Newsroom Notes: Suns Snap Skid, Top Warriors
Posted: March 18, 2011
Against the Warriors on Friday, the Suns showed who they can be when they are completely intact.
Before the Suns lost Steve Nash and Channing Frye to injuries, the Suns were one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 6-of-8 after the All-Star break. With their long-range bomber and star playmaker back in the lineup, they returned to solid form, storming to a 108-97 home victory.
In those two losses after the All-Star break, the Suns only fell to playoff teams Boston and Oklahoma City, both on the road. So after losing four straight without Frye and a hobbling Nash, the Suns showed how dangerous they can be when they’re clicking.
After dropping behind early, they uncorked a 17-2 first-quarter run to take control of the game and never looked back. The Suns controlled all aspects of the contest.
“We were playing good basketball when Steve was healthy,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “It’s when he started to struggle physically and when Channing got hurt that’s when he started to struggle as a team. With both of those guys healthy we’ve played really good basketball.”
They outscored the Warriors by 16 in the paint, held them to 42-percent shooting, forced them into nine more turnovers and led by as many as 20 in the contest. Steve Nash led the attack with 17 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, looking his best since developing pelvic instability issues. The two-time MVP nailed 5-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from downtown on the night.
“Chemistry is great but talent is what wins games,” Gentry said. “Steve is a very talented guy and we know that Channing is a very talented guy. When we have both of those guys in the lineup it also puts guys into roles that they’re comfortable with playing.”
Playing in front of 300 Polish fans that came from as far as Washington D.C., Marcin Gortat registered 18 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting. Grant Hill (17 points), Channing Frye (17 points and nine rebounds) and Vince Carter (10 points) were the only other Phoenix players in double figures on the night.
“We had a tough week and you sort of forget what the feeling of winning is like and how to get a win,” Hill said. “So, we came out with a sense of urgency and got the win. Now we have to go to L.A. and take care of business on Sunday.”
The Suns, who swept the season series against the Warriors for the first time since 2001-02 and knocked them off for their sixth consecutive time, visit the Clippers on Sunday.
When Channing Frye dislocated his shoulder on March 6 against the Thunder, he was supposed to miss at least 2-3 weeks. While many players allow discouragement to get the best of them, Frye used the setback as motivation to get back on the court quicker.
The Suns were 1-4 without their starting power forward, and 0-4 in the last four contests. Despite missing the last five games, Frye is still the team’s leader in three-point field goals and second on the squad in percentage.
During this four-game losing streak, the Suns were outscored by an average of 106.4-97.2, committing 15.8 turnovers a night and are allowing 47.2 points a night in the paint. The stats demonstrate how valuable Frye has been to the club recently.
Before the injury, Frye was averaging 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds on 53-percent shooting from the floor in his last 10 games. After missing his first three shots Friday, Frye drilled his first three-pointer.
Although he started slow, he posted 17 points and nine rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc in 30 minutes. He played the entire night with a very-visible shoulder brace.
“It’s not because of the standings,” Frye said. “Whether we were first or last, I’d still come out and play as soon as possible. I don’t like missing games.”
Frye said that he felt a little antsy, but his legs and shoulder felt fine.
“I ran enough (when he was out),” he said. “I felt like a marathon runner, they had me running so much.”
Gortat Receives Honor
Suns center Marcin Gortat was honored on behalf of the minister of foreign affairs of Poland before the Suns’ game against the Warriors on Friday. “The Polish Hammer,” who hails from Lodz, Poland, was being recognized for his contributions both on and off and as someone who represents the best of Poland.
The award was presented at center court by Robert Kupiecki, Poland’s ambassador to the United States, on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski. The award specifically recognized his work in promoting the sport of basketball among youth through camps since 2008.
"Marcin is a rising star in the NBA and is quickly becoming one of the heroes of the Phoenix Suns," the ambassador said. "As the Foreign Minister of Poland, Mr. Radoslaw Sikorski awarded Marcin this special diploma for the work that Marcin does for the promotion of Poland through his success and hard work, I decided to come to this environment of 20-plus-thousand people to present this award to Marcin."
Check out Suns.com early next week for more on this story...
Hill's Complete Response
Although we’ve already posted Grant Hill’s response to ESPN’s film “Fab Five” from The New York Times on Suns.com, it was later revealed that Hill’s editorial was trimmed for space purposes by the Times.
For the complete response, check out Hill’s response by clicking here.
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