(Christian Petersen)

Channing Frye just missed his career high, but still came away with a rare double-double— Offensive Player Of The Game AND Defensive Player Of The Game.

What with being a registered sniper with a license to thrill, Frye’s 29 points that included five treys wasn’t all that surprising. After all, Shots-R-Him. But although his scoring outburst was instrumental in carrying the weary Suns (they arrived home from Golden State at 3:30 a.m.) to victory, it was his spectacular block of a Mike Dunleavy shot that finally sealed the deal.

When Dunleavy turned the ball loose at point-blank range it appeared the Suns’ lead was about to shrink to one point. But Fry swatted the ball away, triggering a sequence that culminated in a three-pointer by Jason Richardson–a five-point swing that turned 91-90 into 94-88 with four minutes left, and the Pacers never got closer than four the rest of the way. (It was Fry’s third block of the evening, by the way).

Of course, this wasn’t ALL about Fry. In fact, Coach Alvin correctly called it a “team” win, noting that everybody made a contribution. And just about everybody did, even Earl Barron, whose space-occupying presence helped ease the team’s chronic and oft-chronicled inside woes in the “red zone.”

In fact, even the Pacers chipped in with 26 turnovers. Many of those were due defensive hustle, as attested by 14 Suns’ steals, but many of them were early Christmas gifts.

Fry, incidentally, wasn’t the only defensive star for the Suns. Grant Hill struggled with his shot (2-for-9) but helped hound Pacer star Danny Granger into 2-for-13 woes.

This was a subtly significant victory for the Suns, serving as it does as a springboard to a nice December run. A loss would have dropped them back under .500. But instead they are 10-9 with a two-game winning streak to build on, with four one the next five games at home.

And give the degree of difficulty of their early schedule, complicated by the fact their center, Robin Lopez, missed 9 games (and counting), and Steve Nash missed two-and-a-half, not to mention the need to retrofit the rotation, 10-9 isn’t too shabby at all.

The bottom line: This has to be the best 10-9 team in the NBA, one that has 45-37 (with a plus or minus margin of error of two) written all over it.

  • JAS

    Joe, Warrick almost blows the memory of Stat all to heck. If Hakim played any defense we would all be saying, Amare who? Barron has work to do on being even fairly good but he puts Frye and Turk back to comfortable spots and we saw the result against the Wizards. Nash had a “forever young” game and showed Wall you have to earn respect young man, they don’t just hand it out in the NBA. Suns beat most western playoff bound teams under #4 and I suppose we should be happy with that. Still to soft up the middle and rebounding will kill us very game against the “big” teams. Still, we could be the Clippers, Rockets, Kings or Warriors so give thanks.

  • JAS

    Letdown against Portland in kind a strange showing by our Suns. Without Andre Miller Suns should have ramped it up, instead, no emotion, energy, just flat. These are the games that leave me seriously doubting if we can make the playoffs. The talent is there, whether the desire matches it is still a question mark.

  • JAS

    Nice effort by the Suns bench in a losing effort to a Memphis team that won’t be regarded as good any time soon. Sorry, but this game showed all the major cracks in a rapidly crumbling Phoenix foundation. From Nash aging before our eyes as he stands and watches balls stolen time after time to Frye and Turkoglu looking like grade school kids trying to handle Zach Randolph. No amount of spin is going to gloss over the fact that although this Suns machine still has some good parts the major pieces are worn thin. Sure, we still have a few “big game” wins in us this season, just to few and far between to make us any kind of threat. The crossroad is here, do nothing and join the bottom tier of the NBA for who knows how long or stop the wishing and start the rebuilding that has been put on hold way to long.

  • JAS

    Down go our Suns once again to a supposedly “tired” Portland team coming off a back to back. This time we didn’t even put up much fight, just looked miserable most of the way through. Sure Nash scores 20+ but it’s so misleading, he gives up twice that defensively and blows any chance of a miracle comeback with what has become tiresome turnover after turnover. It’s a complete mess and please, forget about the playoffs it’s not going to happen. This is the result of squeezing the last drop out of players who’s time has passed. Get ready to join the Clippers and Houston’s of the basketball world. Suns slide is finally here.

  • JAS

    Oh Boy, it must be official, read today that even the experts are hinting our Suns are headed downward at warp speed. Hey! I haven’t been happy since the 3rd game, wow, it took this long for it to sink in, OUR SUNS NEED HELP!! And please don’t bore me with the Amare “thing” HE WAS NEVER BRINGING A TITLE HERE. Remember last season he did the same thing here, played like a superstar for 2 months and then what? Back to the foul prone, no defense or rebounding, chemistry killer he mostly is, right on que for the playoffs. No, our Suns require retooling, identity and chemistry first in line. Change is one hard reality check, but to do nothing will be harsher.

  • Remus

    Frye needs support, please consider to trade Hedo & Josh to 76ers for Elton Brand & $cash(or second round pick), the 2 new Suns didn’t help much in past Suns games and affect Jared & other players rotation, please contact 76ers or other teams to search right PF solutions, thank you.

  • Joe

    This Suns team needs to strenghten up on the defensive end, otherwise there is no chance they’ll make the playoffs. I’m afraid to even think what will happen after this season, since Nash and Grant Hill are already nearing the ends of their careers. The team will need some serious rebuilding to stay competitive in the future. But this season they still have a shot at the playoffs, if they play their cards right.