Suns' Defense (Yes, Defense) Leads to Game 2 Victory
It's not that often that the Phoenix Suns can attribute a victory to the defense they played on the opposition, but Tuesday night's Game 2 win over the San Antonio Spurs definitely goes to the defense. Not only did the Suns put a stop to the red-hot Tony Parker, they also limited the Spurs' other offensive weapons; Ginobili, Finley and Bowen.
Final score: 101-81
Kurt Thomas got the starting nod, as D'Antoni wanted to focus on defending Tim Duncan one-on-one. The Suns tried doubling Duncan in Game 1, but it wasn't very effective and the other players benefited from the wandering defensive man. Playing one-on-one, Thomas was extremely effective in allowing the other Suns defenders to stay on their man and limit the good outside shots that were available. It also allowed them to close the gaps more easily whenever Parker or Ginobili penetrated the lane. Duncan had his strongest game in several years, finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but no other Spurs player scored more than 13 points.
Steve Nash returned to the lineup, despite requiring stitches in his nose from a collision in the previous game. His return was also key to the Suns victory - he finished w/ 20 pts and 16 assists. Also back on track were Amare Stoudemire (27 pts & 9 rbs) and Raja Bell (18 pts), who both struggled in the Game 1 loss.
And last, but certainly not least, the defensive efforts of Shawn Marion should not be overlooked. Assigned to guard Parker for most of the night, Marion was very effective in limiting open looks and preventing Tony from driving to the basket. The box score certainly doesn't show how good of a game Marion played (5 pts & 10 rbs), but the coach told him not to worry about scoring and that's exactly what he did.
Full box score from Suns/Spurs Game 2
The Suns/Spurs will not play again until Saturday, which should allow everyone to rest up and be ready for a big showdown in San Antonio for Game 3.Watch highlights of the Suns/Spurs game on 5/8/07
More Suns analysis around the blogosphere:
Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs - Game 2
Suns Rout Spurs, Even Series at 1-1