First of all, we need to thank the Warriors for shooting so horribly tonight.
As a team, the Warriors shot only 43%, carried by Reggie Williams (8-10) and Ekpe Udoh (3-5). No other GS player made more than half their shots.
For Monta Ellis (5 for 17), only 1 other game this year has he made fewer baskets on that many shots (4-19 against the Clippers on January 9). Stephen Curry (7-17) has had a few games like this, which surprises me since he's such a great shooter. I really think Curry's career is going to be limited as long as plays next to the equally diminutive Ellis.
Second of all, we need to thank birthday boys Steve Nash (14 pts, 15 assists) and Mikael Pietrus (12 points in the second quarter) for carrying the Suns to the win. Until a late flurry of 3s by Frye/Nash/Dudley we had yet another potential 4th quarter meltdown as the Warriors cut the lead to 4 with 5 minutes left. Luckily, the Warriors went cold yet again and only scored 17 of their own points that quarter.
Give some credit to the Suns defense, especially in the first half. Every Warriors shot was contested, which is a far cry from earlier in the season. As I wrote in the largely-unread preview post, the Suns are holding opponents to 102.2 points per 100 possessions over the past 12 games and tonight they were just as effective. League average is 104 and climbing, so that's not bad.
Oh yeah, and Grant Hill was really good again. 18 points on offense + sticky defense on Ellis and Curry and anyone else in his way. He got into Ellis' head in the first half, abusing him on post-ups till Ellis was completely frustrated out of his game.
One final thought: why pull Gortat at the end? I guess its for scoring, but then the Suns couldn't get any rebounds when they needed it and that's because Frye was the biggest guy on the court.
Anyway, good win.
It's late. I'm tired.
Ben Margot - AP
2 months ago: Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash (13) drives past Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Both teams trying harder on defense lately? Check.
Both teams' vaunted offenses slowing down a bit? Check.
Both teams playing better lately? Check.
Talk about evenly matched. Flipping a coin is as good as anything.