More photos » Francis Specker - AP
Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash, right, shoots over Dallas Mavericks' Shawn Marion during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.(AP Photo/Francis Specker)
The fickle fans of a sports team. Get blown out by 51 points in a preseason game and the sky is falling. Beat a Mavericks team without their two best offensive player (and one of the best shooters the in the game) and all is right with the world.
Fortunately, the Phoenix Suns don't subscribe to that roller coaster approach to the (pre)season.
"I think we needed, not really a win -- to me I think we've got much bigger fish to fry than win a preseason game -- but I think we had to make steps in the right direction. I thought we made steps in the right direction, to me that was the biggest thing," Coach Gentry said.
One step in the right direction was not turning the ball over 32 times (as the Suns did against Toronto). In fact, the Suns only coughed it up 12 times while the improved Suns defense generated 22 Maverick fumbles.
Jason Richardson wasn't going to play in this game but said he felt fine and the doctors told him he couldn't do any additional damage by playing. We joked with him about wanting to represent his Michigan State Spartans on the same day they beat rival Michigan but he laughed that off and showed what kind of competitor he is.
"They said the worst I could do was agitate (my shoulder) a little bit. I was willing to take that risk because we have to get our chemistry going. The stars have to be on the floor, that's why we played a lot tonight. We've got to get used to playing with each other," Jason said, adding that he didn't hurt himself further in the game.
The unit Gentry had on the floor to finish the game didn't execute according to Gentry. He was OK with missed shots and understood that he had guys playing out of position but he was still looking for the Atkins, Janning, Dowdell, Clark, Lawal lineup to be in the right place and execute properly. They didn't.
Phoenix Suns Down Dallas Mavericks In Indian Wells Outdoor Game, 98-90 - SB Nation Arizona
It should go without saying, that defending the Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry is a much easier task, but credit is still due the second unit who showed a glimpse of being the kind of lock-down group their potential suggests.
Post game audio: