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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:


Charlie_brown_suns_ii

This week's version has two parts.

The first consists of a review of the games from the previous week, discussion on current events such as Gentry's "vote of confidence" and the "toxic" nature of Michael Beasley (or not), and a look ahead at the games for the upcoming week.

The second is a game of "win, lose or draw", where Kris and I discuss where the Suns rank among the skid row teams in the league.

Both run about 25 minutes. The first is more current event oriented while the second is a morbid playful excursus. We decided to break it up this way to let you choose what you would like to listen to without being subjugated to 50 straight minutes of my inane ramblings.

I still haven't picked a name or logo. I'm a sluggard. I guess if Pelicans has actually been given serious consideration it would be an impressive feat to step under that bar... Does anybody have any ideas?

Podcast #2 Part One

Podcast #2 Part Two

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In all of NBA history, there were just 349 players to wear the number 12. Ironically (or perhaps irony isn't the right word for this kind of spooky thing!) TWELVE Suns players wore the number 12 in their career!!

12 out of 349 is 3.4% which is almost exactly proportional to the Suns being one out of 30 teams (of course the league didn't always have 30 teams but don't ruin my karma, dude).

The list includes a present player who's continue presence in the NBA is anything but a sure thing. It includes one famous-ish Suns player. And it includes one of the great coaches and executive in NBA history who happened to also play in Phoenix. There's also some other dudes you've never heard of.

Here's the list via basketball-reference.

  1. Ed Biedenbach (1969)
  2. Pat Riley (1976)
  3. Ted McClain (1979)
  4. Johnny High (1980)
  5. Rafael Addison (1987)
  6. Winston Crite (1988-1989)
  7. Richard Dumas (1995)
  8. Toby Bailey (1999-2000)
  9. Howard Eisley (2004)
  10. Andre Barrett (2006)
  11. Mickael Pietrus (2011)
  12. Kendall Marshall (2013)
Phoenix Suns 82, Memphis Grizzlies 80 Seven losses in a row. Chemistry troubles. A loss to the very same, very good Memphis Grizzlies team last Tuesday. The Phoenix Suns get another go at Memphis,...

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When the Los Angeles Lakers followed their Steve Nash heist with the addition of the best center in the NBA (not named Lopez or Bynum), we all felt sad. We hate the Lakers. We hate all their damn banners and rings. We hate their best player. We hate how entitled their fans have become given how many titles their team has won. Mostly though, we hate losing to the Lakers which has happened 131 times (vs 91 wins) in my lifetime.

Now here we site about a quarter of the way through the season and the Suns are sniffing the Western Conference cellar and yet are just a couple of Dwight Howard bricked free throws behind the "Lake Show". What a show indeed.

Steve Nash has played a total of 50 ineffective minutes in two games and is weeks away from returning from a broken leg type issue. Pau Gasol either forgot to wear big boy pants or has a handful of sore knees or both. He's a non-factor outside the trade rumor circuit. Steve Blake is out with his 732nd abdominal injury.

Even better, Antwan Jamison, the worst defender in the league (Michael Beasley excluded) is playing 25 minutes plus. This is a guy who was HORRIBLE last year in Cleveland and now he, along with NBA vagabonds Jordan Hill, Chris Duhon and Jody Meeks are playing big and meaningful minute. Also, Meta World Peace is still there and soon may not be the craziest person on his team if Delonte West is signed. Somewhere, perhaps in Croatia, Smush Parker is laughing his ass off.

It's a fun time to be a Laker Hater.

But there's some lessons here for Suns fans. It's not easy to win in the NBA. Learning a new system and incorporating new players can be difficult. Chemistry matters and you have to be patient.

Just kidding. There's no lessons in the Lakers struggles.

It's just pure joy which, unfortunately, won't last forever. In the mean time, if the Lakers stay in the lottery hunt, the Suns are in line to get two top-14 picks so in this case, rooting against the Lakers is actually a way to root for the Suns! I think that's called kismet.

D'Antoni Meltdown

Before we return to talking about just how horrific the Suns defense really is and if Beasley has played his last game for his third team, a quick word about Mike D'Antoni's public meltdown that's getting plenty of airtime today.

If you've not seen it yet, here it is.

When I first saw this Tuesday night, obviously I laughed and cheered. But then it became clear that Mike was responding to professional troll, T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times and I actually felt sympathy for the Mustache Man.

Simers, who likely traveled to Cleveland where he knew there would be fewer media members around to interfere with his clown act, baited Mike into that response. This is what Simers does. He did it recently to UCLA coach Jim Mora. I've been in the room several times when he pulled this crap, including this time with Kirk Gibson. I hardly think this was Mike's first encounter with this jerk.

The dude is an ass who wants only to insert himself in the story. He's a disgrace to professional media members and should never be given a press credential again. The fact that he's employed by the L.A. Times is just another reason to hate L.A.

More Lakers Struggle Face

None of that Timers ass clowning, however, takes away from this...or this....AND MOST CERTAINLY THIS!!!


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