Well, what can you say about a game like this? There's little to take from it team-wise, other than we played pretty hard, barely turned the ball over, but allowed far too many shots at the rim in the halfcourt and ran a 7.5% field goal shooting deficit against the Suns. The Suns played their starters until the first half was done. Their playoff fate assured by Houston's win tonight, they went with the scrubs the second half. We couldn't eat into their lead much until late. Our bench players entered in the fourth quarter and closed the gap some, but not enough. Really the time for learning about the team is long past anyway, so we'll concentrate on the...
--Lamarcus Aldridge had a monster first half, matched against Amare Stoudemire. He played well on both ends of the court, blocking shots and scoring in the post and with jumpers. The life seemed to go out of his game a little when Phoenix put in their second unit. He finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
--Brandon Roy had a couple good plays, but appeared to take it easy again tonight. He had 9 points and barely registered on the rest of the boxscore. His season ended early this year.
--Channing Frye was ripping it up again early. He had a couple really impressive dunks. I like that semi-mean streak in him! I just wish we would have seen more of it earlier in the season. He's still not great in the post but he's added a little rim attack to his jumper, which makes him more dangerous. He had 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals.
--Jarrett Jack scored 10 points in 18 minutes before being ejected late in the first half for facing down Brian Skinner. Anyone who saw the game knows why. It was obviously because of Skinner's goatee, which is as Egyptian-long as ever, but is now 3/4 blonde...the worst NBA hair stylistic choice since former Cleveland Cavalier Drew Gooden decided to shave a female body part on the back of his head. If you watch the replay in slow motion and are good at lip-reading you can see the exchange:
Jack: Hey, wait a minute? Did you BLEACH that thing?!? Get it away from me. Awwww...dangit! It's ON now!
The referees' whistles blow and they step in to separate the two.
Steve Javie: Skinner! What the heck IS that thing? That's it! You're tossed! And Jack, it touched you, didn't it? Ewww...cooties! You're gone too!
Anyway it was a nice end-of-year streak for Jarrett. Like Channing you wish he could have found his rhythm sooner.
--Steve Blake finished the season with a whimper, shooting 1-8, 0-5 from distance, and scoring 2 points with 3 assists and 2 steals.
--Travis Outlaw had a big-time scoring run in the second half. He ended up with 24 points and 12 rebounds. He'll go home this summer happy with his season overall. This was just the exclamation point.
--Sergio Rodriguez played 20 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter. He ended up with 7 assists, including a nifty no-look that had everybody gaping, plus 7 points.
--Von Wafer played! He scored 7 himself.
--James Jones limped out of the season, hitting 1 of 4 shots for 3 points.
--Raef LaFrentz got 2 minutes in the first half to foul Shaq in.
And that's the season.
We'll talk more about overall impressions tomorrow but in general the season went very quickly which is a pretty good sign that it was a good one. Truth be told, covering the team through the last few years has been equal parts interest and chore. The year often dragged by. This year was different. This isn't my job, to be sure, but with the extent of the site now it's more than just a hobby. There were times when I walked home this year thinking how neat it was that part of my task in life was to cover these guys. They made it easy, and a joy.
On to summer!