All in all, a pretty good night for Suns present and past. With balanced scoring and a double-double from Shaq, the present Suns took care of business against the offensively challenged Bobcats (they are dead last in the league in scoring). And past Suns, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, combined for 50 pointswith Boris adding 10 rebounds and 6 assists to go with his 27.
However, in the interest of full disclosure, this was one of those games you put in the win column but not in your highlight film. It was kind of a bumpy affair, what with 36 turnovers (19 by the Suns) and 53 fouls, and the Suns never could quite put the Bobcats away until the last four minutes.
That having been said, the only really anxious moment in the whole game came with 4:03 left in third period when Steve Nash hobbled to the bench with an ankle problem. There was a palpable sigh of relief when he came back in briefly with 8:41 to play in the fourth period, and the preliminary indication was that the injury isn’t serious.
Shaq not only had a double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) but he also hit 6 of his 7 free throws and blocked 3 shots.
When you consider all the changes in personnel and styles the Suns have been working through since Day One of training camp, not to mention the pervasive aura of angst that’s been hanging over them most of the season, and note they are still 8 games over .500 with a better-than-decent shot at making the playoffs, you’d have to take the “over” in over/under-achieving wagering on the them..
And although Amare’s loss obviously hurts, they seemed stabilized in both style and rotation, and can reasonably be expected to play their best basketball of the season over the final 26 games.
The bottom line: Just a couple of weeks ago the fact there was still plenty of time left in the season would have been considered BAD news by gloomy citizens of Planet Orange. That mood has definitely lightened, both in the locker room and the stands.