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Some people loved them. Some hated them. Now that debate will be reignited as the Phoenix Suns announced Wednesday that the team will wear the all black retro uniforms from mid to late 90's for ten games this season.

SUNS GOING RETRO WITH BLACK UNIFORMS | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE PHOENIX SUNS
One of seven NBA teams chosen to go retro for select games this season, the Suns chose the popular jerseys with the large, bright sunburst across the chest that were worn for occasional road games from 1994-2000.

Here's a link to a photo gallery on Suns.com showing some more pics of the players wearing black.

The dates for the retro uniforms include seven home games and three on the road:

Jan. 30: Suns vs. Lakers
Feb. 10: Suns vs. Thunder
Feb. 12: Suns @ Lakers
Feb. 22: Suns vs. Celtics
Feb. 24: Suns vs. Spurs
Feb. 27: Suns @ Spurs
March 13: Suns @ Rockets
March 18: Suns vs. Lakers
March 24: Suns vs. Nets
March 30: Suns vs. Pacers

I've seen fans over the years ask for this. Now it's happening and I'm guessing the reaction will be mixed. Let's vote and find out!

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(photo Courtesy Suns.com)


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Do you like these retro black Suns uniforms?

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Suns-victory

As the inimitable Paul Coro puts it:

Suns defeat Grizzlies to end skid | Paul Coro | azcentral.com and Arizona Republic

Goran Dragic's inner fire stays lit, but it had been raging during a seven-game losing streak.

The Suns point guard said, "I feel like scum," after the streak started with the franchise's third-worst blowout ever in Detroit. The trip ended in Memphis with Dragic missing a possible game-cinching free throw and getting trapped on a potential game-winning play. And before the streak went to seven with Dragic watching in illness from home, he hit his tipping point when he missed an open layup to tie against Dallas.

When the mild-mannered point guard got to his locker after the Dallas loss last Thursday, he went Hulk and ripped his jersey off his body, splitting the "SU" from the "NS." Memphis did not like him when he was angry.

Gentry loved the defense, that Randolph did not score much in the game after getting 10 in the first few minutes after tipoff. It looked like a long night for the Suns, but they adjusted and Randolph only scored eight points the rest of the way.

The Suns even threw in some zone, which they had hardly used at all this season, and it was effective. The Grizzlies struggled to score in the final eight minutes of the first half (only 7 points after taking a 36-25 lead) with the Suns playing a lot of zone defense in that time.

Jared Dudley gave away a few secrets in his euphoria over the game.

"It was a big hack-fest out there. They weren't calling fouls for us, so we started fouling them."

Other notes from the win:

  • This was Goran Dragic's first ever game-winning shot. The shot came with .05 seconds left on the clock with Goran telling himself not to miss another gimme after juking Gasol out of his shoes on a drive to the basket.
  • Dudley (9), Brown (7), Dragic (5) and Beasley (6 in 10 minutes) combined for nearly as many rebounds by themselves as the Suns had in total on Sunday night against Orlando. They were active and aggressive on the boards against a really big team with Randolph and Gasol out there.
  • "They put a lot of pressure on us on our pick and roll. They started trapping on the sides and we weren't prepared to make the plays," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said after the game about the Suns swarming defensive effort.
  • The Suns overcame YET ANOTHER double digit deficit, marking their fifth win against 13 losses in those circumstances this season.
  • While this was the Suns first win against a team with a current winning record, it's the fourth victory this season over a team who had a winning record at the time of the game.
  • This was their third straight home win against the Grizzlies, each team winning on their home floor the last two seasons.
  • The Suns lead the league with SEVEN games decided by three points or less. They should be getting used to this by now.
  • Jared Dudley has scored 15+ points in consecutive games for the second time this season. Who says the Suns don't have a go-to scorer? LOL

Last but not least:

  • Speaking of Jared Dudley, he had a two-handed slam in the half court last night, knifing through defenders on the way to the hoop. I may be wrong, but I believe that's the first half-court dunk of his career. If anyone can find video of his dunk, post it here or email me with it.
PHOENIX — Things can change quickly in the NBA. Like the opening Goran Dragic thought he saw on the right side of the lane in the waning moments of Wednesday’s contest against the Memphis...

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Finally, the Suns made a game-winning shot. They'd missed time after time this young season, but FINALLY HIT ONE.

It was Goran Dragic making the dispy-do layup surrounded by three defenders.

"You know, the last time I missed the easy layup against Dallas so this time I told myself," Dragic said of the play. "You have to make that one."

YES! The seven game losing streak is OVER!

"Great win for us," Dragic said with relief after the game. "It feels great."

Alvin Gentry was relieved as well.

"It was a much-needed win, obviously for us," Gentry said postgame, with a smile on his face for the first time in weeks when talking about his team. "I thought our defense was really, really good."

The Suns forced 17 turnovers against the Grizzlies, good for 19 much-needed points. For the game, the Suns won the points-in-the-paint 42-38, 2nd chance points 16-12 and fast-break points 14-13. That effort negated a great Grizzlies defense that contributed to the Suns woeful shooting in the half-court.

In the critical last two minutes, the Suns had terrible offensive possession after terrible offensive possession while Rudy Gay made a huge, contested fallaway two-pointer to tie the game and then - somehow - missed the game winner under heavy defensive pressure.

With spirited defense and enlightened rebounding, the Suns had a 2-point win despite shooting only 38% on the night. Shannon Brown contributed heavily to that poor tally by making only 5 of 19 shots.

But the Grizzlies weren't doing much better.

"We were not running our plays," Grizzlies C Marc Gasol said after the game. "We are not moving the ball. There are a lot of reasons [we lost this game]."

Sound familiar?

Alvin Gentry talks constantly about ball movement. And when Shannon Brown went on one of this "frantic dribbling" runs, Gentry knew it was time to calm them down and run their sets.

But Brown wasn't all bad. He had 15 points and the Suns wing players showed up to rebound the ball tonight, a huge effort in a tight game. Dudley, Brown and Beasley combined for 22 rebounds, while Dragic grabbed 4 of his own.

Dudley scored 15 points to go along with his 9 hard-fought rebounds to be, in my opinion, the player of the game.

"It feels good, to be honest," Dudley said. "We lost every possible way you can: close games, blowouts, bad teams, good teams, different ways, different lineups, and sometimes you forget how to win."

...

"The way we lost to them in Memphis, to comeback, it shows you a little bit about the character of this team. For us, it's a good start."

Good start indeed. This the first Suns win of the season against a team currently sporting a winning record. And Memphis with a 14-4 record coming into tonight is definitely a good team to build confidence against.

The Suns started off the fourth quarter playing hard with the second unit but allowed the Grizzlies to score on more than half their possessions to keep the tenuous lead. Marc Gasol tried to play Zach Randolph but cooled off quickly. The Suns scrapped and clawed to keep the game within reach, trading 1-2 point leads through the first seven minutes of the fourth until most of the starters returned.

To start the second half, the Grizzly half-court defense came alive and forced the Suns into some ugly shots. But the Suns kept it close with good defense of their own resulting in THREE consecutive fast-break conversions (two by Dragic, one by Dudley) to take a 2-point lead after four minutes.

Dragic accounted for the first 11 Suns points of the second half to help the Suns take the 54-52 lead. But the game got to half-court again and the Suns offense struggled to find their footing. They scored only 2 points in the next 4 minutes. Combine that with a wake-up by Rudy Gay and you've got potential trouble. Even when they hustled and got second and third opportunities, the Suns could not convert.

But the Suns plugged away and played hard and kept the game within reach. With a minute left in the third, the Suns had made only 3 of 17 3-pointers - a low percentage even for them. Then Bassy hit a three to tie the game heading into the fourth.

---

First half notes:

It was not a good start for the Suns defense. Despite benching Michael Beasley and Markieff Morris, the Suns worst statistical defenders this season, the Suns only got one stop in the first 7 minutes of the game. By that time, the Grizzlies were up by 10 at 21-11. The Suns lacked energy, not something you'd expect in the opening minutes of a game trying to break a 7-game losing streak. Disheartening.

The Suns started to play a little better after that (or the Grizzlies lost some of their edge with the big lead and all) but still shot just 34% in the first quarter. It was fortunate they were only down 6 at 27-21, thanks to allowing only 6 more points to the Grizz in the last five minutes of the quarter.

Michael Beasley came in late in the first and missed just about everything from every distance. He took 11 shots in only ten minutes of play, making just two of them. But he played a bit of power forward for the first time all year, and pulled down 6 big rebounds in that span.

Maybe this is a sign of things to come? Frankly, if Beasley plays PF that means he is (a) guarding a bigger guy down low, (b) making Morris or Scola ride the bench. In this game, Morris came out totally flat so he wasn't missed in the minutes he wasn't on the court.

When the starters returned, for the most part, in the second quarter, they showed more hustle but did not have better results. Gortat got a big offensive rebound but then missed an open pick-and-roll layup. Dudley got a nice mismatch on Conley in the post but couldn't get the shot off before Conley fouled him. The Suns did not score. And when they finally got free throws, they missed.

But the Grizz had been lulled to sleep and the Suns kept themselves in the game by showing the hustle with which they should have started the game. Eventually, a couple layup and a three fell and the Suns found themselves within 3 points at halftime despite shooting 37% for the half.

(It could have only been a 1-point lead, but a missed fast-break layup, another Grizz offensive rebound on their own miss and then Dragic fouled the shooter with .3 left, who of course made both free throws. 4-point swing. Boom.)


Final - 12.12.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Memphis Grizzlies 27 19 17 17 80
Phoenix Suns 21 22 20 19 82

Complete Coverage >


For more, visit Straight Outta Vancouver

20121212_mjr_su5_013

It was close once again, just like the week before. Once again, Rudy Gay made the game-tying shot in the final minute. But then GORAN DRAGIC hit the dipsy-do layup for the WIN!! They were due.

The Grizzlies are a sterling 14-4 on the season and sit atop the West. But in their last three games, they needed overtime to beat the lowly Phoenix Suns, squeaked out a late win over the lowly New Orleans Hornets and lost by a wide margin to the Atlanta Hawks.

Yet, the Suns can only wish they had those troubles. Phoenix has lost seven consecutive games, kicked off by a horrific 40-point drubbing at the hands of the lowly Detroit Pistons two weeks ago. Since then, the Suns have found ways to lose every game.

Update: Another new lineup

Per Paul Coro, the Phoenix Suns are starting Luis Scola against Memphis tonight in place of Markieff Morris. Scola put up 16 and 8 last week, while Morris was manhandled. Good move.

Full Strength

At least tonight, they get back to full strength on the court (as strong as that is). Goran Dragic (19 and 7 with 2 steals against Memphis last week) and P.J. Tucker (4 and 6 in 23 minutes against Memphis) practiced fully yesterday, both reporting good news afterward.

Dragic said that he's regained one of the six pounds he'd lost during his illness (flu) and Tucker "felt good" after spraining an MCL ligament last Thursday night.

Sebastian Telfair has taken it easy in practice this week, but will also be ready to go against Memphis. The Suns really missed Dragic on Sunday against Orlando, so Alvin Gentry must be relieved to have his regular rotation back.

Ready to go

Alvin Gentry, after practice yesterday, was back to his reassuring self.

"We went through a tough time last year," he said. "We kept plugging away at it and we found a way to get it turned around. We'll do the same thing this year."

The Suns have not lost this many games in a row since the 90s, but they didn't start much better a season ago (8-14 last year vs. 7-15 this year after 22 games).

It should help that he got a vote of confidence from the team's managing partner, Robert Sarver, the other day. Sarver told several national news outlets that Gentry was safe for the whole season, that he wasn't expected to win immediately after turning over the roster. Okay, that kind of endorsement never goes bad.

And maybe defend a little? Never mind...

Our own Jason Feldman did some busy-work research by watching most of the Suns defensive plays during their losing streak, and came to the conclusion that the defense is a much bigger worry than the offense.

What is completely obvious by watching the Suns guard pick and roll plays is that they far too often get beat [or another way of more accurately stating it - far too few times do they get stops]. What is less obvious are the culprits for this ineptitude.

Many have pondered that our guards/wings have played inferior perimeter defense, allowing opposing guards/wings to light them up. After watching every PNR possession, that conclusion would be flat out wrong.

The main culprits for the defensive breakdowns are our bigs [more specifically the man guarding the picker] and to a lesser extent, the other players responsible for rotating [more on that later].

Go read the rest of this article. Really insightful work!

Or the Suns could just try to outscore them

Against the Grizzlies, that's no easy task. On the season, they score more than the Suns (98.2 vs. 97.8) and give up a lot less (91.2 vs. 103.1).

That 97.8 PPG for the Suns is even misleading. The Suns have failed to top 100 points in 7 consecutive games.

At least try to control the big man

And I am not talking about Marc Gasol. It's Zach Randolph who swallowed up the Suns in the last meeting, scoring 38 points (his best offensive game of the season, per Zach) and grabbing 22 rebounds. Every Suns big was made to look bad against this guy.

Build off last week's almost-win?

Can the Suns rely on last week's game tape to help them win this time? The Suns had a 16-point lead on the road against Memphis last week and only lost when Randolph went nuts on them.

Maybe the Suns will do even better this. Or, maybe the Grizzlies will be more ready for the Suns.

"We get a good look at them and see how they play us and it allows us to prepare for them a little bit better," [Mike Conley] said about the next three opponents, all of whom the Grizzlies have played this year.

Keys to the game

To win this game, the Suns would need a lot of things to break their way. They have to play focused, quality basketball for 48 straight minutes and someone has to step up in a big, big way.

Luis Scola said he was encouraged after the Memphis game last week, even though they lost. He had 16 points and 8 rebounds in 38 minutes of playing time. (by contrast, Gortat had 11 and 7 in 35 minutes, while Morris had only 6 and 2 in 15 bad minutes).

"If you had asked me yesterday," he said, after the subsequent loss on Thursday night to Dallas. "I would have been a lot more positive. We played well against Memphis."

The Suns need to do that again.

Fight. Claw. Scrap.

And maybe they will get another opportunity to hit the game-winning shot. On this losing streak, the Suns have had the opportunity to tie or take the lead in the final seconds of three of them, and missed every one.

Maybe the next time, the law of averages will begin to even out.

Keep the faith, Suns fans!

Grizzlies vs Suns coverage

Straight Outta Vancouver


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Rudy Gay 18 37.2 7.2 17.3 41.8 1.3 3.4 37.1 3.3 4.2 77.6 1.4 4.8 6.3 2.4 2.4 1.5 1.1 2.3 19.0
Zach Randolph 18 36.7 6.9 13.9 49.8 0.0 0.2 0.0 3.7 4.9 74.2 4.9 8.1 12.9 1.3 2.3 0.7 0.7 2.4 17.6
Marc Gasol 18 36.1 5.7 11.2 50.5 0.0 0.2 0.0 4.4 4.8 90.8 2.3 5.1 7.4 4.4 1.6 0.7 1.4 3.3 15.7
Mike Conley 17 34.6 4.9 10.6 45.9 1.7 3.8 44.6 2.9 3.5 81.7 0.6 2.4 2.9 6.3 3.1 2.6 0.2 2.2 14.4
Tony Allen 15 24.2 2.9 7.3 39.4 0.0 0.4 0.0 1.9 2.5 73.7 0.7 2.7 3.4 0.5 1.1 2.0 0.6 2.6 7.6
Quincy Pondexter 18 23.8 2.3 5.2 44.7 1.2 2.9 42.3 0.8 1.2 66.7 0.7 1.6 2.2 1.4 0.7 0.8 0.1 1.8 6.7
Jerryd Bayless 18 17.3 2.3 5.6 42.0 0.7 2.0 33.3 1.1 1.3 82.6 0.1 1.4 1.4 3.0 1.4 0.9 0.5 2.4 6.4
Marreese Speights 18 14.7 2.2 5.5 39.4 0.1 0.1 50.0 1.3 1.7 77.4 1.7 3.0 4.7 0.6 0.9 0.2 0.8 2.2 5.7
Darrell Arthur 7 14.4 2.6 5.6 46.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.9 0.7 1.6 0.6 0.9 0.3 0.6 2.1 5.3
Wayne Ellington 18 16.4 1.9 5.1 37.4 0.9 2.7 32.7 0.4 0.4 87.5 0.2 0.9 1.1 1.2 0.4 0.4 0.1 1.0 5.1
Hamed Haddadi 2 4.5 0.5 1.0 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0
Josh Selby 5 3.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.0 1.0 0.0
Tony Wroten 3 2.3 0.0 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.3 0.0




Here's Alvin talking about this game:


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