Because you guys and gals matter.

Thanks to Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog is able to offer some great giveaways to twitter contest winners in the coming week!

Bright Side started with the giveaways last year, providing game tickets and spending money to three games in March and April of 2013. We gave a game experience to two teens and one Bright Sider. And again last fall, we had a small podcast contest to win Suns swag.

Now we're back with more!

$100 NBA.com gift card

I will announce a contest on Sunday via my twitter account for predictions on the Golden State game. The winner gets a $100 gift card for NBA.com!

You have to follow me to partake in the contest. It will be easy. Anyone can win!

Crown Royal Product pack

Enjoy several flavors of Crown Royal Whiskey in a product pack worth more than $100, sent directly to your home (winner must be 21 or older).

This contest will also be on twitter, sometime in the next week.

---

We have NBA sponsor Crown Royal to thank for these giveaways. They really recognize the value of NBA influencers like me and you, the readers.

With the 2013-2014 NBA season in full-swing, Crown Royal is not only looking to pro basketball teams and players that Reign On both on and off the court with greatness, but also to the fans who root for the teams and players day in and day out - those same fans who strive to Reign On in their own lives, in their own right every day.

They've already thanked me with an All-Star experience I will never forget, and now they want to thank you.

So, follow me on twitter and watch out for the announcement of the contests!

Reign On

Thanks to our partner, Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog gets to hand out some great prizes, starting with an NBA.com git card. Just gotta use the twitter to get in.

Okay, here it is Suns fans!

To win a $100 NBA.com gift card, courtesy of our partners Crown Royal, you need to predict the final score of tonight's Phoenix Suns game vs. the Golden State Warriors.

Crown Royal recognizes that social media is a great way to widen our reach across the globe

This is a twitter contest! Leave your predictions on my timeline this way:

  • Predict the final score and winner/loser (closest person wins)
  • Predict the 4th quarter score (in case of tie, the tiebreaker goes to who predicted the 4th Q best)
  • Use #CrownRoyal #BScontest hashtags

Follow me on twitter to watch the action and see who wins: @DaveKingNBA

-----

We have NBA sponsor Crown Royal to thank for these giveaways. They really recognize the value of NBA influencers like me and you, the readers.

With the 2013-2014 NBA season in full-swing, Crown Royal is not only looking to pro basketball teams and players that Reign On both on and off the court with greatness, but also to the fans who root for the teams and players day in and day out - those same fans who strive to Reign On in their own lives, in their own right every day.

They've already thanked me with an All-Star experience I will never forget, and now they want to thank you.

The Phoenix Suns know that Eric Bledsoe makes them a better basketball team, but the adjustment period could be rough as he is incorporated back into the rotation after 31 games out.

The Phoenix Suns will finally be adding a big piece to their team in the coming days. Not from a deadline trade, nor from overseas or from their couch in Miami (apologies, Shavlik).

With the Suns playing a back-to-back on Sunday (Golden State) and Monday (Los Angeles Clippers) before returning to play Cleveland in Phoenix on Wednesday, expect the Suns to be cautious with Bledsoe's return. After 31 games out, it's not advisable to force Bledsoe to play a back-to-back when he's hardly done that in scrimmages.

UPDATE: Bledsoe says to expect Wednesday against Cleveland:

Screen_shot_2014-03-08_at_8

The Suns are 16-8 in 24 games with Bledsoe this season. When both he Goran Dragic finish the game together, the Suns have an even better 13-5 record. Without Bledsoe, the Suns are 20-17 on the season.

Eric Bledsoe, step right up. But please, don't mess it all up in the process.

"You have to get him in at some point and it's always an adjustment," coach Jeff Hornacek said of Bledsoe returning after 31 games away. "Especially for a guy who's been out for a while. Guys' minutes will be different; they're going to be playing with different groups of players, so there's always that little adjustment. We have to somehow figure out how to get him into that without screwing up our rotation."

My guess is that Bledsoe will come off the bench for a couple of games as the first guard up, with a minutes limitation to build up his stamina. He will share some minutes with Dragic, with Green, with Ish Smith.

Very quickly, however, Bledsoe will be right back in the starting lineup and finishing games alongside Dragic. Remember, the Suns are 13-5 this season when they finish games.

But can the Suns afford the inevitable adjustment period while they are fighting to keep their playoff spot?

"You saw it in Oklahoma City when Westbrook came back," Hornacek said. "It takes a couple of games to get back to being used to the rotations and who you're out there playing with. That's hard."

Thunder coach Scott Brooks wouldn't lay the Thunder's three game losing streak upon Westbrook's return on his point guard, though.

"I think a lot of people thought we would have trouble adapting Russell (back in), but that wasn't the problem at all," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We weren't playing defense. Adding one of the elite players in the league is gonna help us. When you've got one of your better players back to play, you put him in his normal spot."

Indeed, despite Reggie Jackson playing so well in the starting position, it's really Russell Westbrook's position. As you saw on Thursday night against the Suns, Westbrook was excellent in his minutes. He torched the Suns offensively and defensively.

But the Thunder's defensive rotations were weak, and their second unit's cohesiveness was missing. Jackson was the team's point guard when the Suns went on that 28-5 run.

"Obviously every game is a big game from this point on," Hornacek said. "We can't afford (losing three straight, like the Thunder did) when does back so hopefully it's seamless and guys jump right back into it."

For the Suns, the transition will be different. Shooting guard Gerald Green, who just scored 41 points on Thursday, is the players who will eventually lose his starting position.

Much has been made of Green's poor play off the bench earlier this year, but that was overblown. Green actually took and made more three-pointers in November and December (198 attempts, 39.4%) than in January and February (160 attempts, 35%) despite playing more minutes. It's his mid-range game and drives to the hoop that have expanded in recent months, primarily due to being a bigger part of the offense with Bledsoe out and playing against starting defenses.

Green will still get his most of his minutes, and he will be a good soldier about it. He's said over and over again this season that he doesn't care what his role is. He just wants the team to win.

But the initial games will be a challenge as Bledsoe re-integrates into the lineup. Just when the Suns schedule gets really tough and every game counts.

At least, he's got a set of teammates who aren't letting the pressure of a playoff run ruin their fun.

Because you guys and gals matter.

Thanks to Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog is able to offer some great giveaways to twitter contest winners in the coming week!

Bright Side started with the giveaways last year, providing game tickets and spending money to three games in March and April of 2013. We gave a game experience to two teens and one Bright Sider. And again last fall, we had a small podcast contest to win Suns swag.

Now we're back with more!

$100 NBA.com gift card

I will announce a contest on Sunday via my twitter account for predictions on the Golden State game. The winner gets a $100 gift card for NBA.com!

You have to follow me to partake in the contest. It will be easy. Anyone can win!

Crown Royal Product pack

Enjoy several flavors of Crown Royal Whiskey in a product pack worth more than $100, sent directly to your home (winner must be 21 or older).

This contest will also be on twitter, sometime in the next week.

---

We have NBA sponsor Crown Royal to thank for these giveaways. They really recognize the value of NBA influencers like me and you, the readers.

With the 2013-2014 NBA season in full-swing, Crown Royal is not only looking to pro basketball teams and players that Reign On both on and off the court with greatness, but also to the fans who root for the teams and players day in and day out - those same fans who strive to Reign On in their own lives, in their own right every day.

They've already thanked me with an All-Star experience I will never forget, and now they want to thank you.

So, follow me on twitter and watch out for the announcement of the contests!

Reign On

Just when you think the Phoenix Suns are about to hit that long losing streak, they come back out fighting once again. Down two starters, the Suns came back to beat the league-best Oklahoma City Thunder in a "must win" game to keep them in strong playoff position.

"That was a must-win game," shooting guard Gerald Green said, after scoring a career high 41 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Doesn't matter who we were playing, that was a 'must win'."

The Phoenix Suns have lost 4 of their last 6 games, barely clinging to a playoff spot, as they suffer through injuries that threaten to derail a Cinderella season. They had just lost an important game to the Los Angeles Clippers, and are about to embark on a season-ending stretch of 14 road games vs. only seven home games.

Starters Eric Bledsoe (knee) and Miles Plumlee (knee) are both out, but expect to return to the lineup very soon. But in the interim, the Suns face a murders row of tough opponents - home against the Clippers (41-20) and Thunder (league-best 46-15), then on the road against Golden State (38-24) and against the Clippers. If they'd lost all four games, the Suns would likely have dropped into 9th place in the West.

A must-win game indeed.

"It's good for us to get a win against a playoff team that you know is going to be there," Green said. "This is a good win for us, but we gotta keep it up. We gotta play like this against the first and the last place team. It's the NBA. Anybody can beat you."

The Thunder came out strong, taking an early 10-point lead that stretched to 16 by the middle of the third quarter. But the Suns were undaunted.

"We always feel like we're in the game," P.J. Tucker said. "You've seen it all year from us. We get down and feels like it's never over. Some fans left tonight thinking it was over. They're crazy, cause we are always in the game. We always fight."

Sure enough, the resilient Suns went on a thrilling 28-5 run to take the lead and the momentum. The whole run happened in a span of just five game minutes (3:47 left in the third, to 9:33 left in the 4th). Gerald Green scored 25 points in the third quarter alone (nearly a Suns record) and the Morris twins and Ish Smith helped lift the Suns to a new gear as the crowd rocked and rolled.

"We get down, they keep playing," coach Hornacek said. "Sometimes somebody gets hot like Gerald, like he did."

Goran Dragic says that, even after 61 games, he is still surprised by his team's tough mindedness.

"Sometimes, yep," he said with a laugh. "It's always nice to be surprised, even so far into the season. We played unbelievable (in that 28-5 run). The defense was tough. It's hard, they switch a lot. Sometimes when they switch we kind of stop, play one-on-one. But we didn't do that. We passed around and made everybody involved and it was much easier."

But don't think the Suns will bask in this win, or that Green will think he's reached any goals.

"I haven't done anything in this league," Green said after scoring a career high 41 and has scored in double digits a career-best 16 straight games. "Every day I come into practice, into a game, I'm just trying to prove myself.

"I haven't made my goal yet, which is to make the playoffs. If we don't make the playoffs, I don't feel like this season was a success. When I wake up in the morning, it's on to the next game."

But for now, we Suns fans can enjoy the win. The Suns don't play again until Sunday night, so we can relive those memories for a solid couple of days.

Consensus on media row was that this was the loudest US Airways has been in three years, pumped up by the Suns making shot after shot in that third quarter comeback.

"The fans were unbelievable," Green said. "That really got us going tonight."

As the season has gone on, the fans have been more and more a factor.

"They've been great all year," Green said. "They've been consistent with us, supporting us all year. Even games we play like crap, they're still with us, cheering us on. They're just getting better and better and better. You see the crowds, and getting loud. When I go to the grocery store, the fans acknowledge me and say how excited they are to see us.

"They're a big part of reason we are having the season we're having. We play great at home because of them. They give us energy. They're heckling the opposing team all game. We need that. We're gonna need them for us to be successful, to go deep in the playoffs."

Playoffs. From a team that wasn't supposed to be here. With all their players healthy, the Suns were supposed to win fewer than 25 games. Take Bledsoe out, take Plumlee out, give Dragic a bum ankle, and still the Suns win.

"We're just kind of stupid," P.J. Tucker said earlier in the season. "We just want to win."

The Suns don't care about any of that stuff around them. They only care about getting to the next practice, to the next game. They want to finish this season right.

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Last word goes to Gerald Green, on when he twisted his ankle at the end of the game on a big-time rebound: "I got four fingers, man, I ain't worried about that."

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