(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

Everything that’s been wrong with the Suns is right again! At least for now.

Execution, defense, rebounding, ball handling, and energy, all the minuses that have plagued the team during its’ six-week slide, were almost magically turned into the very plusses that enabled them to get one of the oddest monkeys in professional team sports (i.e., 18 straight losses on TNT) off their backs.

Since I don’t pretend understand this team’s past, I won’t pretend to know whether this victory means the 14-3 team is back or was just making a cameo appearance. But what can be said is that it pulled the Suns back from the ledge of the cliff they’ve been teetering on lo these many losses.

A defense that has been able to make even “slows”, let alone “stops” down the stretch held the Mavericks to 16 fourth period points. The turnovers that have been killing them late?  The Suns had only two in the fourth period, leading to only one Maverick point. Rebounding? The Suns had a 37-34 edge, including 9-7 I n the fourth period.

Energy? The level hasn’t been this high, especially at crunch time, for more than a month.

As far as individual performances go, there were so many good ones it’s hard to decide where to start, but I’m going to go with the tremendous job Grant Hill did on All Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, frustrating the Maverick star all night. Dirk did manage 19 points, but that’s six below his average, and he never came close to getting his devastating game going.

Then there was Goran Dragic, who not only scored some huge points, but led a bench brigade (Dragic, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Louis Amundson, and Earl Clark) that twice brought the Suns back into the game. Good as his numbers (13 points and 4 of 6 shooting) were, the transfusion of instant energy he provides is even more important.

Obviously nobody told HIM the season’s is already half way down the drain. (Either that or he didn’t get the memo).

Dragic, who won’t turn 24 until May, is still very much a work in progress, and there are those who grumble the kid can’t play the point and isn’t big enough to play two guard. But he’s got spunk and he’s got a shot. And while I admit I’m not quite sure exactly what it is yet, he’s got game too.

Amundson, who is just as tireless and spunky as Dragic but not blessed with quite the talent, came up big on the boards in the clutch, blocked two shots, and contributed 7 of the team’s 28 fourth period points. And they don’t win this one without Dudley’s 8 points and 6 boards either.

In case you’re wondering about the usual heroes, Nash had 19 points and 11 assists and hit his usual quota of critical shots late, and Amare returned somewhat to form with 22 points.

Indeed, just about everybody made a significant contribution, including Coach Alvin, who I though had one of his better games.

The bottom line: There’s no such thing as a bad win, but some are better than others. And all things considered this was the best one this season.

  • flyeaglefly

    HEY,They are alive.They finally played a total game.Amare played with more spunk and earned his pay tonite. This team CAN do it.It is still difficult why they lose their focus.If they can keep this up, Fewer t/O’s, better defense,and make some shots,Even without Barbosas we Can finish strong. GO SUNS

  • Tom Burroughs

    Alvin Gentry’s coaching job was brilliant!! His choice of players in the last 6 minutes was perfect. With Shawn a great defender in the game who is so very familiar with Amare’s game he kept Amare out & went with some guys that are high energy & guys that Dallas is not that familiar with. Grant did an excellent job on Dirk & Steve blew by his buddy for a layup in the closing minutes! We were on the brink of a championship when Steve got knocked into the bench. I think some patients & no trades & we might have that championship? I would say shelf the trade stuff & ride this group to the finish. In watching every game the Suns play for many years I think this is one of, if not the most talented groups I have seen. If Amare leaves next year you will at least have shed his contract & have more money to work with. Again great job Alvin Gentry!!
    Tom
    Prescott AZ

  • JOHN SERPE

    It was like watching old movies of yourself last night against Dallas Joe. You know who the person is but weren’t we so much younger and energetic back then. Suns didn’t quite turn the clock back that far but it seems just as long since they played that hard. Very nice win over a fringe contender. So now what? If Suns history has anything to say we better enjoy this one for awhile, it might be another long drought. If only…. Forget it, just wishing and dreaming.

  • http://SUNS.COM TERRY SUTTON

    BEST COACHING GENTRY HAS DONE THIS YEAR. HE HAS BEEN MAKING SOME BAD CHOICES IN RECENT LOSES

  • catman

    It was a very interesting game. I thought JR had one of his better energy and shooting games, and the bench was full of spunk. It was sad to see how far Marion’s game has dropped from 3 years ago but that helped the Suns tonight. I also give credit to the coach for strategic moves in the last few minutes. However, the most “media speculation” news was the STATS was on the bench for the last part of the game and the Suns played better (defensively and maybe offensively) without him.

  • JOHN SERPE

    Two in a row over good teams with the Houston win. Haven’t seen that since the season started. Amare plays great but still can’t control the fouls, and he and Nash, and yes, Steve was brilliant with the passes, do not enhance the defensive effort that has to be given to beat good fringe contending teams. Brooks roamed all over the place while scoring (24). We still need a power forward that can stay on the court and is more than one dimensional. Are we really, really going to let him go and get nothing in return???

  • JOHN SERPE

    Trifecta for the Suns. Hornets show how teams that quit playing defense in a game can lose a 20 point lead in a hurry. Amare is sure doing all he can to impress any interested parties. Good win on a back to back, would have rated it very good if we don’t allow them back in it. Gentry has turned the norm around, and it seems to work in the Suns case. Now it’s like the bench comes in to play defense and get a lead, then the starters come off the bench and see if they can keep the lead. Were a fringe contender when we play like the last three. Big question mark, how long is it going to last this time?

  • JOHN SERPE

    Defense, it works doesn’t it Suns. Four in a row and Amare actually playing some and not in foul trouble, WOW!!! Denver is a legit contender, but lets be fair, no Mr. Anthony on the floor. This is turning into quite a dilemma for management. If Suns could play defense like this all the time you could actually see them making a run at the playoffs, well sort of, kinda, maybe.

  • Roman Santos

    Message for Steve Kerr: Want to start this message off by saying that my preference would be for Amar’e to stay in Phoenix for the year and see how it plays out. Having said that, if the organization feels that it is now or never to get value before STAT bolts, consider this trade scenario:

    3-way deal between PHX, CHI, and LAC

    Chicago gets Amar’e

    LA gets Brad Miller’s expiring contract

    Phoenix gets Tyrus Thomas, Jannero Pargo, and Marcus Camby

    I think the salaries may work out…Pargo is a trade filler and can go to either Phoenix or LA…

    Just my 2 cents….good luck!