|Hakim Warrick: The new guy scores 18 off the bench for the Suns.|
Of course, that sense of doom regarding the 2010-11 season that pervaded Suns Nation after the team's Tuesday's opening-night drubbing in Portland was a bit premature. On Thursday, the Phoenix Suns bounced back to beat the Utah Jazz handily, 110-94, in Salt Lake City. Sure, one sort-of upset doesn't mean all will right with the Suns this season, but hitting the panic button after starting out 0-1 just seemed a big ridiculous.
This is a team that is still trying to figure out how to play without the longtime presence of Amar'e Stoudemire, and it's going to take a while (maybe as many as 30 games) before we see what this team really is. World-beaters? Probably not. But cellar dwellers? Hardly.
Steve Nash picked up where he left off in 2009-10, scoring 18 points and handing out five assists. Vintage Nash. As long as he is healthy and productive, the Suns will never be terrible. That's how good he is. New guy Hakim Warrick, essentially filling the power forward role vacated by Stoudemire, also scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action.
After the game, Nash said of Warrick, "He did a lot of little things that matter. But he also scored, and when he can do that, it makes us a better team.
The seemingly ageless Grant Hill led the team with 12 rebounds and played 29 minutes. Jason Richardson added 16 points, Hedo Turkoglu scored 13, and Goran Dragic chipped in 11 off the bench. As he did last year, coach Alvin Gentry used his bench liberally, with four of the five reserves who played logging 19 or minutes each.
Tonight, the Suns will try to go to 2-1 on the season when they host the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. TV: ESPN and Fox Sports Arizona. More info: www.suns.com