January 08, 2008
This was such a ridiculously entertaining game.
The Warriors aren't natural scorers, they'll put up a lot of shots and, consequently, a lot of points; but they're streaky, not the smoothest scoring team at time, and you'll see a lot of 17-point first quarters like we saw against the Spurs last night.
That said, you'll also see plenty of 34-point second quarters, like we saw last night, and a Warriors team that could have given in to bad shots ("exclusively given in," I should say, because they did take some bad shots down the stretch and in overtime) hung with it and pulled out a tough win despite tired legs.
This isn't a chink in San Antonio's armor, they're not quite coasting but they are still figuring out a minute allotments and the best rotations to work with, and Tim Duncan (32 points, 13 rebounds, just one turnover in 40 minutes) was quiet and dominant and didn't see the ball enough in overtime, though I'm aware that Baron Davis couldn't stay in front of Tony Parker to save his life.
Stephen Jackson (12 points in overtime) is one of those guys who you can always count on for efficient shooting late in a game. He front-rimmed his first three-pointer in OT, but gathered his legs (and may have taken a bad shot or two) long enough to win the game for Golden State. Wing players with a strong base like Jackson (or LeBron James, or someone like Jamal Mashburn) can always (if given time) crouch long enough to rise up and get the shot off where other guards might fall short.
Baron Davis, to a lesser (and shorter) extent, is right there with him. The whole team, actually, was right there with him. It's great to see the Warriors playing like this.
And, yes, Jessica Alba was there. You got your Jessica Alba shot. Happy?
Another, well, ridiculously entertaining game.
Phoenix pretty much had it won within the first few minutes when it became obvious that they were really, really, really interested in the proceedings on this particular Monday night. Denver worked, make no mistake, and Carmelo Anthony deserves credit for fighting through some tough calls and close shots that should have gone in, but the Suns were not going to lose this game.
Denver also gave itself no shot when it tried to emulate Phoenix's fast-break style. Now, the Nuggets actually runs more than the Suns do (puts about as many shots, turns the ball over more), but they don't quite work in the same fashion as Phoenix does when it comes to fashioning fast break buckets.
This is where Phoenix always gets teams: they draw them in with this speedy style of play, teams think they can match on the other end, and what should be a lousy (on paper) Phoenix team defensively turns downright middle-of-the-road by way of all the bum shots the opponents are lured into. Match that with a fabulous offense, and you have a perennial title contender.
Steve Nash set the tone early, looking for shots and making semi-dangerous 4th quarter passes in the 1st quarter. Amare Stoudamire had a hot start before foul trouble did him in (stop chasing those guards 30 feet from the hoop, Amare), but it was Shawn Marion's five (tying a career-best in 24 minutes) first half three-pointers that allowed Phoenix to score a friggin' nutty 78 points in the first half.
The Suns scored
a shocking 139.8 points pro-rated to 100 possessions against a defense that
allowed (entering Monday) 103.2 points per 100. Yep. Good at shootin'.
Also notable was Marcus Banks' 7-8 mark from long-range. Marcus entered the game shooting 44 percent from behind the arc (he's up to 53 percent now), but I don't know if that's something we can bank on. It'd be nice, though, to get Nash more rest.