Earlier this season, Suns forward Grant Hill was dealing with being a reserve for the first time in his career. His time on the floor was crunched, and he tried to jam the same amount of production into it.
He hurried his game and got away from his ability to play off his co-stars, especially when he was on the floor with other reserves.
"My role on this team is, 'Take what's given,' " Hill said.
Hill does that as well as anyone in the NBA at his position. Hill and Cleveland's LeBron James were the only swingmen who entered Friday's games ranked in the top 30 in field-goal percentage. Hill and James were tied for 23rd overall at 50.8 percent entering Friday, with only power forwards and centers ahead of them, except for Boston point guard Rajon Rondo (51.5).
Hill is a career 48.4 percent shooter and is shooting over 50 percent for a third consecutive season. He has become more selective after several injury-plagued seasons.
"It really forced me to become more efficient and changed my role right then and there," Hill said. "That's helped. Now I get a lot of good looks, either layups in transition or open looks. I just try to take high-percentage shots. Sometimes I feel like I pass up shots. Maybe I should take more."
Hill's shooting has improved dramatically since his return to the starting lineup. He shot 42.5 percent as a reserve and made 2 of 12 3-pointers. In 17 starts, he had shot 56.3 percent from the field entering Friday and had made 11 of 28 3-pointers.
"Some days you might get six, seven shots, and some days you might get 14, 15," Hill said. "We have so many weapons on this team. If you're an opposing player, who do you focus on? I may go seven minutes without shooting, but I can still be out there being productive - rebounds, defense, assists - and when the time comes, I'll get my opportunities."
"Shaq (O'Neal), Amaré (Stoudemire) and Steve (Nash) and the attention they bring allows him to get wide-open shots and easy shots," coach Terry Porter said. "He also has very good shot selection. Grant isn't a guy who's just going to jack a shot for the sake of jacking one. Most of his shots are high-percentage shots."
Shaq on Lopez
O'Neal said the lower-back spasms that caused him to miss Wednesday's game resulted from practice.
"I got roughed up by Robin (Lopez) and Lightning Lou (Amundson) in practice," O'Neal said. "I told Robin, 'That stuff he's doing in practice is a foul,' and then he gets them right in the game."
Sure enough, Lopez picked up four fouls in five minutes of play Wednesday against Indiana.
"I told him you have to follow the rules as much as possible," O'Neal said. "You have to know who you're playing against. When you play against me in practice, it's bang, bang, bang. You can't bang (Indiana's Roy) Hibbert."
Friday was the start of 11 Suns games in an 18-day span.
• Nash and his Dallas counterpart, Jason Kidd, have the most career assists among active players.
• Amundson played his 27th game this season Friday. That is how many games the forward played in his first two NBA seasons.