Johnson: Suns dim Wizards home run

Johnson: Suns dim Wizards home run
January 22, 2011, 2:36 am
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Friday, January 21, 2011, 9:30p.m.
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By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---It was just about an average night for the Phoenix Suns. Average for the Suns is actually exceptional for most NBA teams and the Wizards, despite a promising start, could not avoid an end to their four-game home winning streak in a 109-91 loss.Its the cruel reality of playing the Suns who average about 106 points per game. Not only can the Suns score but they have the veteran presence to persevere. After committing 14 turnovers in the first half the Suns, led by Steve Nashs passing and Channing Fryes scoring, left the Wizards searching for answers.Nash had 14 assists to go with his 17 points, but it was Frye who turned the game in the Suns direction. As the Wizards missed solid attempts on offense to start the second half, Frye barely missed at all as he scored 12 of his team-high 25 points in the third quarter when the Suns outscored the Wizards 31-18. We had to chase Steve Nash, and we had to help a lot tonight, said Wizards guard John Wall. Frye has a quick release and if you give too much help and he can get it off in a quick second. He made three-pointers contested and wide-open. At half-time the Wizards held a 53-53 lead but there were signs of trouble. The Suns ability to get to the free throw line, 10 of 12 in the second quarter, had tightened the game after the Wizards enjoyed the dream start with a 33-22 advantage in the first quarter.As the first quarter came to a close, fans were quick to their feet when Nick Young finished a fast break with a one-handed slam dunk. Youngs jam was triggered by a Kirk Hinrich steal and gave the Wizards that 33-22 lead with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.Indeed Verizon Center was jumping in that first quarter when Young had 11 off his 25 points to lead the Wizards. Wall had 9 of his 14 assists in the games first 12 minutes and extended his rookie record with 10 consecutive games with at least 9 assists.It was a different story in the second half. In short Frye did for the Suns what Young did for the Wizards in the first half. Young continues to mature as a player and recently played through the physical play of the Utah Jazzs Raja Bell. Against the Suns, Young only had 5 point in the second half when he was guarded by the Suns Grant Hill.He got very aggressive and chased him on all screens, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said of Hills defense.The Suns are a team that does struggle to get back on defense, but the Wizards struggled to find opportunities to run in the second half. As the Suns continued to make shots, they shot 53 percent from the field in the second half; the Wizards were left few opportunities in transition.If you cant make stops and cant run, it takes a little bit of Johns (Wall) effectiveness, Saunders added. If guys made shots he (Wall) probably would have ended up with 20 assists, but we missed layups, dunks and wide open shots.