Previous week’s games
12/25/09 SUNS 124, Clippers 93
12/26/09 Warriors 132, SUNS 127
12/28/09 SUNS 118, Lakers 103
12/30/09 SUNS 116, Celtics 98
Next week’s games
01/02/10 SUNS vs Grizzlies, 7 p.m., My45
01/05/10 SUNS @ Kings, 8 p.m., My45
01/06/10 SUNS vs Rockets, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
This past Saturday, after the Suns lost a game they definitely should have won against the lowly Golden State Warriors, most Suns fans wanted to jump off the Chase building. Today, Suns fans are singing a different tune. Funny how much things can change in less than a week.
After a rough first 27 days of December in which the Suns let some games get away, Phoenix finished the month off with two of its most impressive wins of the season.
The Suns got the ball rolling on Monday when they stomped the heavily hated LA Lakers. A few weeks ago, Suns Spot took a look at what it means to beat the Spurs. Beating the Lakers is about a hundred times better. I can honestly say without a doubt, there is nothing I hate more in this world the Lakers. Everything about them — their stupid jerseys, their horrible “fans,” their name — is horrible. There’s not even any lakes in LA! (Yes, I realize they moved from Minnesota back in the day and the name fit there, but they should have changed it).
After the trashing the Suns gave the Lakers, they laid a beat-down on the boys from Beantown, as they defeated the Celtics on Wednesday at the Purple Palace. So what if Boston was a little banged up? (OK, a lot banged up.) They’re still a top-notch team, and the Suns pushed them around (and let’s not forget, the Suns did dominate a healthy Celtics squad earlier this year in Boston).
More important than the wins the Suns got over these two teams is how they got them. They came out with tons of energy in both games and active hands on the defensive end. Despite being undersized in both games, the Suns battled on the boards. On Monday, Phoenix kept pace with the league leaders in rebounds by finishing the game even at 43 boards apiece. Against Boston on Wednesday they actually controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Celtics 42-38. The effort on the defensive side clearly showed against Boston, as the Suns came up with nine steals, seven blocks and forced Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace to shoot a combined 7-24 from the field, and 1-9 from long range.
The bench continued its solid play in these two games, especially in the Lakers contest. Robin Lopez got his first significant minutes in a meaningful game and really impressed, actually leading the Suns in scoring at the end of the first and causing problems for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. In the Boston victory, it was Leandro Barbosa who stepped up big, looking to be back in form after the ankle injury as he chipped in 17 points, four assists, four steals and two rebounds.
I expect to see more play like this from the Suns over the rest of the season as opposed to the play we saw at the beginning of the month. They have to. They’ve already shown us that when the effort is there they can compete with the best of them, so there aren’t any excuses from here on out. Hopefully, the Suns themselves realize the same thing I noticed from these last two games. Either way, at least these last two games were nice way to close out the decade.