In the pantheon of Phoenix Suns losses, this one wasn't so bad. The game in Golden State was competitive, hard fought and a lot of fun to watch. The Warriors got the win at home thanks to some big shots from their bench guys in the second half and great hustle on the glass in the first.
The Suns got plenty of good looks but went cold from three going 5-25 (.200) with Frye and Dudley only a combined 2-13 after a couple of hot shooting nights. As we've said many times, when those two guys are hitting their threes, the Suns are hard to beat. Without those extra points, the Suns just couldn't generate enough offense late in the game. Again.
Defensively, the Warriors only shot 37% in the first half, but exploded for 33 points in the third quarter. David Lee gave Suns fans a peek at what a big man with post moves looks like and added some great energy and effort on the glass as well. He finished with 28 and 12.
Lil Nate Robinson was his feisty self, adding 11 off the bench and rookie Klay Thompson and second year big Ekpe Udoh were both big for the Warriors. Give their bench credit.
The Purple Boys built a 12-point lead through the six minutes of the third quarter but the wheels fell off the defense with Lee and Monta Ellis fueling a 25-10 run in a span of 6:46 to take the lead going into the fourth.
Both Robin Lopez and Sebastian Telfair were bad enough in their second quarter stretch that they weren't let off the bench in the fourth. Instead, Ronnie Price came in and gave the Suns some grit but not much else. Markieff Morris had all ten of his points in the fourth but was 4-11 on the game.
The Suns got down by 10 in the final quarter but battled back to 94-91 with just under two minutes to go. Gortat missed an open 15 footer and then Dudley missed an open three and it was game over from there. Big shots were missed on one side and made on the other. Ball game.
One thing I'd want to take a look at tomorrow is how the Suns reacted to the Warriors switching defense in the fourth quarter. It still seems they didn't do a good enough job recognizing and finding the mismatches in the post.
The Suns shot just 38% in the fourth....that's not going to get it done. They need to find another way to generate points in the paint when the threes aren't falling. Especially, if teams are going to switch a guard on to Gortat on the pick and roll.
"We did a terrible job finishing the game," Alvin Gentry said in his postgame comments.
|Final - 2.13.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Golden State Warriors||20||23||33||26||102|
On to Denver for another one tomorrow. A blow out is entirely possible, especially if Nash and Hill get the night off as many expect.
Suns head into the second half with a 46-43 lead after a fairly entertaining first half. The offense is flowing well for Phoenix with 50% shooting and 17 assists but the old bugaboo, second chance points, is keeping the Warriors in the game.
David Lee has nine rebounds, four on the offensive glass where he's been a beast. Got to keep a body on that guy!
This week, the Suns face the brutality of NBA life after a long lockout: every team has at least one "3-games-in-3-nights" series on their 2011-2012 schedule. The Suns (12-15) have 2 such opportunities for fun this season - the first kicking off with tonight's game against the Warriors (10-14) in California.
While real-life data shows that, so far, 3-in-3 isn't much different than any other scheduling phenomenon - thanks to some research by BSotS' own 7footer - the Suns happen to be sporting two of the oldest players in the NBA in Grant Hill and Steve Nash. Gentry will have to monitor their minutes, possibly even sitting one or both out of one of the games.
The most winnable game is tonight's and is likely to feature the most Nash and Hill minutes of the week unless it's a blowout in the 4th quarter. After that, the Suns fly to Denver for a mile-high game, followed by a home game against the Hawks. All in the span of about 50 hours. Considering the opponents, the Suns' history against those teams, and the venue of each game, if the Suns are going to "punt" any of these games to win the others, you'd have to "X" out the Denver game.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight, the Suns face the Warriors - a team the Suns have found ways to beat in 11 of the last 12 regular-season meetings. The Warriors have failed to score 100 points in the last 4 meetings (averaging 92), while the Suns have averaged 106. The Suns won the first matchup this season, 102-91.
Cross your fingers that the Suns can continue this stretch of dominance.
Special gameday fun: use the comments section to create a caption for that awesome picture!
Take a look at the Warriors stats:
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