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Death from above: Suns scorch Timberwolves 128-122

photo by shortwaverockin

Be honest. You weren’t watching the first quarter. Not when the Knicks and Celitcs were deeply engaged in what has been the game of this young season. Who could turn their attention elsewhere while Amar’e Stoudemire bounded and astounded his way through, around and over our beloved K.G.?

Sorry, not this guy. That’s what DVR’s are for.

With minutes left in lower Manhattan’s celebration of their not so triumphant return to relevancy, the Garden faithful erupted into that ubiquitous three syllable chant every athlete longs to hear. Surprisingly enough, he actually deserved it.

At this point we’re all familiar with Stoudemire’s repertoire: his increasingly potent face-ups, nimble drives and those oh so contemptuous assaults on the rim, but it’s been the willingness to address his foibles that has catapulted him into MVP status. A newfound defensive aggression, determination on the glass and eager embrace of accountability have seemingly transformed him into an actual leader. What was previously an underwhelming collection of spare parts are now thriving alongside their $100 million man, most notably fellow signee Raymond Felton, who is walking with the unshakable confidence of knowing the neighborhood bully is his big brother.

As much as the Lakers and Celtics dominance is a hallmark of the NBA, nothing bodes better for the league’s future than the return of it’s flagship franchise. So enjoy it Spike. You’ve certainly earned it.

Anyway, let’s get back to our other contest.

With Amar’e’s absence, we were facing a relatively favorable matchup with Phoenix, mired in a three game losing streak after their signature stroke from beyond the arc had all but deserted them. Couple that with their undersized front line and the league’s top rebounding team should’ve been licking their chops. Or fangs. Whatever. Given both squads lackadaisical defense, blistering pace and propensity to shoot the three, some would say that Minnesota and Phoenix bear a striking resemblance, making this an opportunity to measure ourselves against a kindred spirit . If it weren’t for that pesky issue of production, they might be right. The Wolves have recently tightened up their sloppy play to become the league’s 21st most efficient team. The Suns however, are second. And the difference lies beneath the greasy hair and spry fingertips of Amar’e’s former benefactor.

STAT or not, Steve Nash is still Steve Nash.

As he always does, last week our friend Ben eloquently stated the responsibilities of the modern point guard. Nash is entirely postmodern. In a game of angles, actions and reactions, he has an uncanny ability to anticipate them all to the point of symbiosis not only with his teammates, but the ball itself. Thirty foot bounce passes skip with just the right trajectory, alley oops are mid flight before the defender or recipient realize they’re available, behind the back passes render double teams useless and not once will a teammate have to strain himself in order to catch the ball. It’s nothing short of captivating. Always the right decision and always right in the hands, Steve Nash always delivers. There are but a handful of lead guards who can dominate a game with 19 assists alongside only four shots and the league’s preeminent hipster remains the cream of the crop.

Meanwhile, our rudderless ship coasted its way through another three quarters-and a good portion of the fourth-before another late lead was lost. The season’s narrative may suggest that it was due to a lack of offensive production, but on this night the Suns simply caught fire. Now whether it was an issue of strategy or execution is still unclear. The results were: 15-27 (55.6%!) from three, including five bombs that sparked a 19-4 run and sealed the game. So much for that dry spell. There were several perplexed looks and late rotations that led me to believe our pups were confounded by Phoenix’s ball movement, but regardless, such sharpshooting shouldn’t be expected. Even here. If the Suns miss a normal amount, perhaps their surprising edge on the boards (46-39) disappears and we take advantage of the extra possessions.

Or maybe that slippery little bastard takes five shots instead of four and breaks our hearts anyway. After all, that’s what MVP’s are for.

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0 thoughts on “Death from above: Suns scorch Timberwolves 128-122

  1. Ridnour and Brewer need to not play. The Wolves could sign some division 2 players that can make better decisions than these clowns. We were +16 with Flynn running the point and -22 with ridnour….oh and we lost by 6…do the math

  2. Me thinks you’re being a bit too harsh. If we’re going to look at +/-, we have to note Brewer’s +10 also. In the past few games he’s shut down the oppositions hot hand. Richardson had 20+ first half points and only scored 5 in the second after Rambis sicked Corey on him. Same thing happened the previous night with Monta Ellis. He’s our best defender and I honestly hope we don’t let him go this year.

    And I’d like to bring Jonny along slowly. He may have won the +/- battle, but he played half as many minutes and I doubt his production would’ve doubled with more time.

  3. Brewer has been decent lately, moreso defensively than offensively (huge shock, I know.)

    Puke Ridnour, on the other hand, has been absolutely brutal. From his questionable shot selection to putrid defense, he’s basically useless out there. Flynn isn’t the answer, but at least Flynn looks better than he did last year (at least, his ball movement does.)

    Rubio can’t get here soon enough…

  4. There are certain NBA nicknames that write themselves. For example, Blake Griffin absolutely needs to be Blake “Smash” Griffin. I think Smash Griffin has a really nice ring to it.

    Similarly, I can’t watch Corey Brewer play without thinking that he should be Corey “Havoc” Brewer. The ambiguity of the nickname seems very appropriate.

    As for Luke Ridnour, the thing that comes to my mind is Luke “somebody’s cousin from Idaho” Ridnour, because he’s the only guy on the court who doesn’t look like a professional athlete, but could easily be someone’s cousin from Idaho that you meet at a Memorial Day cookout.

  5. I can take Brewers hustle and energy, but he shoots way too much (anyone disagree?) and you can always count on 2 bad offensive passes a game from him

    Ridnour has the worst shot selection. We lost the game when he went back in

  6. I’m happy he made 10 shots….but seriously don’t you think every single team is game planning saying “if Brewer shoots 18 shots we win” ?

  7. this post left me depressed on 2 levels – a poor defensive effort from the timberpups, and the loss of one of my favorite bands, Death From Above 1979. Sigh.

  8. Ah, then my work here is done, Matt.

    Guys, I understand the frustration with Brewer’s offense. Hell, I’m impressed with he manages to finish a layup without falling over. But I see no reason to part with our best energy guy and defensive stopper, especially now that Martell has shown he can provide the offensive efficiency Corey lacks.

    If we’re to become a team of specialists, so be it.

  9. I think the dire PG situation will be what folks point back to as the main reason their pre-season win total projection was overstated by about 15 wins.

    Another note, super Beas and K Love aren’t working defensively. I’m not sure what the solution is besides a big trade, but the point is worth making anyway.

  10. The problem with Brewer is Rambis has to tell him he can’t have a trigger finger, and have like a 9 shot limit. He lead our team in shots against the Suns!!!!!! If you are playing the Woles aren’t you joyful about this?

    With Love and Beasley I think you gotta let the season play out for 2 reasons….

    1. Lets see what Rambo can do…can he get too these guys defensively? I think he can, I actually don’t think Love has been that poor of a defender this season. Some matchups are tougher than others, but he has been able to stay in front of defenders and out of foul trouble. He just isn’t athletic enough to stop say Lamar Odom every play.

    2. Let’s see what the draft brings: If we get a Percy Jones….yeah a trade will probably be what works lol because Love, Beasley and Jones wouldn’t work….but if we get a Harrison Barnes then mabey the three can all play together. I dunno just a thought.

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