(Chris Graythen/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Chris Graythen/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns were without starters Steve Nash (flu symptoms) and Shaquille O’Neal (rest) when they faced the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.  And after the first quarter, it appeared Phoenix would go quietly and accept a loss without comment or fight.

However, something happened in the second quarter and the players started showing more intensity and fight – on both offense and defense.  It brought the team to within one at halftime.  Unfortunately, the third quarter did the team in and they didn’t have enough energy while being short-handed to pull out a win.

But there were some good things to come out of the game despite the loss.  Phoenix only had 13 turnovers in the game – far less than they have averaged during the regular season.  They tied the Hornets in assists despite Hornets point guard Chris Paul having 15 himself.  Phoenix held New Orleans to 45% shooting.

Unfortunately, there were problems as well.  Robin Lopez started the game with two quick fouls and he ended up only playing 20 minutes for the game.  Louis Amundson only added six minutes.  That left a big hole in the middle when Shaq was on the bench in a suit.  The Suns lost the rebounding battle by 16 – 46 to 30 – and gave up a total of 17 offensive rebounds.

Phoenix was on a plane Wednesday night headed to Dallas to face the Mavericks.  We know that Shaq will be back and still haven’t heard whether Nash will be well enough to play.  But they have their work cut out for them against a team they’ve fought many battles.  If the team can come out of this short road trip with a 1-1 record, I think they (and the fans) will be fairly happy.  What are your thoughts?