The Post Up: Dallas Dominates, Suns stop Bulls

By Holly MacKenzie

The big game last night was obviously the Spurs and Mavs. While I thought Dallas would win, I did not think they would roll over San Antonio like they did in the first half. The Spurs just came out flat and stayed that way, with the exception of Duncan and Manu and then Brent Barry in the second half. Josh Howard looks like the game is coming so easily to him and Dallas is dangerous when they come out strong on both ends which is how they opened the game last night. On a totally non-basketball related note, Avery Johnson is by far the best dresser of any coach on the sidelines of any basketball game.

The Phoenix/Chicago game was surprising because I really thought the Bulls were going to get blown out. Hill played well for the Suns (which makes me very, very happy), and Diaw gave good minutes in the 4th when Amare was in foul trouble. I was loving the six blocks by Amare though, he is just so fun to watch. The game was the first of six on this road trip for Chicago. At the rate they are going any road trip has got to be better than playing at home and hearing the “Kobe” chants.

Tonight we have a full line up on tap. I am looking forward to the LA/Detroit, Utah/Cleveland, Miami/Boston and New Jersey/Orlando match ups. Lets see if Rashard Lewis can keep up the strong play. I hope LeBron can pull out another huge game like the one on Wednesday night. I also want to see Wade in his second game back for the Heat and who can turn down a chance to watch the Boston trio play? Not this girl.

Dallas 105 San Antonio 92

After losing out in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Dallas Mavericks are on a mission this year to prove their critics wrong. What better way to do so than to come out strong and grab a win against the defending champions? The Mavericks came out running and jumped on the Spurs in the 1st quarter, leading 33-18 after one. At the half that lead had stretched to 19, with Dallas up 59-40. The Mavericks shot 51.3% in the half, blowing the Spurs defense out of the water. On his way to a big night, Josh Howard had 18 points at the break in a game which saw the Mavericks lead by 10 or more for the entire 2nd half, after having that 19-point half-time advantage. While San Antonio was able to tighten up their defense in the 2nd half, it was too late. Dallas had offensive contributions from all over the board but, it was a different story for San Antonio. Beyond starter Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who came off of the bench, the Spurs struggled mightily. Five players scored in double-figures for the Mavericks while the Spurs got a 24-point performance from Duncan and the rest of the starters combined for only 15 points. Tony Parker shot only 1-11 for the game while Michael Finley was scoreless, going 0-6 from the floor. Manu Ginobili led the way for San Antonio with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. For the Maverick’s Josh Howard led with 23 points while Devin Harris won the point guard battle with Parker by scoring 18 in the contest. Dirk Nowitzki collected 17 points 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for the Mavs who also got 18 points off of the bench from Jason Terry.

Phoenix 112 Chicago 102

While the Chicago Bulls have been anything but impressive so far this season, their effort against the Suns showed flashes of a team far better than how they have started this year. Although they lost their sixth game of the season, they gave the Suns a run and most importantly, had four players reach double-figures as finally they appeared to have an offensive breakthrough. On the Phoenix side of things, the offense is coming, but is still not quite up to par. Luckily for both teams, the season is still very young with lots of time to improve. While the Suns led 56-46 at the half, the Bulls came out strong in the 3rd as they rallied back from a 14-point deficit, outscoring the Suns 29-19 in the quarter as they used an 11-1 run to tie the game with 21 seconds remaining in the 3rd. The Bulls took the lead to start the fourth, and there were four lead changes before the Suns took control for good, 88-85 with 7:28 remaining in the game. The Suns were just too strong down the stretch with Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw coming up big in the final minutes to help the Suns outscore Chicago 37-27 in the final period. While Amare Stoudemire continues to work his way back into playing full minutes, it was his foul trouble rather than conditioning problems that kept him on the bench in the 4th last night. Stoudemire picked up four fouls in under four minutes of play early in the final quarter. In his 26 minutes, he scored 14 points, and had a game-high 6 blocks. Leandro Barbosa had a game-high 25 points and Grant Hill had another great night for Phoenix with 24 points on 9-14 field goals. Marion had 21 and 9 while Nash contributed a double-double with 10 points and 15 assists. For Chicago, Ben Gordon scored 24 points and Luol Deng had 23 points and 9 boards. Andres Nocioni had 18 points and Kirk Hinrich added 17 in the loss. While the Bulls were 5-16 (31.2%), from the three-point line, Phoenix shot 10-24 (41.7%). The loss lowered Chicago to 1-6 on the season, while it boosted the Suns to 7-2.