The Phoenix Suns and Verizon have agreed to an extension of their existing partnership and will embark on transforming US Airways Center into a "Technology Wonderland."

Have you ever wanted to feel like Alice?

Are you ready to take the red pill?

Then get ready for the new US Airways Center... which won't even be named US Airways Center after a merger with American Airlines.

So get ready for the new (fill in the blank)!

Here on Brightside we actually already took the time to come up with a strong list of potential suitors for new naming rights. Do yourself a favor and go through the comments on the link.

But back to the something "That's Powerful."

Have I piqued your interest? Well, just read on anyway...

The Phoenix Suns will continue their tradition of being ahead of the curve in the information age as they will be "blazing trails in technological innovation to deliver the best experience for fans and players." The Suns were the first team in the NBA to utilize wireless technology by using tablets on the team's bench.  They're prepared to lay waste to those baby steps.

The Phoenix Suns and Verizon have agreed to a multi-year extension that will turn US Airways Center into a "Technology Wonderland." The new agreement is built on a collaborative vision to integrate cutting-edge technology that creates a door-to-door fan experience unlike any other in professional sports.

As part of the extension, the Suns and Verizon will launch a number of unique features within the team's mobile app, implement iBeacons at US Airways Center, and create a "mobile wallet" that will house tickets, arena cash and other fan-friendly features.

So what exactly does this mean?

Here are the some of the changes.

Suns Mobile App

(In the coming weeks) On-demand replays and highlights, live game action from multiple camera angles and content from the Suns digital network (RISE) including postgame shows in collaboration with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

iBeacons

Fans with GPS and Bluetooth activated will receive push notifications for unique opportunities (such as seat upgrades), in-game experiences and special offers throughout the arena.

Mobile Wallet

Internet based tickets, parking passes and arena cash for concessions and the team shop. This feature may even be expanded to give users exclusive offers as they travel to and from the arena.

Verizon Tablet Center Hung Scoreboard

Here is a photo of the new tabletish incarnation.

Scoreboard

Technology Wonderland

A bold claim. I'll be interested to see how this progresses. I'm all about improving technology at live sporting events. Part of the appeal of watching at home is the ability to incorporate aspects that just don't translate to a live experience for me right now. Replay availability is routinely abhorrent in stadiums/arenas, etc. Activities like browsing through statistics, following/watching other games and participating in game threads can be frustrating or impossible. I want a marriage between home technology and live experience

One place comes to mind where I can't even get decent internet signal to look up scores of other games in progress. I won't specifically name the stadium for the sake of not throwing people/organizations/institutions under the bus, but I will give a hint... it's where the Sun Devils play.

These (and further) ameliorations may assuage the masses afflicted with attention deficits and smartphone addictions who absolutely need to access a panoply of mobile applications during every non-crucial break in play.

Including me.

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns’ two best offensive outings through five games so far have been against the Los Angeles Lakers, which doesn’t exactly paint a clear picture about where...

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Here's what happened.

First Quarter

Suns start out the game with a shot clock violation due to lack of movement.  Not exactly what you want to see on the first possession.  Dragic got a steal inside on the Grizzlies and passed it to Markieff who hits a mid-range jumper.  The Grizzlies were unable to get anything on the offensive end to start the game, and the Suns were able to capitalize with quick transition baskets from the Morrii on the first three possessions.  Suns jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before Mempis called their first timeout to stop the momentum.

Mike Conley was the first to get on the board for the Grizzlies after the time-out, hitting a jump shot against Bledsoe.  The Suns got a steal but couldn't capitalize, then Memphis answered back with a three from Courtney Lee.  Markieff was able to hit another jumper and Bledsoe hit a three on the following possession, but Courtney Lee once again answered back with a three for Memphis.  Bledsoe did show some aggression with a drive to get to the line, but only converted one of them.  The good news for Phoenix is that Bledsoe is looking much more active than last night, but he will need to hit his shots and free throws to stave off the Grizzlies.

Markieff Morris has been the standout for Phoenix thus far with his shooting, including a three just as the Grizzlies took the lead on a Randolph and-one.  Memphis is making the most of their shot opportunities though, and getting good looks on the perimeter and drives to the basket inside to stay ahead of Phoenix.

Alex Len and P.J. Tucker checked in for the Suns at the four minute mark to replace Miles Plumlee and Marcus Morris, respectively.  What Phoenix lacks in size, they are making up for with active hands on defense, already grabbing four steals which have helped keep them in it thus far.

Isaiah Thomas checked in with two minutes remaining for Dragic, but Bledsoe remains the aggressor for the guards, and already has 12 points of off timely jump shots and aggressive drives to the basket...a very different looking Bledsoe than the one who played in L.A. last night.  Alex Len picked up two quick fouls guarding Gasol...He needs to stay out of foul trouble to give the Suns a chance tonight.

At the end of the first quarter, the Suns lead the Grizzlies 27-26.  Eric Bledsoe is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.  For Memphis, Mike Conley leads a very balanced scoring distribution with his 6 points and 2 assists.  The Suns are shooting 78.6% from the field, vs. 52.6% for Memphis.  They are leading in rebounding 8-4, but also have 6 turnovers compared to 4 for the Grizzlies.

Second Quarter

The Suns started the second quarter with Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Anthony Tolliver, and Alex Len.  Vince Carter drove to the basket for the first points of the second quarter for the Grizzlies.  Gerald Green got off to a quick start hitting his first shot, then getting to the foul line where he converted both on the next possession.

Anthony Tolliver attempted a three, but it was way off...luckily, the Suns were able to get their hands on the ball once again and Isaiah Thomas was able to hit the jumper to keep Phoenix in the lead.  Gerald Green is playing aggressively and driving the lane, as he gets fouled again on the next possession for another trip to the line.  Green hits both and now has 6 points in three minutes to start the second quarter.

Tolliver hits a three after missing his first two, then Gerald Green quickly hits a three as well on the next possession to help the Suns jump out to a 41-32 lead halfway through the second quarter...this is their biggest lead of the game thus far.  Once again, it's the Suns bench extending the lead and causing the most problems for the opponent.

Isaiah made an excellent drive against an overly aggressive Quincy Pondexter, to take him to the hoop and score with an acrobatic finish at the rim...beautiful.

With 5 minutes to go in the first half, the Suns bring back Bledsoe, Markieff, and Plumlee, but keep Isaiah and Green who are once again making a huge difference on the court.  Plumlee gets a great assist at the rim and tries to go up for the monster dunk, but blows it by hitting the front of the rim.  He then fouls Gasol on back to back possessions, picking up his second and third fouls.

This is when the Suns start to blow it.  Randolph gets a bucket inside for the Grizzlies, Pondexter hits a three, and then Conley scores an and-one all in a row to suddenly whittle down the Suns lead to just three, as the Suns now are barely holding onto the lead 43-40.

Thomas hits a big three on the next possession though off a beautiful drive-and-kick by Dragic to once again go up six.  Markieff hits a jumper for the Suns, but Gasol is able to answer back for Memphis. Bledsoe then gets an outlet pass that he converts at the rim on an acrobatic drive, then gets another steal where he passes it out to Keef open for three who is bulldozed over by Randolph...ouch.

The Suns and Grizzlies went back and fourth a few more times, but the Suns were able to hold their six point lead to end the half.

At the end of the first half, the Suns lead the Grizzlies 52-46.  Eric Bledsoe is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.  For Memphis, Mike Conley leads in scoring with 13 points and 3 assists.  The Suns are shooting 55.9% from the field, vs. 48.6% for Memphis.  They are leading in rebounding 17-14, and also have 8 steals compared to 3 for the Grizzlies.  THe Grizzlies are leading in points in the paint however, with 22 compared to 16 for Phoenix.

Third Quarter

Bledsoe opens up the third quarter with a three...he's now a perfect 7/7 from the field and has 19 points.  Unfortunately, Mike Conley answers back with a three for the Grizzlies as well.  Plumlee bricked another hook shot over Gasol, but was quick enough to grab his own rebound and get the put back lay-in for his first points of the game.

Randolph is fouled on an and-one and misses the free throw, but it's grabbed by Memphis who kicks it out to Conley who drains the three....five point play for Memphis.  Suns turn the ball over and Courtney Lee hits a jumper.  Just like that, the Grizzlies take the lead 60-59.  Timeout Phoenix.

It gets worse on the next possession with yet another turnover that leads to a fast break basket by Conley...Then Markieff misses a three and Gasol gets another basket at the rim.  With the Suns down 64-59, they turn the ball over again, but Memphis fortunately misses.  Hornacek puts Isaiah Thomas in for Dragic to try to bring some scoring back.

Thomas gets a steal and is able to find Markieff who makes the basket for an and-one, but can't convert at the line.  Fortunately, the ball is tapped out of bounds and Phoenix gets it back, and Thomas is able to score off a beautiful drive to the basket.  Bledsoe then explodes to the rim on the next possession and gets the lay-up to retake the lead 65-64, but Tony Allen gets an outlet pass for a fast break off a Phoenix miss to retake the lead with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Randolph also scores on the next possession, and then Courtney Lee with a jumper to extend the lead to five for Memphis.  Bledsoe and Marcus now take a seat as Green and Tucker enter the game for the Suns.  But Suns still can't make a shot, and Lee once again hits a three to push the Grizzlies lead up to 8 at one point.  The Suns continue missing shots and even a fast break by Thomas rolls off the rim.  Alex Len gets to the line to end the quarter where he hits both free throws to score his first points of the game.

The Suns led by as much as 11 at one point, but that is long gone.  They need to turn things around quickly before Memphis pulls further away.

At the end of the first quarter, the Suns trail the Grizzlies 76-71.  Eric Bledsoe is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  For Memphis, Mike Conley leads with his 21 points and 7 assists.  The Suns are now shooting 49% from the field, vs. 50.8% for Memphis.  They are also behind in rebounding now, 27-26, and also have 15 turnovers compared to 13 for the Grizzlies.

Fourth Quarter

Tucker drives to the basket for a quick two to start the fourth for the Suns.   Pondexter answers back with a three for Memphis though when the Suns didn't rotate in time to cover him.  Green gets fouled on a shot attempt and hits both, andBledsoe comes back into the line-up for Thomas to give him some rest.

P.J. Tucker is grabbing some tough rebounds for the Suns here in the fourth to try to get them back in it...but they are struggling to make their shots.

Suns call timeout with 9 minutes remaining in the game, down 81-75.  If the Suns are going to make a run to get back in control of this game, they need to do it now.

Memphis continued hitting shots inside with regularity, and the Suns continued missing most of theirs.  Instead of climbing back into this, the Suns are falling farther behind as the Grizzlies now seem to have all the momentum and appear in complete control with only 6 minutes remaining.  The Suns are now down 87-77.

Timeout Suns...It's now or never.

The Grizzlies just keep pounding away though, as Gasol hits a basket and the foul for an and-one.  The Suns are running out of answers and down by 13, their largest deficit of the game.

But just when it looked like all was lost, Tucker hits a three, Memphis misses both free throws at the line, and then Markieff nails the open three to bring the Suns back from the dead...at least a little.  The Suns are now trailing by only 7 points with 4:30 left in the game. Timeout Memphis.

Courtney Lee hit a three to  answer right back for Memphis and quiet the crowd back down, who were given hope by the Suns sudden barrage of points that they desperately needed.  Memphis once again was in control of the game and stopping the Suns offensively enough to maintain their lead.

An and-one drive to the basket was enough to start emptying the crowd out of the arena with over two minutes left and Memphis leading by 11 points.

The Suns tried multiple times to get back in it, but were ultimately unsuccessful.  They lost a lead that they built by half-time and fell apart completely in the second half of the game.  Memphis is too good of a team to let back in the way that Phoenix did in the third quarter, and it ended up costing them.

Game Over

The Suns lose to the Grizzlies 102-91 .  Eric Bledsoe was the leading scorer for Phoenix with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.  For Memphis, Mike Conley led all scorers with 24 points and 11 assists.  The Suns shot 46.4% from the field, vs. 50% for Memphis.  They lost the rebounding battle 37-35, and also the points in the paint to the Grizzlies, 46-32.


PHOENIX — They still haven’t figured them out. The Phoenix Suns put together a promising first half, but a sluggish third quarter left coach Jeff Hornacek‘s team failing to get over...

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The Suns are coming off a win against the Lakers in L.A. last night. Will they be able to beat a very good Grizzlies team at home tonight?

What: Phoenix Suns Vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Where: U.S. Airways Center - Phoenix, AZ

When: 7:00 p.m. (AZ)

Watch: FSAZ (locally) / NBA League Pass

The Phoenix Suns beat a Los Angeles Lakers team late last night that was fighting as hard as ever to get their first win of the season.  Fortunately for the Suns, that didn't happen, as Phoenix was able to withstand a barrage of shots from Kobe Bryant, who played 44 minutes and scored 39 points on 37 attempts. and escape L.A. with a win to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Tonight, the Suns will have their work cut out for them as they face the Memphis Grizzlies, who are one of only three teams in the NBA who are still undefeated.  The Grizzlies had struck out to a 4-0 start to the season after beating the Timberwolves, Pacers, Hornets and Pelicans, respectively.  For Memphis, the Suns will likely be the toughest competition they've faced thus far.  They will be looking to prove that they are a real threat in the Western Conference, by beating the Suns on their home court tonight.

Probable Starting Lineups

Team Suns Grizzlies
PG Eric Bledsoe Mike Conley
SG Goran Dragic Tony Allen
SF Marcus Morris Tayshaun Prince
PF Markieff Morris Zach Randolph
C Miles Plumlee Marc Gasol

What To Watch For

Tired legs: The Suns have gotten off to a slow start in all but one of their four games thus far.  At times, the Suns have seemed out of sync to start the game, and this could be even further exacerbated tonight by having played on the road late last night.  The Suns simply cannot afford to allow the Grizzlies to take a commanding lead early on, they have to begin the game with a fast tempo and aggressive attitude...which leads me to my next point.

Run And Gun: There's no question that the Suns are at their best when running the floor and getting out into transition to score quickly on their opponent.  This should be one of their biggest advantages, as the Grizzlies aren't exactly a known for their fast play.  However, if they let the Grizzlies dictate the pace of the game, and get sucked into a half-court style of play, this will strongly benefit Memphis.  Because they will give the Suns...

Big Trouble: If the game against Utah showed the Suns anything, it's that their greatest weakness seems to be competing against teams with big, strong, skilled big men...and that's exactly who Memphis will feature.  The Grizzlies' front-court tandem of Gasol and Z-Bo are not only the two leading scorers and rebounders for Memphis, they are the focal points of their offense.  Markieff Morris, Miles Plumlee, and Alex Len will have their hands full dealing with these two and will definitely need all the help they can get from the...

Hydra: The Suns back-court has all the potential to be the most dangerous and electrifying in all of the NBA this season.  With a rotation of Bledsoe, Dragic, Thomas...the potential for points off of transition scoring, three-point shots, aggressive and-one's, and high-flying dunks seems limitless.  Although all three had good games overall in the first two, none have been been consistent throughout all four.  The Suns will live and die by the play of their backcourt this season, and they will likely need all three of these players at their best to defeat a team like Memphis tonight.  That plus a good showing from...

The Bench: Last night, the Suns were carried to a victory by the bench...specifically Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green, who combined for 48 points between the two of them. Although the Suns will certainly need their starters to play better tonight, you should probably get used to a recurring theme of the Suns relying on their bench to out-score the opponent's.  The Suns will need the bench to show up big once again in order to get the win tonight.

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