Phoenix Suns guard Streve Nash (13)shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack (2) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

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.

Game balls:

  • Stevie Nash - all-time Suns assist leader! (30 and 10 in this game)
  • Marcin Gortat - another double-double (23 and 10)
  • Josh Childress (8 and 4 in 18 minutes)

*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

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A harken back to better, high-flying days for both the Suns and the Hornets.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)



OK, Suns! Let's get a win against a team struggling even harder than you!


Polish-hammer-sm

I decided the only fair way to do an illustration of a dude who has the nickname ‘Polish Hammer’ was to superhero-ize him.

As always, you can find more here.


Take it to the hole, Jared! (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)




If you are looking for a team struggling even more than the Suns, then watch the New Orleans Hornets tonight. The Hornets are coming off a franchise-worst 2-16 record in January. The Suns' 6-10 January record looks positively gaudy by comparison, though they've only gone 3-9 in their past 12 games overall. These two teams have split the season series so far, both winning on the other's floor.

There are other similarities between the teams besides their bad records.

Neither team is particulary athletic. If we see two dunks in tonight's game, I will be surprised.

Both teams' front offices have a closer eye on the calendar and the upcoming NBA draft than their current rosters. Trade season is a month away (after the all-star game), and after that there's just 6 more weeks until the relief of summer break.

Both teams are disenchanted with their somewhat-talented backup centers. Chris Kaman is not playing while the Hornets openly search for a trade partner. Robin Lopez is only playing mopup minutes while the Suns stew over his attitude and lack of offensive progress.

And finally, both teams' owners tightened the purse strings before offering max guaranteed money to their most talented but too-often injured superstars (Chris Paul/Eric Gordon vs. Amare Stoudemire), further dumping them in the muck of the bottom of the Western Conference.

Go teams!

Game notes: Steve Nash WILL play tonight despite a sore quad, according to Paul Coro via twitter this morning. All Nash needs is 7 assists to eclipse Kevin Johnson for the all-time Suns franchise record in assists. It's really, really, really too bad he couldn't have set the record on his home floor Monday night against his "other" NBA employer and Mark Cuban in particular. But then, that's how this season has been going, isn't it? Sigh.

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No way this guy heads to Portland.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I have a grudging respect for John Hollinger's statistical analysis on the mothership, but very little respect for his talents playing an NBA General Manager. He's no better than us - he just has a better medium on which to post his ridiculous ideas as if there is value to them.

Nash is a free agent after the season and, as our Marc Stein noted earlier this year, his contract isn't extension-eligible. So any team trading for him would basically be taking him on as a rental. Who would do such a thing?

Well, the Blazers might. Portland has been undone by uneven backcourt play so far this year, something that obviously would change the second Nash showed up. And they have the perfect pieces to put into a deal. Raymond Felton has an expiring contract of his own that nearly matches Nash's, which means the deal basically comes down to prospects. Portland can offer two young guards -- Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams -- and possibly a future draft pick, as well.

Steve Nash to Portland is wrong on SO many levels:

1) His style demands control of the offense, while Nate McMillian likes clear playcalling from the bench

2) Portland plays defense in order to initiate offense. Nash does the opposite.

3) Hollinger suggests trading the 3 least valuable/liked players on the Blazers roster in exchange for the best player on the Suns (Nash)

4) Hollinger then speculates that "throwing in a draft pick" might close the deal. That's ridiculous. That comment implies all draft picks are the same value, so there's no need to qualify which pick in which year. Amateur trade rosterbation if I've ever seen it. The #2 pick in 2012? Sign me up! The #25 pick in 2012 or 2013? No thanks!

Why didn't Hollinger just write: "Trade one of my favorite NBA players (Steve Nash) to one of my two favorite NBA teams (Portland and Atlanta) for a player fans of my team all hate with a passion (Felton) and some ambiguous end-of-bench "youths" whose names we won't remember in 24 hours."

I've seen more realistic and less-biased trade suggestions on the BSotS fanposts!

[Update by Seth Pollack, 02/01/12 12:16 PM MST ]

The rosterbation king himself got in on the mix today as well with his own brand of b.s.:

There is plenty to ask when it comes to the 2011-12 NBA season - Grantland
But what if the Blazers offered Raymond Felton, Nic Batum (whom they just passed on extending) and $3 million for Nash, with the wink-wink caveat that Phoenix then had to buy out his buddy Grant Hill's contract so Hill could sign with Portland?

This deal at least makes more sense for the Suns if Batum is included although I'm not sure on what planet a "wink-wink" deal about buying out Grant is even in the neighborhood of reality.

But if Portland were dumb enough to offer Felton, Batum and their 1st round pick for Nash....that's a deal you have to listen to regardless of how poorly he'd fit there. Batum will be an RFA after this season so it would be huge for the Suns to get him under their control. He's legit.

Poll
Should the Suns trade Nash to Portland for Felton, borderline NBA players and (maybe) a low draft pick?

  456 votes | Results


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