More photos » Ralph Freso - AP
5 days ago: Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill, right, tries to push past the defense of San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Just got back from the arena and thought I'd drop some thoughts on it from a fan who just, unexpectedly, spent half the game thinking he was back in the playoffs. In fact, at one point (JRich alley-oop-hang-sideways-on-the-rim slam to make it 106-103) I was cheering so hard I felt a bit dizzy.
Seth may drop a post-game review on top of these thought, or he might not. I'm not yet sure how home game recaps are gonna fall this year (akin to Gentry not quite sure which lineup to play at which time), what with Seth getting quotes and stuff directly from the horses' mouths. I know you'd rather read that (so would I), but here's what I've got to say anyway.
Added in the morning (bottom of story): post-game audio from Nash, Gentry, Dudley and a couple Spurs
Some way, some how, the fourth game of a brand new regular season became an all-out 48-minute hard fought game. That just doesn't happen in November, except in rare rivalries. And Suns/Spurs, after last year's shellacking, is just that. A rivalry.
It wasn't a pretty game and certainly wasn't as well-played as a playoff rematch would be, even with these same weird rosters.
By that time, 80 games later or so, each team will be much tighter in their execution. Much better at anticipating where their teammates will be on offense as well as defense.
And by that time, Gentry will be in full control of the rotations. For example, if this were late-season and Goran was outplaying Nash again, I'm pretty certain Goran would have played more than 16 minutes. I am not saying Nash should've been benched. Nuh-uh. I just think it could have been slightly more equitable in terms of time distribution.
Dragic was decisive and smart on offense, making all the right plays at the right speed (fast). Also, Hill had a very good night but Duds and Childress did as well. Yet Hill played 986 minutes and Dudley (3-3 overall, 2-2 on threes) played like 2.
Nash, on the other hand, seemed uncertain where to go with the ball most of the night. I'm pretty sure I know why he was confused: Robin Lopez' failure to become a viable roller. I counted (roughly) about a hundred pick-and-rolls in the first half where Robin completely blew it. Robin had a terrible, terrible night. It's like he was wearing ankle-weights and oven mitts out there.
In contrast, newcomer Hakim Warrick came to play. Don't worry about him getting stuffed by Tim Duncan at the end of the game. Timmy's done that a million times, about half of them on Amare IIRC. Warrick was taking off like a rocket on those rolls to the rim. He's a find. A real find. Not as good as who he reminds us of, but certainly good enough to play on this team. I like that kid.
Other random thoughts:
- Suns won't miss that many chippies again in a single game this year. So, so many easy shots bounced off
- Suns caused a lot of turnovers. Gotta love it
- Spurs hit clutch shots, including RJ. If they hit all those shots every game, they will be tough to beat
- Spurs only outrebounded the Suns by 5. Given that the Suns missed 2,342 shots to the Spurs 40, that's not bad
- Chilly looked really good in limited time, as did Dudley. Why didn't they play more?
- Siler did not. The dude couldn't even keep his pants up, running up and down the court. And Nash tossed him an alley-oop at one point that Siler watched admiringly as if he were still on the bench. Ugh.
- After Lopez' 843rd f-up on the roll, Nash slammed the ball into the ground so hard I was sure he'd get a T
- Parker, Ginobili and Duncan are SO good at drawing fouls when they need it. Manu, in particular, kept the Spurs alive in the second quarter when Dragic was threatening to go all Dragon on them again.
- Speaking of Dragic: wow. He is getting better and better every game. His court vision tonight was outstanding.
- Gani Lawal is more than 2 inches shorter than Siler. So either Siler is under-listed at 6'11" or Lawal is overlisted at 6'9". Of course, Siler had the big boy sneakers on, and Lawal was in a suit.
Thank you, Suns and Spurs. Thank you for the most enjoyable November game I can remember in a long time.
That'll hold me for a few days.
(Oh, you want real analysis of the game action itself? Check with Seth right here. Great, great stuff on SBNation AZ.)
Added: post-game audio files