PHOENIX — Channing Frye had been suffering through an April to forget heading into Monday’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Frye averaged 8.5 points on 35.8 percent shooting from...

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Not bad. Not bad at all. I thought the players had checked out?  I thought I would see a boring game with no intensity and passion? Instead, I saw ten players who love the game. I saw ten players who weren't willing to just lie down, take their paychecks and call it a season. They played and fought, not for money, but for the sake of basketball itself, for the love of the game.

Those ten players are: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, Anthony Randolph, Luke Ridnour, Anthony Tolliver, Martell Webster and Michael Beasley.

I'm impressed. Being the second to last game of the season and perhaps the year, I very much enjoyed it. I don't know what to expect against the Spurs in a couple days, but I consider tonight's game the encore of the season. For the Suns, their season had pretty much ended a couple weeks ago, but the players decided to go out there and give it their best. They put on a show and it was good one, a performance worth watching. I'm grateful I was able to witness it.

Not going to lie though. I wasn't too enthusiastic about this game for the most part, but the players changed that when they picked up the intensity during the latter part of the 3rd quarter. Yes, I still didn't want the game to go into overtime, but the Suns managed to hang on and save me the heartbreak of another letdown.

Here's the breakdown for those who missed the game.

Breakdown!

The Phoenix Suns got off to an early 15-13 lead, but the Minnesota Timberwolves caught fire and went on a 20-6 run to go up 33-21. It would be a while before the Suns would ever reclaim the lead.

From the 2nd quarter through most of the 3rd, it was much the same. Neither team played any defense and both teams shot around 60% from the field. Throughout this stretch, the Wolves managed to stay ahead by around 4-8 points. However, something changed in the latter part of the 3rd. Jared Dudley decided he wasn't going to lose this game even though a win would mean nothing. Jumper after jumper, three after three, layup after layup until the Suns regained the lead 92-91 all due to the awesomeness of Dudz.

In the 4rth quarter, both teams continued to shoot well and the Suns could never gain any separation as every time they'd get up by three or two the T-Wolves would continue to score and put the pressure on Phoenix to get a defensive stop. Didn't happen as Webster hit a three to give the Wolves a 119-118 lead with 38 seconds to go.

The game only got more awesome from there on.

Here's what happened....

Suns inbound, they get the ball to Frye, he shoots, he misses!  Dudley gets the offensive rebound! He passes to Nash! Eddie Johnson says, "You don't need to shoot a THREE!", Nash says, "I'm Steve Clutch Nash, I do whatever I want!". Bam! He hits a three with 27 seconds to go, Suns up 121-119!

Beasley then gets fouled by Warrick and makes the shot.... However, he misses the free-throw. OVERTIME!

It's OT, the Wolves lead 124-123. Two minutes to go. Dudley steals the ball from Ridnour, he passes to Frye, Frye hits his 9th three-pointer of the night, a CAREER HIGH! Timberwolves miss, Grant scores, Suns up 128-124. Wolves turn the ball over, a 24-second violation! Yes, go defense! Nash passes, he gets it to Dudley, from the corner, for three....AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! DAAGGGEERRRR!

Suns up 131-124 with 47 seconds left. Free throws from there on out. Suns win 135-127!

Highlights

  • Channing Frye set a career high for 33 points on 12-18 shooting including 9-14 from beyond the arc. That sets his career high for most threes made in a game and also ties the franchise record set by Rex Champman and Q-Rich. 
  • Steve Nash didn't look to score the ball much. He only took 4 shots and finished with 8 points, but he took and made them when it counted. He also dished up 16 assist. Screw you Rondo!
  • Marcin Gortat finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds. That's not bad considering both teams shot 54%.
  • Grant Hill had 21 points and 8 assist.
  • Jared Dudley was amazing! 26 points on 10-15 shooting including 5-5 from downtown! He also had 8 rebounds and 5 steals!

It's no coincidence that these were the five from the Suns to step up and show their love and passion for the game by willing the team to a win.

Not a bad game.

Links

[Note by Seth Pollack, 04/12/11 6:54 AM MST ]

Phoenix Suns Take Overtime And Ton Of Threes To Beat Minnesota Timberwolves, 135-127 - SB Nation Arizona
Aaron Brooks (5 points, 5 assists, 18 min.) was out-played by Zabian Dowdell (8 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, 15 min.). They traded time playing point with Zabian looking far more effective running the team.

Robin Lopez didn't play at all as the Suns wanted to get a look at Garret Siler in more realistic game situations. Some in the organization think he can be a backup to Marcin Gortat at center next season. Siler didn't impress in his 12 minutes of play, finishing with just two points, five rebounds, and four fouls.




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I know this pitiful season hasn't quite finished yet but I figured now's as good a time as any to look back at the top ten plays for the year. Maybe it's just me, but I think we've lacked a little in the entertainment department this season, so I've put in one that wasn't even by a Phoenix Suns player.

Yes, I could have downloaded all the plays and made a sweet video but frankly I can't be bothered and it's too much effort, so I'm just going to do a Vince Carter on that front.

Speaking of which, I deliberately didn't put in any Vince dunks, for everyone's sake. I'll be honest, there was a dunk, maybe two which could have made the list but...

10. Dude dunks himself through the hoop

I'm ashamed that I actually flew all the way over from England and was at this game but missed this happening. What's worse, I actually recorded video on my phone of a few of the dunks before him in the exact same routine, and then turned away. Plus we lost the game to a crappy Bobcats team. But this was a pretty good play and I think it deserves to make the top 10.

9. Lopez dunk on Chandler

By all accounts, RoLo has been dreadful this season, but this dunk was insane. It might be the one good play he ever made all season, but it was a hell of a dunk in a great MLK Day game where we got payback on the Knicks. What a shame that this guy regressed so much...

8. J-Chill steal and dunk

Even though he has an awful outside shot which makes him a bad fit for the Suns, I still believe he can be useful to the team with his hustle and effort. This play shows why. Great layup, great steal, great dunk. Boom.

7. Grant Hill dunk and one on LeBron

It doesn't matter that the Suns got destroyed in this game, Grant Hill dunking on LeBron of all people means this makes the list. There are probably some better Grant plays from the season but my mind is blank right now. I had to put at least one of his in though.

6. Nash behind the back pass to Hill

Forget what I just said about my mind being blank because I just remembered this one (actually I didn't, it was listed as a related clip which jogged my memory.) Grant Hill simply has to be back next season...if there is one.

5. Frye winner vs. Nets

Obviously both Frye winners were going to make the list, this one comes in first. Great shot, but there was still time on the clock, so it's not as good as the other one which we'll get to later. That stretch of games was crucial so this was a huge win. The playoffs weren't actually too far off back then...depressing. Clutch shot though.

4. Warrick dunk on Yi

I think this was the game where we briefly adopted an apostrophe and started calling him Hak'im Warrick, such was the insanity of this dunk. In fact I think this is one of the earlier games where Warrick broke out and had an awesome game which led us to think he might be able to fill Amar'e's void just a little. I don't know, my memory's terrible, and it's worse if the season's a write off. But what an awesome dunk this was.

3. Nash pass while falling out of bounds vs Lakers (epic 3OT game)

In real time, you don't think there's anything special about this play other than a great point guard making a tough pass out of a double team. But when you see it from the courtside angle...wow. Even this year, Nash never ceased to amaze us with some of the things he pulled off.

2. Frye buzzer beater vs. Pacers

Not much to say for this one, amazing shot by Frye and the first time we hit a game winning buzzer beater for as long as I can remember. Awesome.

1. Grant Hill to J-Rich alley oop to force overtime

Not only was this a totally awesome end to a crazy quarter, but the whole thing reminds us of happier times. By happier I mean, we still sucked then, but a) we didn't realise how badly and still clung to hope we'd turn it round and b) it was before Vince Carter arrived and pissed us all off. What we see in this clip is team work, a desire to win, and athleticism...none of which Vince has showed us in his 50 odd games with the team. So yeah, it was a pretty awesome play, best one of the season for me.

 

So yeah, those are the top 10 plays of an otherwise forgetful season in my opinion. Feel free to disagree or post up better ones. Having actually gone through this now there's a few plays that I've remembered that almost made the list, such as:

this Warrick dunk vs the Jazz

the Nash pass to Gortat through Boozer's legs

the best of Jared Dudley's 10 dunks this season

Discuss.


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