What Is With the Phoenix Suns?
I know it's only been a couple games into the season, but I have to ask: What is going on with the Phoenix Suns?
With a 7-3 record, the Suns are currently the two seed in the west, second only to Kobe Bryant and his Lakers. That means that teams like the New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and San Antonio Spurs are all below the Suns.
Before the season started, many "experts" picked the Suns to be on a crash course, with all those teams mentioned above placing higher than Phoenix. Coming into November, however, Phoenix had something else in mind.
Wednesday, October 29. NBA fans all over were turning on their TVs to watch the start of a new year. After the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix and San Antonio were getting ready to square off. I was extremely nervous, knowing that this would be a test the Suns would have to pass.
They did, with flying colors. The entire game, Phoenix outplayed the Spurs, but that has been the case quite a few times. We all know that the end result usually is a win for San Antonio, following a fourth quarter meltdown for the Suns.
This time, however, Phoenix wasn't going to have it, and held on, even outplaying their opponents, in the final 12 minutes of the game. Amare Stoudemire established himself as the go to man, pouring in 11 points as Kurt Thomas and Tim Duncan could only watch. Their defense was stellar, their toughness evident.
Their next game was a loss to New Orleans, and while the Hornets, Bulls, and Rockets have all beaten Phoenix, the season has gotten off to a good start, with solid wins against Portland and New Jersey.
Against Indiana, Stoudemire was spectacular, notching 49 points on over 80% shooting from the field to go along with 11 rebounds. Most of Phoenix's opponents have been fairly weak teams, but they have been impressive wins, with Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal all playing well.
It has been a balanced attack, with Raja Bell, Matt Barnes, and Robin Lopez defending and doing the dirty work, Leandro Barbosa scoring off the bench, Goran Dragic and Grant Hill running the show with Nash on the bench, and Boris Diaw doing a little of everything.
The next few games will truly test the Suns, as they are going to play Detroit, Utah, the LA Lakers and Portland in a six game stretch. I look forward to see how the Suns will respond, but based off their performance with San Antonio, I think it's likely that they will rise to the challenge and beat Portland, Utah, probably Detroit and maybe even the Lakers (not likely, but they can give them a good fight).
10 games in, Phoenix is looking exactly like I'd hoped, and I can only hope now that they continue to play as they have been.
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