Fun, faith, and you know, funk. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Steve Nash went for 26/11 and 5 and Shannon Brown hit a crucial 3 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a rare road win against the New York Knicks, thus snapping a 5 game losing streak.

The game of basketball is funny in the sense that the numbers tell a false version of the final score sometimes.

The Suns were outrebounded 54-38, with Tyson Chandler wiping the glass clean to the tune of 17. In a game that saw one of the Suns stars Jared Dudley play nearly 20 minutes with a goose egg to show for his efforts, the Suns let Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire toss up brick after brick en route to victory.

This is a sweet win for the Suns. While the game itself could be described as uglier than your girlfriend's sister, the Suns shot 45% from the field and 58% beyond the arc. Apart from an amazing performance from Nash on a back to back, his pals kicked in to help him out:

  • Marcin Gortat went for 11 and 12
  • Grant Hill dropped in 14 points, his highest point total in 6 games
  • Shannon Brown went 6-12 to go with 2-3 from down town with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. You can start talking about starting the guy again.
  • Channing Frye hit for 3 3-pointers coupled with 4 rebounds and 4 blocks. Is he coming around?! Yes?!
  • Alvin Gentry mixed up the starting lineup by adding Ronnie Price and Markieff Morris to the mix. Clearly he read my preview and took my advice.

It's never easy to win on the road, after losing 5 straight, in front of your ex-coach and arguably best player in recent memory. But the Suns withstood an ugly rebounding deficit, limiting the Knickerbockers to 37% shooting while hitting on 58% of their 3's to get back on the winning track in the daunting Madison Square Garden full of raucous, delusional fans. Hand it to our boys, they won't let us quit on them. And while we all shake our heads when considering whether this team should mail it in this season or search for an inevitable solution, we have no answers as to how such a mediocre team can gel and make it to the Spring show.

Alvin Gentry had even less to contribute:

"That's pretty ironic you know, because obviously most of the things we do is what Mike did when he was there...there's a few things that we've changed, but it's kind of a mystery to me. I can't put my finger on the fact that we're struggling to get to 100 every game. I thought that would be one of the areas where we'd have the least worries and it's become just the opposite."


Final Thoughts:

How Steve Nash can still stand is beyond me. A night after playing 30 something minutes, the guy comes out, plays 38, and shoots 9-12 to go with 11 assists and 5 rebounds. It is a testament to the drive and motivation and faith this guy has to win. He knows the fans want a winner, and he's single-handedly attempting to get the Phoenix Suns back to the promised land. And further, the most difficult part of being a Suns fan this season is not knowing if and when this team is going to decide to show up. Alvin Gentry is at a point where trying nearly any rotation is justified, and he has the stones to do it. I liked the idea of Morris starting. On paper it looked like garbage, but to see a Suns squad start a rook, or when it's feasible to start rook is a minor miracle.

Let's be honest here, when Carmelo Anthony takes 22 shots and misses 17 of them while Stoudemire takes an equal amount and only cashes in on two more, you have a good chance at winning. This Knicks squad reminds me a lot of some of the Suns squad with D'Antoni at the helm. "Shoot through it, you'll eventually start draining them..." Well on some nights, yeah, on others, you flat lose because you can't get it going. Shumpert is a great talent, but he hasn't gotten it yet. The Knicks may prove better with Baron Davis running the show. As long as he doesn't take 22 shots a game.

ENJOY THIS ONE, SUNS FANS. VICTORIES LIKE THIS
ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.

Suns vs Knicks coverage

Suns vs Knicks recap

Suns vs Knicks boxscore

Posting and Toasting

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Poll
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  303 votes | Results


Fun, faith, and you know, funk. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Steve Nash went for 26/11 and 5 and Shannon Brown hit a crucial 3 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a rare road win against the New York Knicks, thus snapping a 5 game losing streak.

The game of basketball is funny in the sense that the numbers tell a false version of the final score sometimes.

The Suns were outrebounded 54-38, with Tyson Chandler wiping the glass clean to the tune of 17. In a game that saw one of the Suns stars Jared Dudley play nearly 20 minutes with a goose egg to show for his efforts, the Suns let Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire toss up brick after brick en route to victory.

This is a sweet win for the Suns. While the game itself could be described as uglier than your girlfriend's sister, the Suns shot 45% from the field and 58% beyond the arc. Apart from an amazing performance from Nash on a back to back, his pals kicked in to help him out:

  • Marcin Gortat went for 11 and 12
  • Grant Hill dropped in 14 points, his highest point total in 6 games
  • Shannon Brown went 6-12 to go with 2-3 from down town with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. You can start talking about starting the guy again.
  • Channing Frye hit for 3 3-pointers coupled with 4 rebounds and 4 blocks. Is he coming around?! Yes?!
  • Alvin Gentry mixed up the starting lineup by adding Ronnie Price and Markieff Morris to the mix. Clearly he read my preview and took my advice.

It's never easy to win on the road, after losing 5 straight, in front of your ex-coach and arguably best player in recent memory. But the Suns withstood an ugly rebounding deficit, limiting the Knickerbockers to 37% shooting while hitting on 58% of their 3's to get back on the winning track in the daunting Madison Square Garden full of raucous, delusional fans. Hand it to our boys, they won't let us quit on them. And while we all shake our heads when considering whether this team should mail it in this season or search for an inevitable solution, we have no answers as to how such a mediocre team can gel and make it to the Spring show.

Alvin Gentry had even less to contribute:

"That's pretty ironic you know, because obviously most of the things we do is what Mike did when he was there...there's a few things that we've changed, but it's kind of a mystery to me. I can't put my finger on the fact that we're struggling to get to 100 every game. I thought that would be one of the areas where we'd have the least worries and it's become just the opposite."


Final Thoughts:

How Steve Nash can still stand is beyond me. A night after playing 30 something minutes, the guy comes out, plays 38, and shoots 9-12 to go with 11 assists and 5 rebounds. It is a testament to the drive and motivation and faith this guy has to win. He knows the fans want a winner, and he's single-handedly attempting to get the Phoenix Suns back to the promised land. And further, the most difficult part of being a Suns fan this season is not knowing if and when this team is going to decide to show up. Alvin Gentry is at a point where trying nearly any rotation is justified, and he has the stones to do it. I liked the idea of Morris starting. On paper it looked like garbage, but to see a Suns squad start a rook, or when it's feasible to start rook is a minor miracle.

Let's be honest here, when Carmelo Anthony takes 22 shots and misses 17 of them while Stoudemire takes an equal amount and only cashes in on two more, you have a good chance at winning. This Knicks squad reminds me a lot of some of the Suns squad with D'Antoni at the helm. "Shoot through it, you'll eventually start draining them..." Well on some nights, yeah, on others, you flat lose because you can't get it going. Shumpert is a great talent, but he hasn't gotten it yet. The Knicks may prove better with Baron Davis running the show. As long as he doesn't take 22 shots a game.

ENJOY THIS ONE, SUNS FANS. VICTORIES LIKE THIS
ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.

Suns vs Knicks coverage

Suns vs Knicks recap

Suns vs Knicks boxscore

Posting and Toasting

For more exclusive content, follow us on Twitter @Brightsidesun and "Like" us on Facebook.

Poll
Have the Suns turned the Corner? Are You Saying There's Still a Chance at the Playoffs?

  428 votes | Results


Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat (4), of Poland, blocks a shot by New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

AND ON THE ROAD TOO!
ENJOY!
RECAP TO COME


COMPETE


Can I get a little help out here, guys? (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

And on to the next stop of a 5 game roadie from hell. The Phoenix Suns park themselves in Madison Square Garden tonight to face the New York Knicks, a night after getting thrashed by the Chicago Bulls.

While the Suns have lost 5 straight games, the Knicks have lost 3 in a row. Two of the three losses were away from MSG and to quality WC foes, Oklahoma City (in which Carmelo Anthony did not play), and Memphis.

While the Suns are a squad in need of a little star power, defense, offense, and of course rebounding, the Knicks are a team with part of the equation, along with a youngster, Iman Shumpert, whose playing pretty dang well right now. Remember Shumpert? Remember how the Suns were thinking of...sigh...never mind I guess, but this leads to the next thought...Start Keef on Stoudemire. Why not? May as well get the youngster some experience playing against an offensive beast with average at best rebounding and defensive abilities. Keef is just the type of kid to out hustle Amare, frustrate him into committing some stupid fouls, and keep him out of the paint where he can come from the weak side to challenge shots inside. Plus he's coming off of kind of a crappy game. Why not give Morris him a chance to shake that one off and gain some confidence against his predecessor. Just a thought.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Carmelo Anthony 12 34.7 8.6 20.1 42.7 1.6 4.7 33.9 7.3 8.8 83.0 1.3 5.0 6.3 4.3 3.3 1.4 0.4 3.0 26.1
Amare Stoudemire 11 33.1 6.5 15.4 42.0 0.4 0.9 40.0 4.6 5.9 78.5 2.0 5.5 7.5 1.2 2.5 1.3 0.4 3.1 17.9
Iman Shumpert 9 31.0 4.6 12.3 36.9 1.0 3.6 28.1 1.7 1.8 93.8 0.1 3.3 3.4 3.2 2.7 2.3 0.4 2.8 11.8
Tyson Chandler 13 33.0 2.8 4.0 69.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.5 5.6 80.8 3.4 5.5 8.9 1.1 1.5 1.0 1.4 2.9 10.1
Toney Douglas 13 23.8 3.7 11.2 33.1 1.0 4.2 23.6 1.1 1.2 87.5 0.4 1.9 2.3 2.5 1.7 1.2 0.0 1.8 9.5
Landry Fields 13 29.9 2.8 6.8 42.0 0.5 2.2 21.4 1.1 1.7 63.6 0.5 3.2 3.6 2.7 1.9 1.4 0.2 1.9 7.2
Josh Harrellson 13 19.5 2.2 5.2 41.8 1.1 2.9 36.8 0.3 0.5 57.1 1.4 2.9 4.3 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.5 1.3 5.7
Bill Walker 13 19.5 1.8 4.3 42.9 0.8 2.8 30.6 0.3 0.5 66.7 0.3 1.9 2.2 1.5 0.8 0.7 0.2 3.2 4.8
Mike Bibby 10 16.6 1.5 3.8 39.5 1.0 2.5 40.0 0.4 0.4 100.0 0.1 1.2 1.3 2.0 0.7 0.5 0.0 1.8 4.4
Renaldo Balkman 8 10.3 1.4 2.9 47.8 0.1 0.6 20.0 0.9 1.1 77.8 0.6 2.0 2.6 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.4 1.3 3.8
Jared Jeffries 3 20.0 1.0 3.3 30.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 50.0 1.7 1.3 3.0 0.7 1.0 1.0 1.0 3.3 3.0
Steve Novak 7 9.9 1.0 2.3 43.8 0.7 1.9 38.5 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.0 0.9 0.9 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.1 1.0 2.9
Jeremy Lin 5 3.0 0.4 1.0 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.2 83.3 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.0 1.0 1.8
Jerome Jordan 6 4.7 0.5 1.5 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.8 0.5 1.3 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.7 1.3


More Fun With Numbers:

While the Suns began the season boasting top 10 ranks in defense and rebounding, we have seen those encouraging trends take a major dump. The Knicks, on the other hand, rank near the middle in both offense and defense as well. The very handy 82games.com provides an interesting look at the Mike D'Antoni led squad:

Knicks Shot Clock Usage

Offense
Defense
Secs.
Att.
eFG%
Ast
Pts
Att.
eFG%
Ast
Pts
0-10
42% .518 47% 34.4 35% .552 55% 30.7
11-15
29% .448 64% 20.5 24% .417 64% 15.5
16-20
18% .391 62% 11.5 26% .453 59% 18.5
21+
11% .428 62% 7.5 15% .511 47% 12.3

Check out what happens in 0-10 seconds for the Knicks. Their highest FG%, the majority of their points and assists. So D'Antoni.

And while we're all trying to figure out a way to win a game, and thus, determine the best personnel at the best time with which to do that, here's something to make y'all think. What can you make out of this? A paper hat? Lining for your birdcage? Or maybe there's a magic formula in there. If so, let me know, heck maybe let Alvin Gentry know:

Suns Top Five-Man Floor Units

#
Unit
Min
Off
Def
+/-
W
L
Win%
1
Nash-Dudley-Hill-Frye-Gortat 141.3 1.08 0.94 +41 6 3
66.6
2
Price-Brown-Morris-Warrick-Lopez 41.8 1.17 1.04 +7 3 4
42.8
3
Nash-Dudley-Hill-Morris-Gortat 27.3 1.06 0.85 +10 4 4
50.0
4
Price-Brown-Childress-Warrick-Lopez 18.0 1.06 1.13 -2 1 2
33.3
5
Telfair-Brown-Morris-Warrick-Lopez 14.7 1.04 1.23 -7 1 2
33.3
6
Nash-Brown-Dudley-Frye-Gortat 13.6 0.69 1.03 -10 2 2
50.0
7
Nash-Redd-Dudley-Frye-Gortat 10.6 1.27 1.36 -2 0 1
0.0
8
Nash-Dudley-Hill-Warrick-Gortat 10.3 0.87 1.18 -6 0 3
0.0
9
Telfair-Brown-Childress-Morris-Lopez 9.8 0.74 1.05 -6 0 1
0.0
10
Nash-Dudley-Hill-Morris-Frye 9.6 1.42 1.18 +7 1 0
100
11
Telfair-Price-Morris-Warrick-Lopez 8.6 1.50 0.63 +17 2 0
100
12
Nash-Dudley-Hill-Morris-Lopez 8.3 1.23 1.14 +0 0 0
0.0
13
Nash-Brown-Dudley-Morris-Gortat 7.2 1.67 0.85 +9 2 0
100
14
Nash-Brown-Hill-Warrick-Gortat 6.7 1.07 1.17 +1 1 1
50.0
15
Price-Brown-Childress-Morris-Lopez 6.2 0.75 0.92 -2 1 1
50.0
16
Price-Brown-Hill-Morris-Warrick 5.2 2.00 1.20 +6 1 0
100
17
Price-Brown-Morris-Warrick-Frye 5.2 0.90 0.60 +3 1 0
100
18
Price-Brown-Hill-Morris-Lopez 5.1 1.25 0.75 +4 1 1
50.0
19
Price-Brown-Dudley-Warrick-Lopez 5.0 1.00 1.11 -1 1 1
50.0
20
Nash-Childress-Dudley-Frye-Gortat 4.8 0.90 0.80 +1 1 0
100

W = number of games a unit outscored its opponents while on the court.
L = number of games a unit was outscored by its opponents while on the court.

Outlook

Well not that good. No word on whether Nash and Hill will play, but I assume they will, given the opponent. Even with the old guys around it will be difficult to stop or slow STAT, Chandler, and Anthony. But anything's possible, yes? Let us begin with defense. How does an NBA team with a defensive coordinator forget they need to play defense? Is the personnel not there? Did the first several games of the season prove the Suns could play D? YES.

So the guys CAN play defense, they just aren't executing like they can. While the focus is on the NY front line, keep a hand in the faces of Shumpert and fields. Sounds so easy. Offensively, it was nice to see RoLo have a good game. It would also be nice to see our SG's shooting better than 7-20, and our PF's shoot 3-14.

This Suns squad needs to play with some pride, like they have something to lose, because they basically do. This is how teams get broken up-LOSING. And how many times have we seen drastic moves made in the midst of a long losing streak? It happens a lot. For better or worse I think change is imminent if our boys can't salvage something out of this road trip. At the same time, have some freakin' fun. Loosen up. We know Frye and Dudley can find their shots. We know Redd may be a statue out there, but he can hit shots. Shannon Brown? Well he has made a shot, so in theory maybe he can get it going to...But I'd like to see him at the rim instead of beyond the arc at this point.

Oh and lastly...Let the Nash trade rumors begin. It's inevitable. And here is what Nash is going to have to repeat 1,000 times ad nauseum unless he changes his mind:

"I really don't even think about it," (getting traded) Nash said. "I've got a tall task to perform for my team every night and to try to turn this thing around. It hasn't even crossed my mind, really. I'm just concerned with getting some energy for (tonight) and getting a win."

Don't forget to check out the world famous East Bay Ray over at Posting and Toasting's preview.

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