16 December 2009
The home game streak remains unblemished as our Suns used Tuesday evening to once again remind all Phoenix fandom that - to borrow an ol' phrase from the New York Mets - You Gotta' Believe. Putting on a display of scoring prowess that made it fun to watch, the Suns only let-up against the San Antonio Spurs for a brief stretch in the third quarter as they went on to win 116-104.
Amar'e Stoudemire topped the Suns scoring roster with 28 points and he stunned all comers with 14 rebounds and 3 steals - talk about your sticky fingers. The numbers don't even come close to stating just how much Amar'e did to energize the Suns on both sides of the floor when it came time for the rubber to meet the road.
Sure San Antonio's Tim Duncan put on an impressive performance of his own as he sought to drag the Spurs across the finish line - and Duncan's 34-point show deserves a highlight reel all its own - but that can't take away from the skill Stoudemire showed on the attack. And Stoudemire's season high 3 steals were critical to clamping down on San Antonio's comeback hopes - those 10 defensive boards didn't hurt either.
Steve Nash was another brilliant performer for the Suns - and we're talking with a capital B.
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Hitting for 25 points and passing for 13 assists - Nash showed that his own personal version of the double-double can really make the Suns wheels roll. Pinpoint precision passing is exactly what we expect from the 35-year old Nash and he wasn't in a disappointing mood. His deft ball movement exploited the sluggishness of a San Antonio defense that just wasn't able to keep-up with the Suns high-flying offensive magic and it helped Amar'e push his inside game to the limits.
But while these stellar performances by two undisputed headliners deserve top billing, we can't walk away without saying a few kind - and hopefully - encouraging words about Goran Dragic.
Yes - Goran Dragic.
We are not big boosters for this young man - but sometimes the facts necessitate a fresh look - and Dragic's 3-point display in Tuesday's game deserves special mention.
It became apparent early on that Jason Richardson - the usual partner in crime for Steve Nesh - was not having a good night. J-Rich's shots weren't falling - he ultimately hit just 1-7 all night - and there was a danger that the lack of scoring was going to fit the Suns like a pair of cement shoes. But instead of flailing in an uncoordinated way - Goran Dragic came in and hit 4-5 from beyond the 3-point line. He also knocked down 3-4 from closer range for a total of 18 points in just 25:24 minutes.
It was the score production - particularly from long range that kept the Suns offense balanced - and ket the Spurs off balance throughout. Thanks go out to Goran - a 2-year man who proved that he can be explosive.
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