(Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)

The difference an O’Neal makes!  One night after Shaquille O’Neal sat on the bench in a suit, he suited up for the Suns and scored 29 points on 12-16 shooting from the field and 5-9 shooting from the free throw line in 35 minutes.  He also added 11 assists rebounds and four assists.


Of course, the Suns did still try to give the game away with points allowed off turnovers.  The team had 17 turnovers but, even worse than the number of turnovers, is the number of points the Bucks scored off of those mistakes – 28 points.  On the other side, the Suns were only able to score 6 points off of 11 of their opponent’s turnovers.

Amare Stoudemire continued his huge run at the free throw line – shooting 18-20 in 42 minutes.  He was limited to eight shots and only made three of those but still ended up with 24 points due to the free throws.  He also added five rebounds.

Another thing that the team seems to need work on is bench scoring.  Of course, Matt Barnes not being with the team takes Grant Hill’s normal scoring off the bench and adds it to the starters’ tally.  And with that change, the bench players only scored 14 points – compared to the Bucks’ 55 bench points.

But at the end of the day, the Suns got the win and the team tallied a 3-1 record on their first long road-trip of the season.  They now have 5 wins and 2 losses on the season and are considered a 1/2 game back from the Lakers in the Pacific Division – despite the Lakers having played three less games than Phoenix at this point.  They now head back home for two games against Memphis and Houston, who have a combined 7-5 record.

What are your thoughts on the game and the team’s first long road-trip?  Did they meet your expectations?  What else do they still need to work on?

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