Besides the beautiful career high scoring performance by Channing Frye - this game was ugly.
After only committing 7 turnovers in their win at Utah on Friday - the Suns quickly racked up the miscues at nearly 3-times that rate for 19 on the night (14 in the first half). It was a disappointing sight after having watched the Suns take care of the ball as of late...
But nevertheless - the Suns jumped on the back of Channing Frye as his hot shooting kept them in the game and contributions from bench players like Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat in the 4th quarter helped the Suns eek out a victory. The Suns sweep the season series from the Utah Jazz for the first time since before I was born. Boom.
Props to Trevor Paxton for the witty headline - you win 20 internet dollars. More on the game after the jump!
A Win is a Win
The Suns played a horrible game but found a way to win it - and you know what? WE WILL TAKE IT. At this point in the season wins are more crucial than ever, so the end result is ultimately more important than the mode of operation.
"The end result is great. You know on a night where I know I was feeling like I just didn't have 'it', and I know other guys on the team are feeling a little tired - other guys stepped up and we manufactured a win"
Steve, you didn't have 'it'? I guess sleepwalking for another double-double (20 points, 14 assists) wasn't having 'it'...
Well the guy who did have 'it' was undoubtedly Channing Frye.
Channing Frye's Career Night
From the get-go Channing Frye took the offensive load of the team on his back. Of the Suns 29 first quarter points, Channing Frye was a perfect 7 of 7 shooting for 19 of them. He was doing it all. He was shooting the 3, he was stepping in and hitting his mid-range J, he was posting up, he was playing defense and he was grabbing rebounds.
You'll have to catch some highlights just to see what kind of feel he had during the entire game. Unreal.
He ended up with a career high 31 points and also pulled down 11 rebounds. Super high-five for Frye. He was the hero of the game, because without him backpacking the team in the first half - the Suns might not have been in the position they were in the 4th to win the game.
So a lot was made before the game about how Vince is in a slump and playing the least amount of minutes and scoring the least amount of points of his career at the moment. He also came in extra early and stayed after practice to work on his shot... that means he was going to come out and kill it right? Put up another 25-30 point performance?
Didn't happen. The Suns ran the first two plays of the game for Vince, you know, to get him started. What happened? He takes a bad shot - miss. He makes a bad move - travel. Then he hits some crazy circus shots... then he misses wide open ones... then he defers when he's wide open after Alvin Gentry specifically said he doesn't want Vince to defer... then he posts up for some good plays... then he posts up - knocks his defender over, and instead of going to the rim for an easy layup or dunk Vince inexplicably fades away and misses an extremely difficult jump shot.
He finished with 3 turnovers (though it seemed like 10), 10 points, 4 rebounds. He had 3 assists - but they were all to Channing Frye and even Scott Howard could have racked up 3 assists throwing the ball to Channing from Section 106 tonight.
Vince is not doing what Vince needs to be doing.
My hat is off to Alvin Gentry - because for the 2nd time, he sat Vince in the 4th quarter and gave Mickael Pietrus the opportunity to play. It was an amazing choice because Pietrus was an absolute difference-maker in the clutch. Whether it was his hard fouls on Jefferson - his good defense - his hot shooting, Pietrus ended up with 11 points and 4 rebounds and really was a reason we won that close game in the 4th quarter. I highly doubt Carter would have played with the aggressiveness and and hustle that Pietrus did.
Such a disappointing game from Lopez today. Man, I know bad games happen and I guess this was a bad game but dude... it seemed like Robin couldn't do anything right. His first and only bucket came in the 3rd quarter.
Let's all just close our eyes really tight and imagine this game never happened for Robin. I think that's all we can do.
The Humbling Return of Dragic
Goran Dragic came into the game and looked energized... but to a fault. He was out of control at times and in 5 minutes he went 1-3, had 2 turnovers and posted -8 on the +/-. Most disappointing was his lack of ability to give Channing Frye the ball - Alvin Gentry specifically left Frye in with Dragic because Frye was in an unholy zone (a just blooming nasty zone, as if he had sold his soul to the devil). Frye didn't get a single shot attempt in the second until he was again paired with Nash. Alvin made mention of this mistake in his post game press conference. Dragic did give Steve Nash his usual rest.. but the Suns bench was out-scored mightily in his time on the floor, hence the negative rating.
Then in the 4th quarter when you'd assume Dragic would return, Gentry called Zabian Dowdell's number. A surprise? No - that's what we said would happen. Was Dowdell a better floor general than Dragic was in the 2nd? He also played nearly 5 minutes and went 1-1 (an And 1) had a turnover and he posted a -9 on the +/- scale. Again the bench was outscored while Nash sat. Nash came back in a little early and the offense immediately improved.
Make what you will of it - I'd like to see Dragic in a few more games as he settles down and get's back some rhythm. Here's the Captain Obvious kicker in my opinion - "ANY offense without Nash is not going to be as good as an offense with Nash."
He made sweet use of his 3 days off between games against the Suns - he saw what he needed to do and did it. He exploded for the game high 32 points and 10 rebounds and rebounded himself after a very sub-par game against the Suns on Friday.
Good game for Jefferson. I'm clapping my imaginary hands, the ones that don't make any noise.
So I watched - and the first 4 minutes of the game - Steve Nash was guarding Deron Williams who was passively trying to get his teammates involved and was doing an okay job of that. But when the switch occured and Grant Hill began stalking Williams, there was an obvious sense of frustration on the face and in the game of Deron.
Williams is the Jazz's best player and their leading scorer and against grant he went 2-11 from the field, with only 11 points and 6 count em' 6 turnovers.
We love you Grant.
We needed this win and we found a way to win it despite the ugliness. That is all. Let's do it again on Thursday.
Visit SLC Dunk for their side of the story - SLC Dunk
Marcin Gortat recorded 11 points and seven rebounds and had the biggest play of the game when he rotated on the baseline and forced Paul Millsap into a turnover with the Suns leading by just two points and seven seconds on the clock.
Mickael Pietrus was an even bigger factor for the Suns. Playing the entire fourth quarter in place of Vince Carter, he brought an aggression to the floor and hit big shots. Pietrus finished the game with 11 points, four rebounds, and four blocked shots in just 23 minutes of play.
I am not going into details but Suns dancer with lover handles/muffin top
For purely selfish reasons, I am hoping for a nice boring game. I've written about 12 things today and don't know if I have a good story left in me. Back to back to back to back to back to back to back...etc...
Really good National Anthem tonight
Nash on Williams. Miles on Carter but Jazz switching a lot early
Once again, Robin gets stripped by a guard on a post move
6-0 Jazz. 3 turnovers already for Suns...officially 2 TO's and the stripe on Lopez that they called a block
3 sec violation on Lopez. They are trying to get him engaged and aggressive but so far it's not working
But that's ok, a three by Frye and all is forgiven
Another Suns turnover...and another
Gortat coming in early...Robin has been horrific. 9-12, Jazz
Ugly game. Sloppy, choppy and oh so crappy
For the record, I rarely buy songs from iTunes that I hear at Suns games but when I do, it's always b/c my daughter will love them
Jazz really have a very thin bench but the Suns haven't been able to get the pace up at all. Maybe when Goran comes in
Channing Frye (10 pts) has kept the Suns in this game. 17-19.
I expect the Suns to clean things up when Carter sits
Frye again! Give that man a contract
Vince manages to post up Earl Watson! Congrats!!
Earl Watson matching Frye shot for shot
Ditto Frye. 16 points for him now
Goran out of control on his first drive. Settle...settle
Lady behind me saying "oh dear" every time something bad happens
This unit for the Jazz w/ Elson, Watson, etc...shouldn't be able to get much done
And guess what, another turnover
It's a good thing that Jazz aren't all that good b/c the Suns are sucking
Suns bench should not be getting killed by this Jazz bench but they are. 39-33. Gentry time out. Pisssed.
Nash back in, hits a three. 39-41
Suns are looking like warmed over muck...and are down 39-47. Hill and Frye coming back in
Nash can be having an off shooting night but if they go under the screen on him, he goes into eff you mode and makes it
Ho hum, Frye for three. 44-47
They are calling stupid shit on both teams. Slowing the game down which benefits Utah
Gentry is about one more complaint away from a T
Carter, 3 pts, missed both FTAs. Good to see him step up
3rd carrying violation on D-Will....you won't see that called three times in a month of normal NBA watching
That was Vince's one nice move per game
This is another game that could go either way...The Suns only in it b/c of great shooting. But if they clean up turnovers they should pull away w/o the threes
Two quick buckets for Al Jeff. 18 for him
Remember when the Jazz offense was this beautiful thing w/ great ball movement and cuts and picks? Not so much any more
Robin's got his head in the clouds today
Nice post up by Frye on Hayward
And again w/ the Frye post up. Feed the beast!
Nash attacking D-Will. It's floppy hair vs. chin strap
Robin wisely passed up a shot. It was the best decision he's made all game
Nice run by the Suns. 66-63. Robin had a couple of nice plays but he's about to come out
Frye w/ the dribble step back. Sweet
10 full points for VC! Pick up his option year!
Nice finish from Gortat. He's really improved his game over the past few weeks
Charge taken by Gorat! He's playing nicely
0 turnovers this qtr. Also 0-5 from three
Gortat passes up a clear path to the rim, kicks it out, gets it back, hits a turn around J. He really is Vince Carter's teammate
D Will can drive right by MP w/ no problem but Gortat ends qtr w/ 2 blks
Horrible shot by Gortat. You are not Al Jefferson
Miles gets into the lane for an and 1
Dowdell in for Dragic btw....but you know that already. Dragic didn't play well in the 2nd qtr but not sure I agree w/ benching him
Frye missed a three and blew a rotation that resulted in a dunk. What Frye giveth, Frye taketh away
82-79, Jazz. 9-3 Jazz so far this qtr
Hill in for Frye at the 4. Nash about to come in. 87-81
MP's had a couple of sweat blocks
LADY GAGA IS COMING!!! Get your tickets NOW!!!!!
MP w/ a big three and then a layup after a Dudley steal. Suns D coming alive here. 86-89. 5:43. Timeout Jazz. Smart time out. That's what Jerry Sloan would do. WWJSD
Has anyone seen Vince Carter this quarter?
Poor pass by D Will to Al Jeff on the pick and roll
There's the three, Frye!!! 89-89. Probably was fouled on the shot as well by Watson
Great rebound by MP!! He's making sure we don't see any more VC
Nash three!!! 97-93, 2:21
Hill takes a charge!! Suns ball
36-29 Jazz in rebounding. Only 2 OReb for Suns. 9 for Jazz
97-95, Suns. 1:30. Nash 2. 99-95
Big 3 for D Will. Only 11 pts for him but that was big
MP misses open three
Suns get stop!
Nash takes too much time, shot clock blows up. 99-98, 16 sec. Jazz ball
D Will misses a pull up J. Frye w/ the big rebound. Free throw time. Still 10 sec.
And Frye goes 1-1 from the line...100-98. 8 sec. Jazz ball