When you've lost your last four games and find yourself right back at .500 when you are trying desperately to make it into the playoffs, the last thing you want to do is have a bad practice. But that's what happened today as the Suns took the floor and didn't give Coach Gentry what he wanted to see.
Perhaps it was all just for effect, but as soon as the doors to the Suns practice court were opened today, there was Alvin Gentry walking out instead of staying to talk to the media as is the norm. All he would say was that we could ask the player what was going on, and he left.
I've see Gentry unhappy with practice before, but never to the point that he wouldn't stay and discuss it.
Tonight's contest was a sort of microcosm of the Phoenix Suns season. They started shaky-then looked fair-then looked awful-then looked pretty good-then they fell apart at the end.
Chris Paul went for 26 and 9 while Omeka Okafor added 16 and 11 for the Hornets. The Suns didn't have much of an answer for either Hornet.
The Suns shot 43% lost the rebounding battle by 7, turned the ball over 15 times, and gave up 46 Hornet points in the paint.
If that doesn't tell the story of the game, then how about these lines:
Robin Lopez: 12 minutes, 1 point, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, -5. Way to come out and make a difference, Rob.
Hakim Warrick: 17 minutes, 0-4, 0 points, 1 rebound, -8. Way to rise to the occasion, Hak. To think I once called you WarMachine this season.
Aaron Brooks: 14 minutes, 2-7, 1 assist, 6 points, -4. Brooks reminds me of waking up Christmas morning and seeing a pink Schwinn with a bell instead of the kick ass Mongoose with chrome everything that you begged your parents for.
Mickael Pietrus: 11 minutes, 2-8 (6 of those 3 point attempts), 5 points, 3 assists, -3. Trade Throw in to balance the salaries.
There isn't much one can say positive about this game. Yes at leas they fought back, and yes Dudley's 25 were nice. Anything else?
Well then back to reality. Reality is:
4 game losing streak
16 games left
There's really no bright spot I guess. Perhaps a semblance of hope. Channing Frye could come back Friday. Maybe Nash will be healthy soon. Maybe Brooks will get it soon, maybe, maybe, maybe.
It's pretty dark right here near the sun. But there is some hope. 12-4 maybe? 13-3? Stranger things have happened. Remember this is the exciting time of year. Just one game. yes, one viciously ugly and psychologically crushing defeat. But there's another come Friday.
And him talking to me the same in return (We're not mates).
The feeling of satisfaction at having prepared questions and ask them. Preparation for the win.
Hearing LB whinge about how quick strength and conditioning coach, Francesco Cuzzolin, was running through the warm up.
Listening to P.J Carlesimo drop a ton of F-Bombs during practice and have Bayless remind him that the media were present.
Making Brook Lopez laugh. The man, from the outside, is scarier than the Blair Witch Project and the Ring put together (cue backlash stating those films weren't scary...)
Having that media pass at home as a constant reminder of what I accomplished.
Finding out first hand that Demar Derozan has no fear about becoming the next franchise player for the Raptors despite the potential to be booed mercilessly if he ever left ala Chris Bosh and Vince Carter.
Watching in person as the Nets players shoot half court shots to end a practice. I'd heard so many stories about teams doing it and although it isn't a shocking thing by any stretch, I was still happy to see it.
Sitting in on an afternoon Raptors practice session despite being told we could only stay for 30 minutes.
Visiting the Lithuanian Embassy for a presentation, rocking up too late for said presentation but still being able to indulge in the sandwiches, the beer and a talk with a rather unwilling Arydas Sabonis.
Drinking that morning starbucks coffee from the o2 arena everyday to start the day and feeling like 'this is what the media do...so this makes me a media member'.
Evaluating the Nets dancers with Hoopsfix.com creator, Sam Neter, being overly critical of them but knowing that they were all WELL out of our league.
Cringing at the kiss cam as it focused on uncomfortable couples but ultimately thinking it was funny and likeable when the couples looked more being on it.
Seeing the mexican wave take place in the arena, hating it and then turning to Twitter to see that I wasn't alone in my dislike of it.
Hearing players give standard or off topic responses to well thought out questions.
Sitting in the press section during the second game, looking up at the very back row and being so grateful to have the chance to be a fan in a privileged position.
Hearing players asked the same questions over and over again and then smiling when they give cold sounding answers knowing that fans hearing the interviews will think the players are rude but knowing why they give those responses.
Having Popeye Jones call me 'Sir' and then asking me for directions like a tourist.
Having Kris Humphries non-news worthy response to my question quoted on the website of a UK national paper website and also a Toronto paper online.
The other journalists during my few days at the O2. Genuinely decent folk who were more than happy to give me some advice without making me feel stupid or incompetent.
Doing the media work for free. There's something about doing work for free that gives me an extra buzz, like I'm doing myself a favour or something.
Receiving an email from NBA Europe saying 'You're in'.
Thanks NBA. You really are 'Where amazing happens'.
For the second straight time, a frantic late game run by the Suns came up just a bit short and ended in defeat.
On Monday, Phoenix had a last-second shot to win a game over Houston, but Jared Dudley...
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