The Phoenix Suns held home court and beat the Lakers last night, 118-109.
Amare Stodemire had a monster game. He scored 42 points and grabbed 11 boards. Maybe he was responding to Charles Barkley’s challenge to grab ten rebounds a game. The Suns were only 5 for 20 from behind the arc, but Jason Richardson was 4 of 7 on his own, scoring 19 points.
The most surprising performance was from Robin Lopez. He held his own in the middle and scored 20 points.
Steve Nash added 17 points and did a great job distributing, giving out 15 assists.
These are all good things, but there are plenty of reasons to worry.
Lopez grabbed only three rebounds. That’s not nearly enough when you’re the starting 7-footer and are being asked to bang with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom.
Amare was the only player to grab double-digit rebounds. Grant Hill grabbed nine, but outside of them no player had more than four.
The most worrying thing though is the lack of bench production. The Suns’ starting five scored 98 of the team’s 118 points. They got only five points from starter Grant Hill, which means four players scored 93 points. This tells me the starters are doing all the work.
Speaking of Hill, he still isn’t doing anything to slow down Kobe Bryant. Kobe was one assist shy of a triple double, going for 36 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds. But really, who can guard Kobe? I have a thought. I see two players on the Suns’ roster with “DNP Coach’s Decision” next to there names. Put them in there just to get in Kobe’s way. To quote Remember The Titans, “Push him. Pull him. Do something.”
The Suns also went to the line and attempted 42 free throws. They were getting inside and playing physical. The problem with that is they don’t have the players to bang inside with the Lakers for an entire series.
If they keep playing physically, and keep not getting any bench production, they are going to get worn out quickly. It was a nice strategy for one game, but they need to play with a little more finesse to survive.
Oh, and as if they needed another obstacle…Steve Nash got his nose broken. Poor guy. Has a player ever had so many injuries that look awful, but ultimately don’t have much effect? What can you say about Nash? He’s tough, he’s a hockey player.
The Suns played a great game. Amare dominated. Nash distributed. If they can get something from their bench they’ll have a chance to climb back into this series.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.