‘Tis the season to be stuffing, and the Suns embraced the spirit of the season by positively gorging on points, especially in the first half. Just to show you what kind of pigs they made of themselves while shoveling points into themselves with both hands, consider this:
When you hit right at 50 percent from the field and put 63 points on the board in the first half, you’d like to think you’d be in the lead going to the locker room, or at least in the GAME, but the Sacramento Kings did both, and yet were neither. In fact, they were trailing by 17 points!
That’s what happens when your opposition hits 11 of its first 12 shots and 18 of its first 21, and goes on to shoot 75 percent for the first 12 minutes. You’d think with that kind of start the law of averages alone would cool the Suns down in the second period, and sure enough the Suns did cool off, hitting only 60 percent.
Coach Mike D’Antoni admitted his team played “pretty good” in the first half, and that the first period was “unbelievable.”
It wasn’t just the hot shooting either. The Suns had it all going, moving the ball as well as they have all year, running the break like they invented it (when actually they only reinvented it), and all the while taking better care of the basketball than is their wont, what with only seven turnovers.
All in all, it was an impressive reminder of just how good this top-of-the-line point machine can be when it is hitting on all cylinders. And don’t let that relatively modest final total of 127 fool you. If Coach Mike hadn’t opted to keep all of his starters on the bench the entire fourth period it could easily have been 157.
Granted, as my colleague Jerry Brown of The Tribune suggested, this was a mismatch of such magnitude that even the Nevada Boxing Commision might have refused to sanction it, what with the Suns having the best point guard on the planet and the short-handed Kings not even having a bona fide point guard available. As if this weren’t bad enough, they were also minus main man Ron Artest, who was back in Sacramento dealing with a family problem.
And it was Steve Nash (surprise, surprise) who triggered the avalanche, hitting his first five shots, and kept it rolling with 15 assists in just 27 minutes — which is three more than the entire Kings team had in 48.
All five Suns starters were in double figures, and could easily have been named Player of the Game en masse, but this night I think my game balls will go to the entire bench brigade, led by Marcus Banks, who not only had eight points but also six, count ‘em six, assists. And how about the trio of Brian Skinner, D.J. Strawberry and Alando Tucker combining for 24 points?
I know the case for the starters is more compelling, but those guys have closets full of game ball already and the subs don’t often get the opportunity to show what they can do. Besides, they’re my game balls, and I can give ‘em to who I want to.
The bottom line: How about a 10-2 record and 7 straight wins? Its’ a happy Thanksgiving, indeed!