1 Total Update since December 5, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
This was one of those solid wins for the Phoenix Suns that won't be remembered in a few months. The Washington Wizards, now 0-10 on the road, are a young team that looks completely lost on both ends of the floor. It was a win the Suns should have secured and it was good to see them take care of business in comfortable fashion.
The game was fairly close in the first half, thanks the Wizards hitting outside jump shots. Some were contested, many were not, but it was fairly evident by comparing free throw attempts through the first two quarters which team was playing better, more aggressive basketball. The Suns got to the line for 20 free throw attempts thanks in large part to the pick and roll game between Steve Nash and Hakim Warrick. The Wizards were mostly settling for long-range jumpers and only took five free throws.
Suns Coach Alvin Gentry was pleased with this team's overall effort. "Good win, I thought we played well in the second half. They shot the ball well in the first half, especially (Andray) Blatche, I thought he made a lot of shots.
"We are willing to give up challenged jump shots then have our defense broken down and the ball drove to the basket."
The game was a perfect display of how the Suns want to score the ball. They ran the pick and roll and got enough easy dunk and fouls that the Wizards were forced to bring more defenders into the lane which opened things up for the three-point shooters.
"(Hakim Warrick) was huge for us tonight," said Suns guard Jason Richardson who finished with 21 points of his own. He kept on rolling down there in the paint and they didn't have an answer for him, so he actually got some open shots for myself, Channing (Frye), Jared (Dudley), Grant (Hill) by just rolling down there and Steve finding him and just opening up the floor for everybody."
Warrick finished with 26 points on 10-13 shooting along with six rebounds.
The game was also a display of Steve Nash's mastery. He was obviously feeling physically better and had no problem running rookie star John Wall all over the court. Nash easily rubbed Wall off screens and got wide open mid-range shots -- he hit all eight of his attempts for 20 points -- and when the defense did crowd him, Nash found his open teammates in position to score.
Nash's 17 assists and perfect shooting night was only the fifth time since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger that a player has accomplished that feat. Nash has done it twice now along with John Stockton (Feb. 1994), Mark Jackson (Mar. 1987), and Magic Johnson (Nov. 1983).
"It's tough, you always have to keep yourself connected to him. With what a great player he is, he knows all the tricks of the trade to keep you on your heels and find his teammates and make shots for himself. There's a whole lot you can learn from him when we sit down and watch film," John Wall said about the schooling he took at the hands of the master.
The Suns play next on Tuesday in Portland and then come back to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The Phoenix Suns will play host to John Wall and the Washington Wizards for an early Sunday game. The 6:00 p.m. local start time should come just after the Arizona Cardinals wrap up their home game against the St. Louis Rams giving Arizona sports fans plenty of options to watch bad teams.
The Wizards are winless on the road in nine tries and 6-12 overall on the season. The Cardinals, of course, are a 3-9 disaster this season. The bright spots for both games are the play of two visiting rookies, both number one picks in their respective sports. Sam Bradford has his Rams team playing better than they have in years, and John Wall at least makes the Wizards watchable. Sun's Coach Alvin Gentry enjoys watching the Wizards young point guard.
"Oh yea, I think he's terrific. One thing I think we have in this league if you look around, is an abundance of young point guards," Gentry said.
Wall will start for the Wizards with former Arizona Wildcat Gilbert Arenas bringing his $18 million contract off the bench. The two point guards do play together, however according to the stats site 82game.com, they have not been successful on the floor at the same time. In fact, the Wizards most used line up includes Wall along with Kirk Hinrich, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Al Thorton and is a minus 28 in point differential in 120 minutes of total floor time. The second most lineup swaps Arena for Wall with that same grouping of other players and is a plus 18 which makes them the Wizards highest rated unit.
The Suns could opt to play Goran Dragic more in tandem with Steve Nash to counter the Wizards two-point guard line up when Arenas and Wall are on the floor together, but Gentry didn't seem inclined to do that. He said the Suns have played against two ball handers before and won't let that change his rotations. While that makes it a challenge for the Suns to defend they also have distinct size differential with Jason Richardson or Josh Childress who can post up Wall or Arenas and have a rebounding advantage.
The problem for Washington of course, is that Wall is the future of the franchise and while he's an impressive talent already, his low field goal percentage (41.4 percent) and high turnover rate (18.2% of his plays result in a turnover) make it difficult for him to lead his young team to wins. That's not to say they aren't dangerous, at least according to Gentry.
"They're a young team with a young point guard but they are very, very talented and very, very dangerous. There's been so many games where they've been up but they just can't close out," Gentry said.
The Suns continue to start Earl Barron for defensive purposes. Gentry felt he took Roy Hibbert out of the game on Friday and so he gives the worst defensive team in the league a different look. Barron and Channing Frye will be matched up with Javale McGee and Andray Blatche.
Blatche is more of a low post threat but he can also shoot from range and also face up and attack off the bounce. McGee is an active player who rebound and loves to dunk lob passes from Wall. He doesn't have much of a low post game. Barron will probably start with the McGee assignment to try and counter the energy while Frye has the height and mobility to contest Blatche's mid-range game.
The game starts at 6:00 p.m. Arizona time (8:00 p.m ET) and will be broadcast locally on UPN My45. You can follow along via the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun as well.