one of the best shooters in the history of the game) to shoot. He scored 19 points.
The second half was a little better, highlighted by the Hornets changing their defense a bit (or Nash finding the holes) and allowing Nash 7 assists in the first 6 minutes of the second half. At that point, we were all looking at the guy with the most career assists of any player in the history of the Phoenix Suns franchise, beating out Kevin Johson...
Of further note, three of Nash's third-quarter assists went to the recently freed Josh Childress.* By the end of the third quarter, the Suns had retaken the lead even with another last-second score at the end of the quarter by an opponent. Yet despite the lead, the Suns had allowed the Hornets to EXCEED their season scoring average by the end of the third quarter. With TWELVE minutes left to go!
The fourth quarter was even better, as the Hornets scoring magic went poof while the Suns started pouring it on like it was 2010. In fact, the Suns ended up scoring more points than any game all season. First time they scored more than 100 in a win since they were 4-4 overall and 2012 had just dawned over the horizon. And it's gotta be the first time they had 3 different 30-point quarters in the same game.
*by the way, for all those clamoring to amnesty Childress at the beginning of the season no matter what, please note that Childress has been an energizer bunny the last couple of games. Tonight it was 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 18 minutes.
Suns all-time assist leaders:
- Steve Nash: 6,522 and counting
- Kevin Johnson: 6,518
- Alvan Adams: 4,012
- Walter Davis: 3,340
- Jason Kidd: 3,011