So that’s how this Suns offense is supposed to work.
There still were 17 turnovers, but beyond that there wasn’t much to complain about as the Suns’ offense dominated all the way to a 125-110 victory over Milwaukee.
Shaq would not be denied with 35 high-percentage points down low, Nash directed the offense with a 19-10 evening, Amare went for 22 and six Suns scored in double figures on a night the squad shot 58.7 percent overall and 57.1 percent from long range.
Phoenix encountered some difficulties in the third, but otherwise the offense looked like the well-oiled machine Suns fans hope it becomes, with Nash leading a fast pace at times and dumping it into Shaq for high-percentage shots at other times, which happened often as the Suns scorched the net with 67 percent shooting in the first half while recording their two highest-scoring quarters of the year (36 in the first, 38 in the second).
“We got everything we wanted,” Suns head coach Terry Porter told reporters at his postgame presser. “We got the tempo we wanted, we got the opportunities with Shaq in the post. It was just a solid win.
“We’ve had two games in a row now where we were able to have the consistency we talked about as far as throwing the ball into Shaq. All in all I was really pleased with the effort as far as from start to finish.”
I don’t know what it is about the Bucks, but something about them makes Shaq Daddy feel young again. Maybe it’s the fact Andrew Bogut and crew can’t guard him, and both parties know it.
After Shaq went for 29 on 12-for-16 shooting to go with 11 boards on Nov. 8 in Milwaukee, the Shaqtus exploded for 35 on 14-for-19 shooting and eight rebounds this time around. The Daddy has not enjoyed such a prolific scoring day since March 6, 2006, against the Bobcats, and his two best games of this year have come against the Bucks.
“Teams that don’t double me will pay,” Shaq told FSArizona. “My guys were looking for me tonight. If I can ever get the opportunity to continue to take a lot of shots, these are the numbers I can put up.”
The best part about Shaq’s big day is that he took quality shots that were within the flow of the offense. That’s how you shoot better than 73 percent for the game, doing it the way Shaq always used to dominate teams in his heyday.
That’s also how Shaq played his best game in over two years, but the Suns’ offense still managed to play a quick pace by getting out and scoring in transition when it was available, be it Matt Barnes’ length of the court pass to Leandro Barbosa or Nash leading a fast break that ended with a Stoudemire flush.
This is exactly how the Suns must play to become one of the better teams in the Western Conference (which of course they haven’t been to this point in the season).
In theory, the Suns are still a pretty damn good basketball team offensively, regardless of where Mike D’Antoni is coaching.
They shoot better than anybody in the league (exactly 50 percent), have a beast in Shaq who can control the game down low, a stud in Amare who can dominate inside and out and a core of players who can play up-tempo basketball with Nash.
Of course, the fusing of those styles constitutes one reason why the Suns are worst in the NBA in turnovers at almost 17 per contest, but if they ever figure out how to mix their fast and slow games, the Suns’ offense against Milwaukee may yet be a tantalizing good sample of what’s to come.