The 6-2 Phoenix Suns looked to establish themselves against another Western Conference power Wednesday night in their match-up w/ the Houston Rockets. The Suns certainly got a handful from the Rockets, who seemed to attempt to "bully" Phoenix in a showing of dominance.
With several minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Matt Barnes set a hard (shoulder) screen on Rafer Alston, to which Alston responded by confronting Barnes at half-court. Chests up, fists cocked, but no punches thrown. Steve Nash attempted to come and split up the pair, but was shoved to the ground by Tracy McGrady. Shaquille O'Neal was quick to the rescue, however, pushing every Rockets player within site including both McGrady and Alston. Surprisingly, the Rockets' Ron Artest was not involved in the scuffle...good choice buddy.
It did not appear that any Suns players left the bench, so I would not expect any suspensions that route, but Shaq could get a game or two for his pushing & shoving. Since Matt Barnes and Alston did not throw any punches at each other, I would be surprised to see any kind of suspension - at most 1 game for each player. If Shaq is punished, the league would also need to put McGrady out one game, since he did virtually the same thing O'Neal did (just pushing).
Nash is a little dinged up after the game, due primarily to some rough picks and screens that he was unable to get through (or around).
Amare Stoudemire, Matt Barnes and Raja Bell all had a bad shooting night, which contributed mightily to the Rockets apparent dominance (and victory). Both Stoudemire and Barnes were 5-13 FG and finished w/ 11 pts. Amare also added 9 rebounds, but he seemed out of sorts on the night, turning the ball over 5 times as well. Raja shot 0-6 in the loss, while Nash finished 4-10. The team just didn't seem to have their "A" game at home on this night.
An interesting stat provided during the 4th quarter (4:29 remaining): 0 fast break points for the Suns (at home nonetheless)
Phoenix Suns exit their 9th game with a 6-3 record, which keeps them 2nd in the Pacific Division behind the Lakers.