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Suns open season with impressive win over Thunder

The following article is not real. It is our best guess
as to what would have happened had the NBA season actually
started on time, playing every game on the 2011-12 schedule. Clearly that’s not the
case, and every stat, quote or observation below never
actually happened. But without REAL NBA basketball to talk
about we needed something to stir our imaginations, so
please take a read and enjoy the Suns 2011-12 season —
sort of.

How’s that for an opener?

The Phoenix Suns, after an off-season that saw them
makeover nearly half the roster, opened their season with
a 114-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of a
sold out US Airways Center.

Led by newcomer Michael Redd’s 23, Phoenix’s balanced
attack proved to be too much for Kevin Durant, Russell
Westbrook and James Harden to overcome.

“I feel like we did a good job spreading the ball around
tonight, really showing what we can do,” Suns coach Alvin
Gentry said. “It’s a good start.”

Indeed, this looked more like the Suns teams that competed
for championships than the one that finished in the
lottery last season, with much of the success being
attributed to Redd.

“First off I’m just happy to be healthy and playing
basketball again,” said Redd, who has battled injuries and
played in just 61 games over the last three seasons. “But
this offense, man, it fits me so well.

“Steve just finds ways to get you the ball where you can
score.”

Yeah, that Steve Nash guy helps. He tallied 14 assists to
go along with his 12 points, looking much more healthy
than he did at the end of last season, which saw him
battling various injuries.

“The energy was great tonight for us,” he said. “We knew
Oklahoma City, after playing last night, would be a little
tired and we did a great job playing our style of
basketball.”

Of course, as Nash said, it’s worth noting that the
Thunder were probably a little tired, as they got into
Phoenix late after playing last night against the Lakers
in Los Angeles.

It showed, as Kevin Durant needed 27 shots to score 25
points, and Russell Westbrook needed 18 attempts for his
17.

But don’t let that cheapen what happened Wednesday night.
The Suns dropped 3 of 4 from the same Thunder team last
season who, by the way, made it to the Western Conference
Finals last season and are one of the favorites to win the
NBA title this year.

But for one night, at least, the Suns were the team that
should be feared across the West. A healthy Redd is one of
the best shooters in the league, Nash can still play at an
MVP-level and Marcin Gortat (15 points, 12 rebounds),
Jared Dudley (17 points, 5 rebounds) and the ageless Grant
Hill (11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) help round out one
of the deepest teams in the league.

So one game, one win. Only 81 more to go.

Suns Spotted

• Top Suns pick Markieff Morris entered the game in
the second quarter, playing a total of 12 minutes on the
night. He contributed 5 points and 4 rebounds in his
debut.

• Gentry said while he was pleased with his team’s
offense, the defense still needs work.