Newsroom Notes: Suns Undone by Rockets Bench

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Feb. 9, 2012

Although the Suns fought hard Thursday, it’s hard to come away victorious when it’s 5-on-1.

Five Rockets reserves scored in double figures, while the Suns only had one second unit player do so as Phoenix dropped a 96-89 decision to visiting Houston.

On the night, the Rockets’ bench outscored the Suns’ bench 57-13. While the Suns had five players log more than 30 minutes, the Rockets only had one, Chase Budinger, surpass that mark. Besides the effectiveness of their second unit, the Rockets also outrebounded the Suns on the boards 44-31.

“Their bench played really well,” Nash said. “You have to hand it to them, but it was such a winnable game for us and we didn’t convert in so many areas, so it makes it a really disappointing loss.”

The loss spoiled a breakout game for Channing Frye, who scored a season-high 21 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown, to go along with his 10 rebounds. With Jared Dudley totaling 14 points, the Suns fell to 6-2 when Frye and JD both score in double figures.

For Frye, it was his third-straight contest that he reached double digits in scoring, displaying that silky-smooth touch that caused him to drill more three-pointers in the last two years than any other player in the NBA, save one.

“They established they were going to get on the glass early and I think we just didn’t execute down the stretch,” Frye said. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make every play and be perfect at the end, and we can’t do that. We have to make sure we are in a good rhythm and establish how we’re going to play in the first half.”

The Suns did mount an impressive comeback, falling behind as many as 14 before rallying to hold the lead with six minutes left in the game. But in the end, the Suns dropped to 10-2 when heading into the fourth period ahead.

All-Star Mettle

There’s nothing like an All-Star-reserve debate to get hoops fans engaged. It’s even better when the two players being argued about face each other within hours of the league’s announcement of All-Star reserves.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday when Suns point guard Steve Nash was named to his eighth All-Star Game and Houston’s Kyle Lowry was left home. During TNT’s pregame show that aired the announcement, studio analyst Charles Barkley stated that as much as he loves Nash, the Rockets playmaker should have received the nod over the two-time MVP.

Nash, who is leading the league in assists and is first among all guards in the league in field goal percentage at 38 years-old, showed why he deserved the honor Thursday.

The now eight-time All-Star racked up 14 points and 13 assists on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting, while Lowry tallied 14 points and two assists on 5-of-13 shooting.

Nash On All-Star Nod

“It’s such a huge honor to be there with the best players in the game,” he said. “I would never want to say that I don’t want to go or that I don’t make it. It’s a pleasure and honor to be recognized so any time you get a chance to experience that, it’s something you really have to enjoy and make the most of. “

As for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, which the league is sure to ask him to participate in, his passion isn't as strong.

“The skills competition is just like spring break,” he joked.

Visitors From the North

Many Suns fans are aware that Nash is one of the owners of the Vancouver Whitecaps, a professional soccer team in the MLS. What you may not know is that his team trains in Arizona during the MLS' preseason.

In fact, it’s the third-straight year that the Whitecaps have come to Casa Grande, Arizona. So after shootaround today, Nash visited with his friends in the soccer world.

A few of the club’s staff, who are in town for the week, made it over to the Suns’ facility today to pay their part-owner a visit. But because the Suns have been out of town nearly every day the Whitecaps have been in town, Nash won’t able to make it over to watch any of their practices.

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