An entertaining game with a playoff atmosphere just didn't swing the Warriors way. As previously thought this was suppossed to be a look at the new Suns against a team that plays Smallball more so then they do. However Shaq was in foul trouble most of the night totaling just 14 minutes through 3 quarters and sitting the entire 4th but wihout the diesel Phoenix responded better and just walked away with a W.
Shaq Simply put because of the Warriors quickness he was run off the floor and went into early foul trouble. Because of this Phoenix adjusted their game they way they were used to playing. They threw outlets up the floor for easy buckets, launched from 3 with no conscience, and let Steve Nash operate in the lane with nobody clogging it up. Although I remain to be convinced this trade has worked out they certainly appear to play much better against good competition then previously and handle halfcourt and uptempo teams better.
Baron Baron always brings his A+ game to National TV and tonight was no exception. His 38 points a hot 15-30 and 6-11 from long distance kept the Warriors in the game. He added 9 boards and 8 assists along with 3 steals as well. Basically without Baron this game is a blowout. His defense was lazy as usual but he played his butt off tonight.
Help Monta had the worst 23 point/8 reb/4assist/2 steal game I've ever seen he just disappeared in the 2nd half. I hate typing this because he has been playing amazing lately but he had trouble hitting his mid-range jumper tonight perhaps struggling to shoot over the longer arms of the Suns. He'll bounce back but if Monta doesn't score then chances are rest of the team won't pick up the slack. Thats what happenned tonight. See Stephen Jackson and his 4-13 shooting. At least it was good to see Azubuike and Pietrus pick up the slack. Pietrus had 16 points 8 rebounds. His Defense has picked up noticably but thats all I'm writing for fear of jinxing. Azubuike was the only decent bench player 10 points, 7 boards is solid play in just 20 minutes.
Amare Time I had an inkling Stoudemire would kill us inside tonight but I didn't know how aggressive his inside game. Half his Baskets were dunks which explains the 62% he shot from the field but his 36 points offset Baron's scoring. Despite his 11 rebounds or 4 assists the stat I was impressed with were his four blocks. Those blocks saved Warrior buckets. His Defense was very good something which usually doesn't happen it was almost like he was super motivated.
Quick summary and a look ahead to future The Suns were up by a few points in the 3rd quarter and the game seemed to be going back and forth. Then the 10-0 run happenned by Phoenix to go up by 14 and meant the Warriors just had to claw their way back into the game. To their credit at times in the 4th they hung with Phoenix for a little while but the Suns made too many shots. No point blaming this on a back to back the lack of help along the roster to make up for Baron's 38 was the dissapointing factor Pietrus and Kelenna the exceptions. Had the Dubs won this they would have been 0.5 games behind Phoenix and 3 in front of Denver. With 3 games against Subpar teams (Memphis, Sacramento Kings and the LA Clippers) then the schedule gets rough Houston, Lakers, Lakers, Portland, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, and then Dallas No room for error but at least we're done with Utah.
Defense: The Suns shot 50% from the field and 12-24 (50%) from 3 meaning their was no closing out on the shooters yet the game was still close. Golden State led for part of the 3rd quarter but the Suns onslaught just got to them. We all know they can score but trading Baskets in the 4th just isn't getting it done. They didn't bring it on the Defensive end tonight hence one of the reasons for the loss. It's lucky that with their 3 games coming up against teams well under .500 we should see an imprvement on Defense then. Hopefully