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For the Suns, it's all about the resurgent Markieff Morris and his sore ass. Morris fell hard and said ass late in the game on (whenever the hell that game was) against the Bulls. Now, we all well know that Morris is a hardass from Philly so it's difficult to believe that a bruised ass would have him sitting on his butt watching this game.

Morris confirmed his reputation with this quote as transcribed by the unstoppable Paul Coro of the undeliverable (?) Arizona Republic:

"I'm just going to see how I feel when I work out," Morris said. "If I'm more than 70 percent, then I will for sure go. They can't hold me down. This ain't nothing."

That's the spirit! A hard fall on his ass is not going to keep Markieff Freakin Morris out of an important basketball game to see which of these two teams will hold on to third place in the division in mid-November! Must win, baby!

Besides, do we really want to see a full game of Luis Scola getting torched by Pau Gasol? Let me help you with that: NOPE.

In other injury news, the uninjured Jermaine O'Neal is ready to play after missing the last six games due to the illness and subsequent funeral of his aunt. Thoughts and prayers, JO!

The big fella is looking to assert himself offensively off the bench. He wants post touches -- something yours truly called for weeks ago when he was matched up against Carl "Tiny" Landry but was ignored in favor of Shannon Brown Mad Bombs.

On the Lakers front, their starting point guard and two-time MVP from British Columbia, Canada by way of Santa Clara, Phoenix, Dallas, and Phoenix, is out with a broken leg. You would think the training staff in Phoenix would have fixed that shit by now with some magic powder but sorry, Steve, you picked L.A. and so now you are subject to the laws of mortal medicine.

Mike D'Antoni is out (knee) and Steve Blake is questionable (abs) while Jordan Hill (back) and Kobe Bryant (who gives a fuck) are likely.

Follow us on twitter, you bitches and like our sorry asses on Facebook.

And remember, this is a family show so please keep your comments civil and avoid gratuitous use of bad fucking language.


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The Suns are looking to bounce back from a tough overtime loss at home against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night. What better way to do it than with an upset win against their arch nemesis, who also happens to be the new home of their former star point guard and head coach?

When: Tonight, 8:30 MST/10:30 EST

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Watch: FSNAZ (locally), NBA League Pass

Tonight, the 4-5 Phoenix Suns will take on the 3-5 Los Angeles Lakers on the road at the Staples Center. The Suns will attempt to bounce back from a hard-fought overtime loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, in order to get back to the .500 mark.

The Lakers will not be led by their new head coach (and former Suns' head coach) Mike D'Antoni. Mr. Pringles is coming off of knee surgery and already effectively ruled himself out of tonight's match-up when asked about his coaching debut..."Not Friday, I’m thinking Sunday." Instead, the Lakers will be coached by the 2-1 interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

The other familiar face in Laker Land, Steve Nash, will not be playing tonight as he is still recovering from a partially fractured fibula that he injured against Portland in the second game of the season.

Not only that, but back-up guard Steve Blake is also day-to-day with an abdominal injury. If Blake is out, third string rookie point guard Darius Morris will start in his place against the Suns. This could prove to be a significant advantage for Phoenix as Morris posted only 1 point, 1 assist, and 2 rebounds in his first start against San Antonio this past Tuesday.

The History:

  • This will be the 222nd meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 130-91.
  • The Suns have won two-straight games against the Lakers for the first time since the 2006-07 season (three-game win streak, March 4-April 13, 2007).
  • The home team won all four meetings in 2012-13.
  • The Lakers are 19-7 against the Suns all-time at Staples Center during the regular season and 8-2 in their last 10 regular season home games against Phoenix.
  • In 2010, the Suns and Lakers met for the third time in the last five postseasons after Phoenix eliminated Los Angeles in the first round of both the 2006 and 2007 NBA Playoffs. 2010 marked the 12th postseason meeting all-time between the Suns and Lakers, most of any playoff opponent for Phoenix.


By the Numbers:

2012-2013 OVERALL NBA RANKINGS PER GAME

Points:

Suns: 99.0 (8th) Lakers: 96.5 (19th)

Rebounds:

Suns 44.3 (8th): Lakers: 47.4 (3rd)

Assists:

Suns: 20.6 (20th) Lakers: 20.1 (24th)

Points Allowed:

Suns: 104.0 (29th) Lakers: 93.1 (10th)

Stats:

The Lakers:

Lakers_stats_medium

The Suns:

Suns_stats_medium

Keys to a Suns Victory:

Exploit their weakness:

This is a physically and mentally wounded Laker team who is in flux and searching for an identity. The Lakers will be without our their new head coach and starting point guard, and may be without their backup point guard as well. Goran Dragic has shown he is a very capable first option on offense, and this would be a perfect opportunity for him to be used as such. In addition, Dwight Howard is still not 100% after suffering a back injury and having surgery at the end of last season, and while Howard at 75% is still better than nearly every other center in the game, it does give Gortat the chance to use his agility and mobility around the rim to get off shots that he normally wouldn't dare attempt, and somewhat help him with rebounding as well.

Starts with "D":

Good things happen when the other team has to force bad shots and long passes. Unfortunately the Suns aren't in the habit of proving this theory correct as they are currently ranked 29th in the league in points allowed. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard are all superstars who can almost single-handedly decimate an opponent on any given night. The Suns are short on talent while long on hustle and fight...but they will need to devote more attention to playing solid, team defense throughout the entire game, not just the 4th quarter, if they are going to get out of LA with a win tonight.

Snake Charmer:

Although this applies above, the Black Mamba is in a different league all to himself. The Lakers are still Kobe's team, and they will go as far as he can take them. For the Suns (or any other team for that matter), there's no point in trying to stop Kobe, the best they can hope for is to contain him. If they can hold him to under 20 points tonight then the Suns have an excellent chance of winning the game.

Hot Wings?

Aside from Shannon Brown in the 4th quarter, the Suns have yet to get any consistent production from any of their wings. Jared Dudley has been almost non existent at times...and Michael Beasley, well, he's definitely made an impact, just not for the right team. As crazy as it may seem, the most consistently productive wing player per his minutes played so far has been P.J. Tucker, a free agent who wasn't even guaranteed to make the roster before training camp. While Tucker is certainly appreciated, he was never meant to be our best option during crunch time. As our own Dave King's article so eloquently pointed out, we need one of our starters to step up and get it done.

The Bottom Line:

The Suns are in a great position to steal a win away from one of the most talented teams in the league. Phoenix has already shown that they won't quit no matter what, and their energy and hustle has already won them some games in the 4th quarter they would have otherwise lost. This is the type of effort the Suns will need to bring tonight.

They aren't going to win in a blowout against the Lakers (although the reverse is possible). Instead, their only hope is to out-hustle, out-run, and eventually out-last them. The Suns also can't afford to fall substantially behind early to a team like LA, who can gain confidence and play more relaxed and effectively in such a situation. Phoenix needs to play with 100% effort and focus for 48 minutes tonight if they are going to escape LA with a victory.


Los Angeles Lakers 114, Phoenix Suns 102 PHOENIX — Steve Nash is injured and Mike D’Antoni won’t be making his coaching debut until Sunday, yet there still will be something strange...

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When: Tonight, 8:30 MST/10:30 EST

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Watch: FSNAZ (locally), NBA League Pass

Tonight, the 4-5 Phoenix Suns will take on the 3-5 Los Angeles Lakers on the road at the Staples Center. The Suns will attempt to bounce back from a hard-fought overtime loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, in order to get back to the .500 mark.

The Lakers will not be led by their new head coach (and former Suns' head coach) Mike D'Antoni. Mr. Pringles is coming off of knee surgery and already effectively ruled himself out of tonight's match-up when asked about his coaching debut..."Not Friday, I’m thinking Sunday." Instead, the Lakers will be coached by the 2-1 interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

The other familiar face in Laker Land, Steve Nash, will not be playing tonight as he is still recovering from a partially fractured fibula that he injured against Portland in the second game of the season.

Not only that, but back-up guard Steve Blake is also day-to-day with an abdominal injury. If Blake is out, third string rookie point guard Darius Morris will start in his place against the Suns. This could prove to be a significant advantage for Phoenix as Morris posted only 1 point, 1 assist, and 2 rebounds in his first start against San Antonio this past Tuesday.

The History:

  • This will be the 222nd meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 130-91.
  • The Suns have won two-straight games against the Lakers for the first time since the 2006-07 season (three-game win streak, March 4-April 13, 2007).
  • The home team won all four meetings in 2012-13.
  • The Lakers are 19-7 against the Suns all-time at Staples Center during the regular season and 8-2 in their last 10 regular season home games against Phoenix.
  • In 2010, the Suns and Lakers met for the third time in the last five postseasons after Phoenix eliminated Los Angeles in the first round of both the 2006 and 2007 NBA Playoffs. 2010 marked the 12th postseason meeting all-time between the Suns and Lakers, most of any playoff opponent for Phoenix.


By the Numbers:

2012-2013 OVERALL NBA RANKINGS PER GAME

Points:

Suns: 99.0 (8th) Lakers: 96.5 (19th)

Rebounds:

Suns 44.3 (8th): Lakers: 47.4 (3rd)

Assists:

Suns: 20.6 (20th) Lakers: 20.1 (24th)

Points Allowed:

Suns: 104.0 (29th) Lakers: 93.1 (10th)

Stats:

The Lakers:

Lakers_stats_medium

The Suns:

Suns_stats_medium

Keys to a Suns Victory:

Exploit their weakness:

This is a physically and mentally wounded Laker team who is in flux and searching for an identity. The Lakers will be without our their new head coach and starting point guard, and may be without their backup point guard as well. Goran Dragic has shown he is a very capable first option on offense, and this would be a perfect opportunity for him to be used as such. In addition, Dwight Howard is still not 100% after suffering a back injury and having surgery at the end of last season, and while Howard at 75% is still better than nearly every other center in the game, it does give Gortat the chance to use his agility and mobility around the rim to get off shots that he normally wouldn't dare attempt, and somewhat help him with rebounding as well.

Starts with "D":

Good things happen when the other team has to force bad shots and long passes. Unfortunately the Suns aren't in the habit of proving this theory correct as they are currently ranked 29th in the league in points allowed. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard are all superstars who can almost single-handedly decimate an opponent on any given night. The Suns are short on talent while long on hustle and fight...but they will need to devote more attention to playing solid, team defense throughout the entire game, not just the 4th quarter, if they are going to get out of LA with a win tonight.

Snake Charmer:

Although this applies above, the Black Mamba is in a different league all to himself. The Lakers are still Kobe's team, and they will go as far as he can take them. For the Suns (or any other team for that matter), there's no point in trying to stop Kobe, the best they can hope for is to contain him. If they can hold him to under 20 points tonight then the Suns have an excellent chance of winning the game.

Hot Wings?

Aside from Shannon Brown in the 4th quarter, the Suns have yet to get any consistent production from any of their wings. Jared Dudley has been almost non existent at times...and Michael Beasley, well, he's definitely made an impact, just not for the right team. As crazy as it may seem, the most consistently productive wing player per his minutes played so far has been P.J. Tucker, a free agent who wasn't even guaranteed to make the roster before training camp. While Tucker is certainly appreciated, he was never meant to be our best option during crunch time. As our own Dave King's article so eloquently pointed out, we need one of our starters to step up and get it done.

The Bottom Line:

The Suns are in a great position to steal a win away from one of the most talented teams in the league. Phoenix has already shown that they won't quit no matter what, and their energy and hustle has already won them some games in the 4th quarter they would have otherwise lost. This is the type of effort the Suns will need to bring tonight.

They aren't going to win in a blowout against the Lakers (although the reverse is possible). Instead, their only hope is to out-hustle, out-run, and eventually out-last them. The Suns also can't afford to fall substantially behind early to a team like LA, who can gain confidence and play more relaxed and effectively in such a situation. Phoenix needs to play with 100% effort and focus for 48 minutes tonight if they are going to escape LA with a victory.


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In some ways, I am envious of Mike D'Antoni's ability to keep getting the better and better gigs based on a three-year run of excitement and wonder with the mid-market Phoenix Suns.

And in other ways, I feel sorry for him.

First it happened in Phoenix. Then it happened on a bigger stage in New York with the rebuilding, then suddenly contending, Knicks.

Now, as if history won't repeat itself in the very land that glorifies and bases its entire economy on this concept, Mike D'Antoni is getting another chance to prove that his style can win a championship on the biggest stage of all.

Like the surprisingly popular book-turned-movie "The Hunger Games", Mike has been pulled out of the gutter, buffed, plucked and waxed by a host of media stylists, and trotted onto the stage to be introduced as the next great hope.

"Introducing... from District 12... the boy on fire... Mike D'Annnntoooonnniiiiii...!"

D'Antoni is being paraded around the city of lights, touted for his great skills, earning bandwagon fans from every corner of the globe, all while in the background skeptics are scheming and betting against him.

D'Antoni first came to Phoenix with the promise of a great offense that would overcome any defensive deficiencies simply by outscoring the opponent.

"If you've got the best team," he said when prompted this week. "Why wouldn't you play the most possessions that you can play defensively and offensively? Any time the possessions are cut down, then a bad call, a missed shot, you've got a chance to lose.

"But if we keep the possessions up here, to me we've got a lot better chance to win when we're playing a lot of reps."

Ask San Antonio and Dallas how that strategy works in the playoffs. Heck, ask Kobe even. Ultimately, the Suns lost in the playoffs each year to a team that could force the Suns to prove that theory. They slowed down the pace, or kept it fast and loose, but still knew that as long as the Suns didn't get more possessions than they did (which is mathematically impossible), games really DID come down to a bad call, a missed shot and a chance to lose 4 out of 7.

Asked if that was his problem, to be outcoached in those last few possessions of a tight game no matter how many total possessions there were, D'Antoni said:

"You're not going to outcoach other coaches. Everybody's too prepared. Everybody works too hard to think that I'm going to sit there and figure out something that they haven't figured out. You just don't do that.

"Players have to eventually be accountable and they have to be the ones to go win the game for you."

Suns fans recognize those comments by Mike D'Antoni. We lived and breathed them for several years, and lamented losses each year in the playoffs to "inferior" teams who got lucky or cheated their way to a series win. We said that defense doesn't matter as long you score better than the other team.

We believed in Mike, until eventually enough playoff losses caused us to question the methodology. At some point, we came around to the notion that, gee, it sure would be nice to focus at least a little bit on getting stops rather than the next scoring opportunity.

Mike's teams were always okay on defense, ranking between 13th and 21st in efficiency, while boasting the leagues most efficient offense. That wins a lot of regular season games, but doesn't help you beat great teams that are prepared for you and ready to outwork you.

Phoenix figured that out as they gave D'Antoni a long, long leash. Eventually, he left on his own in a huff within 24 hours of another heartbreaking playoff loss to the Spurs. He didn't want his GM telling him to tweak his philosophy - to add a defensive assistant to the staff.

So Mike left for a new, bigger stage - New York. Sure enough, the media there built him up for a couple of years while downplaying his lack of defensive mindset, only to tear him down when he was finally given the players to succeed but failed to do so.

"I left Steve once, and it didn't work out too well for me," he said this week with a light-hearted chuckle.

Again, D'Antoni left New York in a huff, resigning his position mid-season because it just so frustrating for him.

Two teams, two resignations when his teams came up short of expectations.

So where better to go than LA, owners of the highest expectations in the league and 18 NBA championships? Things couldn't possibly go wrong. Right?

"We're built to win this year," D'Antoni said Thursday. "This is not a project. We have a window and we're going to try and get through it."

Get through it he will, with four Hall of Famers in his starting lineup but arguably the league's most fragile contender and worst bench.

But that's not stopping national and LA media from blowing this up with expectations. As Ken Berger of cbssports.com puts it in a column yesterday after D'Antoni's press conference:

The more he explained what he believes in and how the talent-rich Lakers can thrive under his free-wheeling, player-driven style like no other team he's coached, the more his critics presumably slumped in their chairs.

...

If D'Antoni's debut on the court is anything close to as entertaining and informative as his debut in front of a microphone, then behold the return of the Showtime era in L.A.

Berger goes on to poo-poo "those who've bought the silly notion that D'Antoni can't win in the playoffs with a style built strictly around bringing out his players' talent."

Suddenly, D'Antoni is the golden child once again. He's ready to prove all of his critics wrong. Everyone loves him and loves his style. His reputation and coaching resume have been buffed, waxed and primped.

All I can say is this, Mike:

May the odds be ever in your favor.


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