Watching the Suns celebrate Thanksgiving a day early by gorging themselves on turkey, the question that naturally came to mind was: Has their home schedule been front-loaded with stiffs, or are the Suns simply so good they just make it seem that way?
The answer probably is “somewhere in between.” (Don’t you just hate wishy-washy answers like that?)
Two things we do know for sure: One, the teams the Suns have faced here in their 6-0 start are a combined of 30-61, and two, the Suns’ average margin of victory has been a misleadingly low 13.6 points.
I say “misleading” because the Suns are actually making it look a lot easier than that. Wednesday’s margin, for instance, was 15, but they actually led by 26 and probably could have won by 36 had Coach Alvin been so inclined.
The astronomical numbers are rivaled only by the devastating ease with which they are putting them up. In the third period, for example, they shot 85 per cent from the field (17 of 20). Amare Stoudemire had 18 of his 28 points in the period and Steve Nash had 8 of his 16 assists. Even coasting, they still hit 62 per cent from the field on the night, including 9 of 17 threes.
The pattern last night followed that of the previous five home games —the visitors hang with the Suns for a decent spell, and then, blooey! Actually, “blooey” doesn’t quite get it. Make it BLOOEY!!!
The Grizzlies were feeling pretty good about themselves at 47-47 with some four minutes to play in the second period, but the Suns hit them a 13-2 the rest of the half, and blew them clear away with that above mentioned third period firestorm, and the rest, as they say, was history. And so were the Grizzlies.
What we’re seeing, at least here in the early going, is just how many weapons the Suns have in their arsenal. And while the offense has been making so much noise you can’t hear the defense, the “D” hasn’t been too shabby either. I know they rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed, but that’s a notoriously unreliable measure of defense because it more often than not is due as much to slow “O” as good “D”.
More reliable barometers are point differential and stops with game on the line – two areas which the Suns fare well in. Witness the number of fourth-period comebacks they’ve mounted en route to their league-best 12-3 record.
The bottom line: For whatever reason, the Suns are not only unbeatable at home, but have looked unbeatable.