After watching the Phoenix Suns lose six out of their past 10 games and fall a half-game out of the last spot for the playoffs, I was probably like a lot of Suns fans in that I didn’t know what to expect from the team as they started their three-game road trip against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Both teams had the same record (on a side note, while the Suns would be out of the playoffs in the Western Conference if they started today, the Pistons would be in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference) and the Pistons had nearly the same record at home Phoenix had on the road. So what Phoenix team would show up in Detroit?
The first quarter showed just how evenly matched both teams were when they both ended with 29 points. But in the 2nd quarter, the Suns were able to break open the game with a 14-4 run to end the half and to take a 12-point lead into the locker room. In the 3rd quarter, Detroit tried to make it a game by erasing nearly the entire deficit before letting Phoenix go on another mini run to end that quarter. And then Phoenix was able to keep the Pistons at arm’s length the rest of the way. Each time Detroit tried to make a run themselves, Steve Nash would come back with an amazing assist to help the Suns keep their lead.
While Nash wasn’t really shooting well, his passing ability seemed to grow in leaps in bounds during Sunday’s game. Every guy that was open under the basket was able to receive a perfect pass from their point guard. And then they did their part by making the shots when they got the ball under the basket. All in all, Phoenix shot 49.4% from the field for the game and 36.4% from the three-point line. That translated into a 21-assist night for Steve Nash, just one off his career high. As a comparison, the Pistons had 19 assists – as a team.
Phoenix was also able to distribute the scoring well, having all five starters and Leandro Barbosa in double-digit scoring. Turnovers were kept to a minimum with only 12 for the game. And even more important, those turnovers were only converted into seven Detroit points.
The only real blemish on the game is the fact that the Suns missed nine free throws, allowing the Pistons to stay close toward the end of the game and make for a more nerve-wracking 4th quarter than was probably necessary. Other than that, Phoenix looked like a team that was enjoying the game and that wanted to get themselves back on track
Next up for the Suns is he Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. The 76ers are only one game over .500 but are fighting to keep their spot in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference so the game should be a good one.
What did you think about the game? Steve Nash’s assists? The total game played by the team? Leave your comments below.