Tonight at 7 PM EST, TNT will announce the starters for the 2011 All-Star Game. A quick glance at the most-recent vote totals paints a pretty clear picture – the starting lineup for the Western Conference will definitely not include any Suns. And really, that makes sense. As well as Steve Nash is playing on the year – he’s posting near-career-highs in both points (18.9) and assists (12.0) per 36 minutes on the year* – it’s nigh impossible to make a case for him getting the nod over Deron Williams or Chris Paul.
*How ridiculous is it that Nash creates at least 43 points per game, not accounting for all of the 3-pointers on which he assists?
Unfortunately, the logjam at forward in the Western Conference will most likely leave no room for Steve on the reserve roster. For the first time since the Second Coming of Nash to the Valley in 2004, Phoenix will be without an All-Star Game representative. Honestly, though, that’s okay – the Suns will need all of the rest and regrouping that they can get if they hope to make a push to the playoffs in the second half of the season.
Thoughts after Phoenix’ 114-107 loss to the Bobcats
1. Alvin Gentry continues to search for his best rotation, particularly at the pivot. Robin Lopez once again got the start, but he played only 15 minutes and, as a result, was once again out-rebounded on the night by Steve Nash. Since New Year’s, Lopez has only gathered more ballboards than his starting point guard once.
Marcin Gortat was on the floor for 29 minutes, but Gentry – for the second straight night – experimented with a smaller lineup for much of the night, with Channing Frye manning the pivot and Jared Dudley getting some burn with the rest of the starting lineup. Gortat and Dudley were the third- and fourth-highest scoring Suns on the night, respectively.
2. You’ve gotta watch out for those fast zombies. The day after our scientific inquiry into the zombie-like state of Vince Carter, he took a step out of the grave and shot 8-for-17 on the night on his way to 22 points. More importantly, Vince kept the Suns in the game in the second quarter as the Bobcats tried to pull away by draining three straight 3s in the last three minutes of the half.
3. Steve Nash is incredible. Nash assisted on all three of Vince’s bombs in the second quarter; on the night, Steve led all scorers with 27 points (on 11-for-15 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from long distance) and dished out 15 dimes – 8 of which came on Suns’ threes. All told, Nash was involved in 65 of the Suns’ 107 points on the night.