The Phoenix professional basketball club did not give a reason for their quick change of heart, only dropping this bit of statistical braggadocio:
Garrett recorded 32 points, six assists and six rebounds in Bakersfield's 106-105 victory last night that helped the club finish the regular season with a franchise-best 36-14 (.720) record and secure the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA Development League Playoffs.
Perhaps Lance Blanks saw how well Garrett played and realized that he could use some backcourt scoring off the bench as well. Or maybe Diante forgot to pack enough underwear and this is just a brief return before heading back to the Jam.
We are all on pins and needles with this one.
Here's full game video if you are interested. Tell us how it was.
The Phoenix Suns today assigned Diante Garrett back to the Bakersfield Jam for their last regular season game tonight and for the Jam's run through the D-League playoffs.
A Phoenix Suns player will experience the playoffs after all.
The Bakersfield Jam are the top seed in the D-League playoff picture, but need to replace one of their lead guards at the last moment. Jerel McNeal, considered by his coach to be the D-League MVP this season, was signed by the Utah Jazz just before the D-League playoffs start this week. McNeal averaged 18.1 points, 5.5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 44 games for the Jam.
When the Jam lost McNeal, they turned to another point guard who performed well for them this season. Today, the Phoenix Suns assigned combo guard Diante Garrett to the Jam for his second stint in Bakersfield and this time Diante gets to experience something the rest of the Suns are desperately missing this spring: a playoff run.
In his first stint with the Jam, Garrett averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 assists and 1.7 steals while appearing in seven games (five starts). During his seven-game assignment, the Jam compiled a 6-1 (.857) record, including a season-best six-game win streak.
The Jam play their final regular season game tonight. First round playoff matchups will be announced Sunday evening.
It’s meaningful game time. Tonight’s contest against the New Orleans Hornets affords the Phoenix Suns their best opportunity to avoid the opprobrious feat of adding the franchise’s worst ever home losing streak to a season filled with dismal results. That’s right Suns fans, the team is currently tied with the worst ever such streak at six and can take another step towards ignominy with their seventh consecutive defeat on their home court tonight. A loss would also put the Suns’ overall current skid to nine straight before the Suns embark on a three game road trip starting Tuesday which could push them into a tie for the overall franchise futility mark at 12 consecutive losses. Hasn’t this season just been special?
When: Sunday, April 7, 2013, 6:00 PM local time (9:00 EST)
Where: US Airways Center Phoenix, AZ
Watch/Listen: TV: FSAZ, Radio: 620 KTAR
The Suns lost to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena 93-84 on February 6th. Greivis Vasquez paced the Hornets with 19 points (8-9 shooting) and 12 assists. Phoenix was led in scoring (14) and rebounding (7) by Marcin Gortat. If you hadn’t discerned from the 84 points or Marcin’s underwhelming team leading stats, it was one of those games… The Suns muddled their way to 31 second half points and, amazingly, managed to shoot just 1-15 from three point range (6.7%).
The season series is tied at 1-1, with each team winning on their home court. This game will be for bragging rights between the two worst teams in the Western Conference.
New Orleans: 26-50
Points per game: 94.0 (25th) Points allowed: 97.5 (14th)
Despite a brutal recent schedule, New Orleans has fought its way to a 4-4 record with home wins against the Celtics, Nuggets and Grizzlies. Hampered by minor injuries, Anthony Davis has struggled to met the lofty expectations that coincide with being selected #1 overall, but has been progressing steadily and averaged 16 points and 9.9 rebounds a game in the recently completed month of March. Hidden gem Vasquez is averaging 14.2 points and 9.2 assists (third in the NBA) per game and is establishing himself as one of the best unknown players in the league.
Phoenix Suns: 23-53
Points per game: 95.3 (20th) Points allowed: 99.6 (22nd)
Watching the Suns season long descent into the bowels of the NBA has been a somber and funereal process. I would almost be completely emotionally detached at this point, but the sporadic lack of effort is still aggravating at times. I know I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too, cheering for losses and effort at the same time, but being repeatedly brutalized to the effect of 25+ losses isn’t just demoralizing to the players, but the fans as well…
Oh well, playoff losses are demoralizing too, so it’s not like disappointment has been uncharted waters for the Suns before. The numbness that has settled in over the season like a thick fog also takes the sting off of repetitive bludgeoning. The Suns will have to do a lot worse than this to alienate me.
Goran Dragic’s renascent spectacular play has been a beacon through the fog, though, and he has collected 11 double doubles since the all-star break. Goran has even record two games of over 30 points in his last four played (when he wasn’t resting due to lassitude).
What To Watch For:
Dragic vs. Vasquez: Goran has averaged 16.5 points and seven assists in the two previous games in the series. While there is nothing wrong with those numbers at all, Vasquez has been decidedly better with 22 points and 13 assists over the two games. Will Dragic turn the tables tonight?
2013 Lottery Watch
The Suns (23-53) enter their contest against the formidable Hornets in sole possession of the third worst record in the NBA. Pretty much right where most of us soothsayers had them pegged at the beginning of the campaign. The Suns main competition for their current position is Detroit (25-52) and Cleveland (23-52). Even with a win over the Hornets, the Suns could maintain their slim lead if the Cavaliers can successfully defend their home court against the vaunted Magic in a game that will be decided just before Phoenix steps on the court tonight
The Suns hopes of receiving the Lakers draft pick have fallen squarely on the shoulders of the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, Utah finds itself on a precarious perch with a road game against Golden St. today followed by a home game against the Thunder on Tuesday. The Lakers play the Clippers at the Staples Center today (basically a neutral site) before hosting the same Hornets the Suns host tonight on Tuesday. There’s a distinct possibility that Utah could lose both of those games, which makes today’s Clippers/Lakers game of paramount importance since a two game swing at this juncture would effectively secure the Lakers the eighth and final seed.
The Final Word(s):
As much fun as the carousel of dubious distinctions has been this season, it would be really nice for the Suns to win this one and escape another scrape with infamy. In my world, the Suns beat the Hornets tonight, bust the slump, lose out from here and still secure the coveted third spot in the lottery seeding.
Get to work Suns! Make my vision a reality. And go Clippers and Jazz!