PHOENIX - A few things you should know about Monday night's game in Phoenix:
- Steve Nash was three rebounds short of a triple double, recorded two steals and a block in just under 28 minutes of play.
- The Wizards shot 58% from the charity stripe and 25% from downtown.
- Channing Frye seems be my own personal Bloody Mary.
- Despite all this, there was a brief, shining moment early in the third quarter where the Wiz took the lead.
As Sean said last night, JaVale McGee was a bright spot. After a slow start, the Wizards pounded the ball into the low post on consecutive possessions and our Center came up huge to get the ball rolling...then we went away from him. After that, it was pretty much a catalogue of what we've come to expect.
Rashard Lewis chucked three-point shots barely hitting the rim, bouncing hard off the glass on the far side. There was one memorable sequence where he lost his defensive assignment and frantically searched for him before realizing his man was launching a three-pointer directly behind him. But the man kept his hands active and poked the ball away a few times, he's definitely not lying down out there.
Truth to tell, I had a foreboding. The Wiz put on a mini-dunk contest pre-game while the Suns were doing the bit from Pleasantville. Remember when the home team has everyone standing at the three-point line, everyone shoots simultaneously and nobody hits anything but the bottom of the net? Yeah...a foreboding.
There's an electricity in Phoenix when Channing Frye hits a three point shot early. Everybody in there knows that when Channing gets it going early, the Suns are all but unstoppable. Even so, the Wiz were right there through the first half, punching back. I showed up with a throat raw from sinus infection and screamed myself fully voiceless.
But to be honest, my recollection is fuzzy because the third quarter happened and I was traumatized. But I had been waiting for it. The Suns only finished with four more assists than the Wizards, but the ball movement was massively superior. Remember that first quarter against the Nets in the season opener? The Wiz were on the receiving end and one black hole of pain later, the game was out of reach. It was like the Suns turned the basketball into a laser reflected off a series of different mirrors and eventually the Wiz just watched the show, closing out a step too slow.
That entire stretch of disastrous time in the third quarter, I stared, wondering where the points were going to come from. Grant Hill had Nick Young on continuous lockdown and while the Wiz had scored plenty in the paint the Suns were contesting everything. I was horrified but not surprised as the Suns went on a 16-0 run.
There were other low lights...I remember cackling to myself in a stupor during the fourth quarter that at least Roger Mason, Jr. was making shots outside of practice. It was that bad. I remember watching Marcin Gortat waltz undefended into the paint. I remember the Suns answering a statement, contested alley-oop with one of their own. As much as the Wiz caught up, the Suns never let them initiate any real momentum. The feeling was that if the Suns went on a run the game was over, and that was exactly what happened. I haven't mentioned Steve Nash's name in particular, simply because Steve Nash is the Suns. Usually as he goes, so goes the team. I guess this is what it looks like when you can ride your franchise player into the sunset rather than having to blow the roster to kingdom come.
To wind the night up, someone stole my Wizards beanie as I went to leave. I rode the light rail forty minutes out of the city. Drove half an hour to pick up my son from my sister's, loaded his screaming butt into the car and drove half an hour home. Put him to bed after administering the medicine for his sinus infection and set down to sum up my feelings on tonight after shelling out two hundred and fifty bucks, all things considered. In the end, it was just that kind of night.