The Suns’ youth movement has frequently included a pair of 30-somethings. Luis Scola, who turns 33 in 19 days, returned to the starting lineup for the past 10 games, including a 38-minute outing Tuesday night at Houston. Jermaine O’Neal, 34, entered Wednesday night having taken at least 10 shots in his previous four games off the bench. In Tuesday’s loss at Houston, O’Neal and Scola closed the game on the floor together as they often have. The potential game-winning play was drawn up for O’Neal, who got it blocked, setting up Scola for a potential winner that he missed. “We kind of just go with the guys who are playing well,” Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said. “Our young guys contributed really well throughout the game. Whoever’s playing well, you let them play. They root for each other.” Hunter said that he has felt the Suns needed O’Neal and Scola in the games at times for their steadying veteran influence, particularly on offense to bail the team out of extended ruts. “That’s important because you don’t want them to get in a situation where they’re trying to carry too much,” Hunter said. “You want them to learn and have as many positive things to build off than negative.” Scola and Markieff Morris are the only Suns to appear in every game this season. Hunter said Scola would not take a practice off so approaching him about resting for a game like Goran Dragic did was out of the quetion. Scola was shooting 58 percent and averaging 16.3 points over his past seven games entering Wednesday night. Like Phoenix, Dallas will likely miss the playoffs this season but entered the season holding onto veterans in hopes of getting there. While O’Neal and Scola are the Suns’ only players in their 30s, Dallas has six — and four start. Dirk Nowitzki,Chris Kaman,Shawn Marion and Mike James start for Dallas while fellow 30-somethings Vince Carter and Elton Brand come off the bench.
Lindsey Hunter goes with hot hand no matter age
Arizona Republic | Apr 11