Late because I am dumb. Sorry.
Late because I am dumb. Sorry.
The Suns look to recover from their loss to the Jazz in today's rematch against the lowly Lakers.
Following their drubbing at the hands of Derrick Favors and the hardscrabble Jazz on the second night of a back to back, the Suns are looking to bounce back against the Lakers, who have started 0-4 for the first time since they moved to California from Minnesota in 1957-58, when NBA legend Geoge Mikan was brought in as an emergency coach to help right the ship. It didn't work.
For the Lakers, this game is the fourth in five nights, and fatigue is likely going to be a factor, despite how early in the season it is. Injuries have reduced the rotation to 11 players, at least two of whom are still recovering from injuries suffered late in the pre-season, and at least ostensibly Kobe remains on a minutes restriction.
The Suns come in having played 3 games in six nights, and should be more rested. They also face fewer injury concerns - only TJ Warren remains sidelined due to injury.
P.J. Tucker returns from his three game suspension tonight, and looks to feature prominently in the rotation at the defensive wing position. The Suns have missed his intensity and energy, both on defense and in the rebounding department, after getting torched by Goran Hayward on Saturday on losing the battle of the boards by a margin of 52:34.
Tucker won't be thrown into the fire immediately - Coach Hornacek says he will be keeping the same starting lineup for this game and the foreseeable future. But given Marcus Morris' struggles to guard Kobe in their first matchup of the season (Bryant scored 31 points on 44% shooting), it is hard to imagine PJ won't see some significant playing time.
On the other side of the court, look for the Lakers to attempt to exploit the new-found stretch game of center Jordan Hill against the Suns. Hill's 15 foot set shots, the likes of which haven't been seen in recent years, have been remarkably consistent. Hill didn't get much of a chance to display the shot in the earlier game against the Suns, but in the subsequent 2 games he has put up 46 points, and a majority of them have come from mid-range. With Ed Davis a strong offensive rebounding presence, look for the Lakers to try to exploit perhaps their only advantage in this game.
38.2% - Combined shooting percentage of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe through the first 3 games. Whatever chemistry the two guards had last season has yet to emerge so far this year, and the offense has yet to hit its heavily efficient stride in 2 of the 3 games this season. The only team that both guards shot fairly well against was this Lakers team, but if they can't put it together again, the team might struggle a bit and the game could remain close into the fourth quarter.
37.3 - That is Kobe's usage rate through the first three games. If it were to hold for the season, it would be the second highest usage rate of his career, behind only the year of Smush (2005-06). As much as Kobe harps on Jeremy Lin in post game press-conferences to run the offense and not defer to him, his on court positioning and demeanor scream hero ball. If this team is to threaten the Suns, it will have to come with balanced production - i.e. Kobe not taking more than 20 shots. Somehow I find that unlikely.
The Suns are going to be looking for a redemption game and PJ Tucker is thirsting for playing time, and what better group to take out frustrations on than Kobe and his not-so-loveable losers. You gotta feel for the Lakers a little - they start of with a fairly brutal 5 games in 7 days stretch, against the Suns (2), the Rockets, the Clippers and the Warriors, and they lost their 1st round draft pick in the first game to a season ending injury. They just can't catch a break, and won't tonight either. Redemption will be had, PJs thirst will be quenched, and the Suns will win comfortably.
Suns 115, Lakers 98
Is Steve Nash's and others greatness' lost upon this generation?
When the Phoenix Suns opened the 2014-2015 season it could not have been against a more appropriate team with a more appropriate result. In this day and age we live our lives moment to moment and that was one worth savoring against a familiar foe with so much history, in both the regular season, and the playoffs that one could actually call this a rivalry without being accused of hyperbole.
In that rivalry there have been ups-and-downs like any relationship worth being in. Some emotional highs and some devastating lows. Another moment that will be savored momentarily and then lost in the perpetual abyss of moments.
Those moments are lost more often than not with time as we move on to the next moment and in turn forget what just happened. It is human nature, but that is how moments are lost and then remembered in time, with hindsight, that something great once happened in these halls. As Kobe Bryant, a sure fire Hall of Famer, and one of the 10 best players in the history of the game came to town the revisionist history of the commentary on his play in the first game of his 19th season was disconcerting.
In this generation it feels like we upload these moments without actually living them, storing them rather than soaking them in, and filing them into the ether of our hard drives to recount when it is time.
Kobe is "washed up," he "blows," is "overrated", and et cetera were some of the comments on social media, which is social media, but that seems to be the common consensus with people nowadays. With that I am not sure if social media in part ruined cognitive tact within sports fans, if it is just this generation in general with the fascination of the here and now, or if maybe it never existed.
All that being said it makes sense, in a vacuum, that the fans inside an arena in Phoenix would boo the likes of Kobe Bryant and root for his downfall when pitted against their team. Makes sense. League wide, again, it is a little disconcerting.
In other eras with other stars was it like this too?
For Phoenix in particular the moments that this franchise lived in were 7-seconds at a time.
For Phoenix the moments were delivered in the summer too with year round greatness f two basketball leagues.
For Phoenix there were two sure fire Hall of Fame players, first ballot, no questions asked, playing in the same arena at the same time delivering basketball magic. Were those moments appreciated when they happened or will they be revered later on when there are no more moments left?
From 2004-2012 Steve Nash was the conductor of one of the best offensive symphonies in NBA history winning games, M.V.P. awards, and shooting the ball with unforeseen efficiency.
He was without question one of the best players in the entire league coming within 2-3 wins from a trip to the NBA Finals in three of his eight years as he Benjamin Buttoned his way into a better second half of his career than most have the opportunity to have in the first half. The 16.3 points and 10.9 assists per game with his shooting, 51% field goal 43.7% three-point 91.2% free-throw, in eight seasons has never before been seen and likely ever will be seen again, that is the brilliance of Steve Nash. Now Nash is on the brink of retirement and a career in reflection.
Let's repeat bring that home again: Eight seasons where he had the ball in his hands every game, every play, and scored 16+ points, 11 assists and shot 51% from the field, 43.7% from three, and 91.2% from the free-throw line.
Then, over the summer, in Phoenix where basketball never stops in the same year that Nash arrived back in town the Phoenix Mercury welcomed in Diana Taurasi. In that same period of eight years she climbed the WNBA ladder winning two championships and becoming one of the most prolific offensive players in the history of the game. Since then she has won a third championship and put her name in the hat for the greatest of all-time.
Very much like Nash, Taurasi had the ball in her hands every play making decisions and plays becoming the only player in league history to enter the Top 5 all-time in both points and assists historically.
In a lot of ways Taurasi was the Steve Nash of the WNBA, but in recent years she is also becoming the Kobe Bryant as a player that can be discussed openly as the best to ever play her game, and now on her farewell tour. It is not a common thread to have one of the best players historically in two different leagues playing at the top of their games for an extended period of time like this in the same city. In the same arena.
All of the moments, the great play, the points, the memories, the assists, and the legacies built over the years will be looked at with a proper lens in time. But was it appreciated when it was happening?
Were they appreciated during their time here together? Will it happen later with time, hindsight, and the benefit of history to look back on? Maybe the most important question is simply: Is that just the way (the life) sports are? Are we all hard drives with the data of our existence stored and logged away for when it is next needed or is that a contrived excuse of how a generation absorbs moments?
We live our lives moment to moment, but maybe, maybe we should soak some of those in from time to time. Greatness is rare after all.
But it's entirely too early to predict how the season will go for The Dragon, so why are we even talking about it?
Regardless, the three guard lineup will be endlessly entertaining to watch all season long.
The key to success for the trio? Floor spacing.
Robert Sarver had some time to think about his October 16th incident where he publicly called out San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich for failing to make the trip to Phoenix for a preseason game. Several players were also absent. After having time to reflect, he feels the same way.
In case you haven't seen this, it's a fun watch. Dragic had some fun pranking his teammates on Halloween.
The paint belongs to Alex Len. Well, he's a "difference-maker" at least.
2014-15 NBA and Phoenix Suns predictions from Arizona Sports in case you missed it.
But do our fans think that we have a playoff team?