I think the entire state of Arizona breathed a collective sigh of relief last night as the Phoenix Suns beat the San Antonio Spurs 94-87.
Yes it was just one game and it doesn’t mean the trade to bring in Shaquille O’Neal is now working. However, if the Suns lost it would have meant they would have lost three in a row for the first time all season and stopping the Spurs and Tim Duncan was the main reason they brought in the Big Cactus.
Shaq showed some bursts of energy and toughness that made most NBA experts think that the trade might work out for the Suns.
Shaq did his thing as usual, he scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but if you watch the game you will see that his biggest impact was how Duncan did not play his usual game against the Suns.
All night long Duncan was hesitant to stand under the basket and stayed outside for most of the game. Also, having Shaq in the middle meant that the Suns didn’t have to double team Duncan, which freed up the other four Suns on the court to play their man and not worry about rolling off to guard someone else.
However, this was just one game let's see how this works out if they play each other in the NBA playoffs.
Manu Ginobili, with a game-high 22 points, and Tony Parker, who scored 21, led the Spurs.
Tim Duncan put in 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, however Duncan was six of 19 shooting. Duncan was obviously not happy with his performance. “I had two turnovers and two missed lay ups down the stretch, we’re up five with three-something left — a situation where we usually play a lot better than that.”
Steve Nash led the Suns with 19 points and a game-high 14 assists.
Oh, and did you see the Big Cactus flying into the stands?