The Suns' Big-Man sandwich got it done tonight! (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

The Phoenix Suns won their second game of a back-to-back series at home against the Washington Wizards tonight 104-88 after an impressive win over the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday.

The Suns improve their record to 14-19 and the Wizards now drop to 7-25. The Suns appeared to be in control of the game throughout the evening with the exception of a quick stint to start the 3rd quarter when the Wizards briefly took a 55-54 lead. The Suns immediately answered back with a 16-0 run to balloon their lead to 70-55, and they never looked back from that point on.

The Suns were led by Marcin Gortat's 20 points and 7 rebounds along with Steve Nash's 12 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Channing Frye also had a very nice game scoring 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds as well. The Wizards were led by Jordan Crawford's 20 points, Trevor Booker also pitched in with 16 points 8 rebounds, and Javale McGee scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.

The Suns again relied on the defense of Grant Hill to shut down the Wizard's leading scorer, Nick Young, who he held to just 2-11 shooting through the third quarter until Hill went to the bench after the Suns gained a comfortable lead. Although the Suns also shot the ball well on offense tonight, Grant Hill may have once again been the silent hero of the game with his stifling defense on Young...holding him to just 4 points during his watch.

Read on after the jump for more about what went right for the Suns tonight


Keys to Tonight's Victory:

  • Steve Nash had another amazing game tonight with his 12 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block in his 27 minutes of play! Not much more needs to be said with those numbers...Great game from the two-time MVP
  • Marcin Gortat was too much for Javale McGee to handle. McGee is an incredibly long and physically gifted young center, but that proved no match for Gortat's mobility, agility and skill. Gortat finished the game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block in his 33 minutes of play.
  • Grant "BAMF" Hill once again quietly had another outstanding defensive performance on the Wizards leading scorer holding Nick Young to only 4 points in the three quarters he guarded him. Hill also had 11 points but his shot was not falling consistently, yet he still found a way to have a huge impact on the game. In my game preview I gave Young the slight advantage in tonight's match-up with Hill because of Grant having to guard Kobe last night, but Grant proved me wrong with one of his best defensive performances of the season so far. Outstanding game from Grant!
  • Channing "The Man" Frye was once again a force to be reckoned with tonight. It seems like just yesterday that some fans were calling for Frye to be amnestied at the beginning of the season when his shot wasn't falling...but who could blame them? Frye was a one-trick pony who rarely did anything but stand behind the arc and brick 3's. Well Frye has responded as of late by working on his inside game and becoming a much more complete player. Tonight he had a huge put back dunk off a Nash miss, went 3-4 from the free throw line, and also muscled his way inside for 11 rebounds and 2 blocks to go along with his 4-7 shooting from behind the arc.

Summary:

The Suns earned another much needed win at home on their back to back series, and improved their record to 14-19. The Suns' home record also improved to 7-8 which still isn't great, but seems much better than the 5-8 home record they had before these last two wins.

The Wizards certainly aren't a powerhouse team, but the Suns took care of business at home like they needed to against an inferior opponent. No excuses about tired legs or fatigue after a great win against the Lakers last night, they just got it done.

The biggest area of concern for the suns at the moment remains their 2nd unit; specifically their lack of a consistent facilitator to lead the reserves. Sebastian Telfair and Ronnie Price have both been given opportunities to step up and show something, yet neither one has impressed to this point. If the Suns are serious about trying to get a playoff spot they will have to address this issue sooner than later.

But for now enjoy the win Suns' fans...They may not come as easy or as frequently as we're accustomed to anymore, but they sure are sweet when they happen nonetheless!

Read the game notes below for some in-depth analysis of the game as it happened.


Game Notes

First Quarter:

Channing Frye hits his first 3-point attempt!

Nice pass from Dudley to find Gortat in the lane for an easy dunk!

Great hustle by Nash and then Dudley to steal the ball from Wall…Love the energy from the Suns to start the game!

Another great pass this time from Frye to Gortat but Marcin left it short. That’s already two great passes from Frye but neither shot was made so no credit for the assist…He’s been working on his inside game and now apparently his passes as well.

McGee is showing off those incredibly long arms with two blocks already.

Suns still playing with good energy and hustle but they are a little sloppy so far on offense and too careless with the ball.

Javale McGee showing off those incredibly long arms…Already with two blocks in the early part of the first quarter.

OUTSTANDING ball movement by the Suns…Great passes around the perimeter where the ball touched every players’ hands and some twice before Frye shot and hit a three!

Suns lead 14-10 halfway through the first quarter. Frye with 8 points and three rebounds to lead all scorers thus far

Nash with yet another block this season…his third of the year! This time on John Wall!

Frye with the BEASTLY put-back jam on the missed free throw from Nash!!!

Jordan Crawford showing his nice shooting touch.

Grant now with four missed shots most were short off the front iron…I’m guessing tired legs after guarding Kobe last night.

Washington starting to catch up now, down only two points at the moment. Suns holding onto a 21-19 lead at the moment.

Gortat with the "Machine Shake" to finish with a nice right baby hook!

Suns lead 31-25 at the end of the 1st quarter. Suns shooting 48%, Wizards 44%. Suns with 18rbs, Wizards with 12rbs. Suns with 3 TO’s, Wizards with 2 TO’s. Frye leading the Suns with 10 points, Josh Trevor Booker and John wall lead the Wizards each with 6 points.


Second Quarter:

Oop to Javale McGee to start the 2nd quarter for the Wizards

Morris with the nice position to draw a charge on Jordan Crawford

Morris with another nice defensive attempt to block McGee at the basket but he was a little late and got called for the goal-tend…I love the effort I’m seeing from Keef though!

2nd unit for the Suns is stagnant offensively to start the 2nd quarter. No points yet for the Suns in the first couple of minutes. Gentry calls timeout to talk things over.

Telfair hits a jump shot to end the scoring drought for the Suns.

Wizards are 4-4 from the field to start the 2nd quarter.

Washington has tied it up 36-36 midway through the 2nd quarter. Gentry has seen enough and goes back to all 5 starters…except Redd was shooting free throws so Dudley has to wait.

Redd showing some confidence with a nice make off the dribble!

Nice dunk by Gortat off the Nash pick and roll.

The offense is running smoothly again now that the starters are back in.

Nash with a steal and then the nice feed to Gortat off the pick and roll for the lay in!

Nick Young with a pretty jumper off the dribble to bring the Wizards within three.

Morris with another great defensive play to take a charge on John Wall with :008 sec left in the first half

Suns lead 53-48 at the end of the 2nd quarter. Suns shooting 49%, Wizards 48%. Suns with 21rbs, Wizards with 21rbs. Suns with 9 TO’s, Wizards with 7 TO’s. Gortat leading the Suns with 13 points 4 rbs, Frye with 11 points 8rbs. Jordan Crawford leads the Wizards with 11 points. Uh-Oh…Phoenix lost the 2nd quarter 23-22…Will Alex’s omen come true?


Third Quarter:

Slow start to the 3rd quarter for the Suns. Gortat is fouled at the last second before the shot clock goes off to send him to the free throw line where he hits both.

Gortat tries to save a missed ball from Hill and ends up stuck in the second row seats behind the basket…The Wizards are able to grab their first miss at the rim for a second chance bucket in his absence. Gentry calls a time out.

The sloppy play continues for the Suns even with the starters in and the Wizards take advantage to take their first lead of the game 55-54

Frye with a nice block inside…Dudley gets to the rim in transition and the Suns regain the lead.

Gortat with excellent defense on McGee and then draws a charge..>Then scores on the other end to put the suns up by 3.

Dudley hits a jumper and then Nash hits one to make an 8-0 run by the Suns after Washington briefly took the lead. Timeout Wizards as the Suns now lead 62-55 halfway through the 3rd quarter

Nash with one of his trademark amazing fade-away shots…He and Gortat are now putting on a clinic against the Wizards!

Grant Hill has quietly held Nick Young to 2-11 shooting tonight…BAMF!

Some bench players coming in now mixing with the starters. Suns still firmly in control

Gortat now has 20 points!

Suns lead 85-61 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Suns shooting 50%, Wizards 39%. Suns with 26rbs, Wizards with 35rbs. Suns with 11 TO’s, Wizards with 11 TO’s. Gortat leading the Suns with 20 points 7 rbs, Trevor Booker leading the Wizards with 16 points. Suns outscore Wizards 32-13 in the 3rd quarter. It looks like this game will be the exception to Alex's law of the 2nd quarter...the Suns are on a roll!


Fourth Quarter:

The 2nd unit along with Gortat starts the 4th quarter.

The offense is running smoothly with the back-ups in so far. The 20+ point lead could have something to do with that though

2nd unit still doing adequately and holding the lead right around 20 points to keep the veteran starters comfy on the bench

Channing Frye comes in for Gortat to give him some rest…He then hits a three to give an extra scoring boost to the 2nd unit.

Michael Redd and Channing Frye now dialing in the three’s. Channing now has 19 points to go along with his 11 rebounds. Very solid game tonight from Frye.

Suns win 104-88. Suns shoot 47%, Wizards 43%. Suns with 43rbs, Wizards with 44rbs. Suns with 14 TO’s, Wizards with 17 TO’s. Gortat led the Suns with 20 points 7 rebounds, Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 20 points.

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That was a decent first half for the Phoenix Suns who currently lead 53-48.

Do the Suns have enough left in them to close out this game with another win at home? We need some production from the bench this half...Let's get it done!

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Let's get this thing started! The Phoenix Suns earned a much needed win last night at home against the Los Angeles Lakers...Will they have enough in the tank to finish off this back-to-back game against the Wizards tonight with a win? Let's hope so.

Go Suns!!!

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Phoenix Suns 104, Washington Wizards 88 PHOENIX — Fresh off a convincing win over the Lakers, the Suns continue their home month with a contest against the lowly Washington Wizards...

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(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After a much needed win against the Los Angeles Lakers last night, the Phoenix Suns will play the second game of a back-to-back at home tonight against John Wall and the Washington Wizards at 7:00 p.m. MST.

The Suns have lost five of their last nine home games, and had lost four games in a row prior to last night's impressive win. But just when you start to think the Suns are finished, they surprise you with a quality win against a tough opponent. The Suns have shown that they can play well together at times, but so far that has proven to be more the exception than the rule; making it difficult to say whether or not the effort and energy the Suns played with at home against the Lakers will be something they can carry forward to tonight.

One thing's for sure though, the 7-24 Wizards have been playing even worse than the 13-19 Suns. However, the Wizards have also shown they can compete with anyone when they are playing well together, as evidenced by their surprise wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers. If Phoenix wants to keep their hopes of landing a playoff spot alive, they need to play with more energy and intensity at home and secure wins against lesser opponents like Washington.

Read on for a look at tonight's game against the lowly Wizards, and what the Suns need to do to continue the success they enjoyed against the Lakers last night.

Here are the Wizards:


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
Nick Young 31 31.3 6.3 15.1 41.5 1.8 4.7 38.4 3.2 3.6 88.4 0.5 2.0 2.5 1.2 1.4 0.7 0.3 2.4 17.5
John Wall 31 36.8 5.8 13.7 42.5 0.1 0.6 11.1 5.2 6.5 80.6 0.9 4.0 4.9 7.5 4.1 1.3 1.0 2.3 16.9
JaVale McGee 31 28.6 5.3 10.1 52.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.5 2.9 50.0 3.1 5.7 8.8 0.5 1.7 0.7 2.7 3.0 12.1
Jordan Crawford 31 23.7 4.3 11.5 37.3 0.9 3.4 26.7 2.1 2.7 76.2 0.7 1.7 2.4 2.9 2.0 0.7 0.1 1.5 11.5
Andray Blatche 17 28.5 4.3 11.3 38.0 0.1 0.4 28.6 1.6 2.3 69.2 1.9 5.2 7.1 1.2 1.8 1.1 0.7 2.4 10.3
Rashard Lewis 26 25.7 3.2 8.0 39.4 0.6 2.4 25.8 1.0 1.2 87.1 1.2 2.7 3.9 0.9 1.1 0.8 0.3 1.6 8.0
Trevor Booker 31 22.2 3.2 5.6 56.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.5 55.3 1.8 3.5 5.3 0.6 0.9 1.1 0.9 2.7 7.2
Chris Singleton 31 19.1 1.5 4.0 37.6 0.5 1.5 31.9 0.3 0.5 66.7 0.5 2.4 2.9 0.6 0.5 1.1 0.4 2.5 3.8
Shelvin Mack 29 10.7 1.4 3.2 42.6 0.3 0.9 37.0 0.3 0.5 60.0 0.2 1.2 1.4 1.5 0.6 0.3 0.0 0.6 3.4
Jan Vesely 24 16.3 1.4 2.8 50.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 41.2 1.3 1.8 3.2 0.7 1.1 0.7 0.5 3.0 3.1
Kevin Seraphin 24 12.7 1.3 3.0 41.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.0 65.2 1.1 2.5 3.5 0.3 0.7 0.3 1.1 1.7 3.1
Maurice Evans 8 9.5 0.9 3.3 26.9 0.3 1.5 16.7 0.4 0.5 75.0 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.0 1.1 2.4
Roger Mason Jr. 23 6.7 0.7 2.3 27.8 0.2 1.2 18.5 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.2 1.7
Ronny Turiaf 4 14.3 0.8 0.8 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 2.8 3.0 1.3 1.5 1.5 0.8 1.8 1.5


Looking at the stats it's pretty easy to see that John Wall and Nick Young are the driving force of the Washington Wizards, but they do have other substantial contributors in Javale McGee, Jordan Crawford, and Andre Blatche who are all averaging over 10 points a game, along with Rashard Lewis and Trevor Booker who average just under that. And what happened to Roger Mason?

Key Match-Ups

  • Steve Nash vs. John Wall - John Wall is one of the most talented young point guards in the league who simply doesn't get much media attention due to playing on the Wizards. Sure, he still makes bad decisions like many other young players, but he's pretty darn good and also happens to be lighting fast and can score the ball with the best of them. His averages of 18.9 points and 7.5 assists a game is up there with the best of them..Well, except for THE best of them, our very own Steve Nash who is averaging 14.5 points and a league best 10.9 assists per game. Wall has the athleticism and the quickness but Steve is still the gold standard for point guards (Advantage Suns)
  • Grant Hill vs. Nick Young - Nick Young is the Wizards go-to scorer, and therefor will likely face the wrath of our own Grant Hill. Young is a very capable shooter who can score from anywhere on the court, but at times he's struggled with consistency. If Hill can shut down Young or at least hold him to under his average then Phoenix should have no trouble beating the Wizards. But how will Hill respond after playing heavy minutes guarding Kobe Bryant last night? Will he also continue to score efficiently even with tired legs? Because of those questions I have to give a slight edge to Nick Young on this match-up, but that could certainly change if Grant comes out hot. (Advantage Wiz)
  • Marcin Gortat vs. Javale McGee - Although Javale McGee's name is often mentioned for all the wrong reasons, the guy is a formidable opponent and a problem for opposing big men to deal with, especially at the basket where his 7'0" frame and 7'6" wingspan come in handy for grabbing rebounds and blocking shots. McGee is kind of an air-head at times, and his offensive skills (while improving) still seem fairly raw. However, his physical attributes alone have made him one of the best shot blockers in the league and a good rebounder as well, and this will make it difficult for Gortat to be as effective as he's used to around the rim. Still what Marcin lacks for in size and length he more than makes up for with skill and agility as well as a fluid offensive game and a semi-reliable jumper. Gortat is averaging more points and rebounds than McGee, and I expect him to have the edge tonight as long as he isn't too tired from playing over 40 minutes last night. (Advantage Suns)
  • Suns' Bench vs. Wizards' Bench - This is one of the tougher match-ups to analyze because the bench play of the Suns has been so inconsistent. Rookie Markieff Morris is probably the most consistent player off the bench for the Suns followed by Michael Redd and then Shannon Brown. The Wizards on the other hand have the talented 6th man Jordan Crawford (whom some of you may remember from the tape of him dunking on Lebron when he was a sophomore at Xavier), as well as Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche. The bottom line is the Wizards get more production from their back-ups on a consistent basis, so they get the edge here. (Advantage Wiz)

So other than the match-ups, what else can the Suns do to help them win this game? What worked so well for them last night in their surprising win over the Lakers?

I believe the answer to this question is scoring from the wings.

Last night Jared Dudley went off for 25 points, his highest total of the season thus far. Not only that, but in addition to guarding Kobe Bryant, Grant Hill also pumped in 15 points offensively as well. These offensive contributions from our wings were the difference in the game in my opinion, and it is one of the aspects of the game the Suns have been lacking in this season compared to past seasons where they have had more success. We know the Suns can expect consistent production from their starting point guard and center, but they need consistent production from their starting wings to knock down open shots and also open up the lane for the pick and roll, which is still the bread and butter of the offense. If the Suns can get additional scoring from Michael Redd and Shannon Brown off the bench as well, then that will help them even more, but they must continue to get consistent scoring from their starting wings in order to win games.

The Suns were determined to get a win at home last night against one of their biggest rivals; not only to keep the fans interested but also to help with the players' confidence and overall team morale. Let's hope they can ride that wave of momentum back into the arena tonight and take care of business again against a team they should beat.

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