Take yourself back for a moment to when Taylor Griffin was still a Phoenix Suns and the Derek Anderson era was just a gleam in my eye. Yes, I'm taking you way back to those halcyon days of March of 2010. March 6, to be exact -- the day Danny Granger and his basketball playing pals from Indiana invaded US Airways Center.
On that day, you probably said to yourself, "The Pacers? Pfft. What possible problems would we have with those delightful scamps?" But you would have been wrong. Dead wrong.
The Suns came into the game having won 11 of their last 15 and were a strong candidate to roll the 20-42 Pacers, taking revenge for a 24-point blown lead in January, which was around the time the Suns had blown leads down to an art.
This game began like you'd expect a game between a good team and a bad team to go. Phoenix held a 12-point lead close to halftime and, though the game was tied on multiple occasions throughout the third quarter, it never really felt like Indiana could win the thing. Call it the calm before the storm.
With under a minute to go in the third quarter, Channing Frye and Earl Watson (he of causing Steve Nash's bloody lip in the January meeting) got into it and well ... I'll let the video do the talking after the jump.
As you can see, Frye and Watson had a cute little slap fight going, but it was Danny Granger coming to Watson's aide that escalated matters. J-Rich was displeased and appeared ready to do physical harm to Granger.
Once the melee settled down, the Suns settled in and closed the quarter with a 7-point lead. But ol' Mr. Granger was just getting started.
With the emotions of the game riding high, Granger hit an early fourth quarter jump shot and raised his index finger to his pursed lips to simulate a hush sound. That's right, friends, the bastard was hushing the crowd and Suns fans certainly weren't going to stand for this.
A chorus of Granger sucks (and enough hateful vitriol from one BSotS columnist to nearly get him thrown out of the arena ... whoever that was) rained down from the US Airways Center faithful for the remainder of the contest, one which the Suns won 113-105. Eat that, Indy.
Due to the Granger-hate, this seemingly innocuous March game with a non-conference opponent immediately turned into a playoff atmosphere. For my money, this was the most delightful in-arena regular season experience in all of last year (and I only missed two games).
Now, almost nine months later, the Pacers are coming back to Phoenix. Though Earl Watson may now be a member of the Utah Jazz, Danny Granger's stupid face still remains.
I, for one, hope the USAC crowd can summon up some of that hateful enthusiasm that was present last March. Boo Granger, chant that he sucks, just generally hate him. You know I will. I bet if we work hard enough, we can show Cleveland fans how anger is done.
If that isn't enough, you should know that last March wasn't the first time the 6'8 forward from New Mexico came into USAC and disrespected the Suns. He's also responsible for this during the 2008-2009 season:
What a jerk.
So consider this a call to arms, my Suns fan friends. Let's get some solid hate going for a team that we should not otherwise hate. You're going down, Indiana. Down to the ground.
If you need help getting angry, go ahead and listen to this. It'll help.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/03/10 12:54 PM MST ]
Since this has turned into the game preview, I'm gonna add some more preview stuff. Like this:
Phoenix Suns Host Hot Indiana Pacers, The Bitter Rivalry Continues At 7:00 P.M. AZT - SB Nation Arizona
The Suns will likely keep Earl Barron in the starting lineup to match up with Hibbert who is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game. That will let Channing Frye play against the bruising but shorter Josh McRoberts.
Barron grabbed four rebounds in 25 minutes in his first start with the Suns last night but his impact was felt on the overall team effort thanks in large part to his solid box outs of the opposing big man as can be seen below.
IC Cold Links: Pacers look to improve to 3-1 on their west coast trip against Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns - Indy Cornrows
This should definitely be a fun one to watch tonight, but can the Pacers continue their improved defense against an offensive heavyweight? Also, we need to watch the rebounding match up tonight....the Pacers struggled against the Jazz on the boards and need to get re-focused.
See, defense and rebounding aren't just curse worse in Phoenix.
Phoenix Suns' Earl Barron starts vs. Golden State Warriors
"I try not to reminisce, but I miss those guys," Amundson said. "I know I could do my thing there right now." Amundson has not played this season after fracturing his right-index finger during the preseason and having Oct. 18 surgery. He wants to return for his birthday Tuesday. "I don't want to put on a deadline on it, because then it seems like I'm not making progress," he said. "It's just getting better. It's just going to have to be something where I see how my legs feel and how my hand is. I'm shooting with my hand now, and that's progress."
Here's more examples of Barron's impact on the glass:
1) You can see that Biedrins has inside position on Barron right before the shot goes up.
2) But Earl out works Andris and gets inside and uses his length (Robin Lopez, please take note of the use of both hands when rebounding) and gets the ball.
3) On this one, you can see how well Barron is doing with his box out on Biedrins which allows Frye to easily get the ball. He's in a good low position so he can't be shoved in the back and his arms are wide to prevent Beidrins from going around him. Solid play.
Compared to this where Warrick has all the inside position in the world as the shot is going up from the far corner.
2) But completely ignores JR Smith streaking in to grab the ball.
I think Gentry is sending a message to Warrick that he needs to play hard on both ends of the floor if he wants to play at all. With Barron, there's a sacrifice on offense and I doubt he would play in the fourth quarter, but if he continues to bring this kind of energy and solid play on the glass he's going to be hard to get out of the rotation.
It's not always flashy, but the basics matter...and yes, so does size. And yes, I am well aware that's what she said.
Don't forget to post you photos from the game (or home or where ever) on our Facebook Page. We will select good one's and feature them and rain happiness down on your lives.
And if you haven't already, be sure to "Like" our Facebook page. It Likes you so it only seems fair.