Goran Dragic and Kings' Beno Udrih, Slovenians UNITE!  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

More photos » Ross D. Franklin - AP

Goran Dragic and Kings' Beno Udrih, Slovenians UNITE! (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Browse more photos »

2011 eh?  So let's start over.  The calendar says so.  Besides that, we've had a lot of excuses so far as to why our 2010 Western Conference Finals-worthy team is only 14-17 after 31 games this season.  We lost Amare Stoudemire, we lost Lou Amundson, Robin Lopez got injured, we had a ton of new guys learning our system to start the year... then we traded Jason Richardson... and then we had more new guys that needed to fit in - and I'm already tired of just remembering all these excuses.  So let's just start over. There is plenty of time left in the season to right the ship - win games, peak our team performance and make a playoff run. 

You could say (and I will) that the Suns were thinking exactly along those lines judging by the way they finished 2010.  They punked the Detroit Pistons with actual defense and much anticipated bench production AND broke a 4 game losing streak with a 92-75 win. The Suns as a franchise are now 62-0 when they hold an opponent below 80 points... I'm just sayin', more "D" please.  Read more about that game here and here. Do it.

Now the Suns are in Sacramento to face the Kings and Tyreke Evans and start 2011 off the right way.  With a "W".  But still there are questions: Who will Gentry start since Sacramento is a bigger team than Detroit?  Why are Warrick and Childress not playing?  How are the new additions fitting in so far?   What does Vince Carter eat on the team plane?  I will have the amazing answers to all of those questions - all you have to do is JUMP IT FOOLS!

So Eutychus, who will Alvin Gentry start since the Kings are a bigger and better team than the Pistons - certainly we can't have Pietrus at the PF?

Per Paul Coro, again Alvin Gentry and the Suns will start Pietrus at the PF.  If something works - why fix it.... Then again it might have something to do with the small line-up the Kings have been using lately.

Starting Matchups:


Steve Nash - - - - - - - Beno Udrih

Vince Carter - - - - - - Tyreke Evans

Grant Hill - - - - - - - - Fransisco Garcia

Mickael Pietrus - - - - Carl Landry / Jason Thompson

Robin Lopez - - - - - - DeMarcus Cousins

Bam.  You got Questions?  I've got answers.

Okay, but Eutychus - can you tell me why exactly Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress aren't playing?

I'm glad you asked, because I was bringing in the new year on Twitter and my good friend Paul Coro again came through big with some intel.

2rgo_medium

Warrick - as has been obvious to most readers, is having a tough time keeping his energy high on the defensive end of things.  Maybe in practice as well but I can't say with certainty because I don't know.  We all know he can keep the energy on offense, but that's not hard when you're spoon fed like an infant a la Steve Nash.

Childress - Who's minutes are you going to cut to get him in?   Let's see...

Grant HIll?  You mean, the guy who's about to appear in his 900th career game tonight in Sacramento? The guy who is currently 1 of only 5 NBA players in history to average 14 or more points at the age of 38 or older, joining the likes of Kareem, MJ, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller and Robert Parrish?  The man who is undoubtedly as much the heart and soul of this team as Steve Nash is?  The dude that without question will guard anyone in the league AND do a good job at it?  I don't think so.

Okay, how about Jared Dudley?  You mean, the guy who's been basically the team's leading scorer off the bench since Jason Richardson left?  He's had 7 scoring games of 19 or more points his entire career, THREE IN THE LAST 11 DAYS.  The same Dudley who's found his World's Most Athletic Hands from 2009-10 again?  I don't think so - "MAN ON FIRE" [slurping Scott Williams voice]

Equally - Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus are playing very well, and like Coro mentions - Alvin said he would be shortening the rotations.   Does that mean Warrick and Childress will be logging Earl Clark bench time?  HECK NO. Again like Gentry has said,  a lot will depend on which teams we are playing and who's style fits better.  For example - I am expecting to see Hakim Warrick play some quality minutes against the Kings - for one, because the last time we played the Kings Hak went off for 18 in minimal minutes and had a field day flying high above the likes of Landry, Greene and Casspi. Also, the last time Hakim played - he really did show some improved effort on the defensive end IMO.

Wow Eutychus, great answers... But I'm still wondering how our new additions are fitting in after a week and a half of 'gel-time'?

That's a wonderful question with a wonderful answer.  Wonderful.  The new additions are pretty much fitting right in exactly as we had planned.  :)  Vince Carter has scored 18 or more in both of his games as a member of the Suns and indeed is providing some of the offense we were missing after losing Jason Richardson.  Pietrus has scored 10 points or more in the last 3 games and his defense is very much a noticeable improvement on the perimeter and chasing shooters on rotations.  Gortat, despite being posterized and abused by Blake Griffin has also shown great defensive ability and agility as well as posting 2 double-digit scoring efforts in 4 games as a Sun (he had only 2 of those in 23 games as a member of the Magic)

Alright Euty, you think you know everything huh?  Well I bet you can't tell me what Vince Carter snacks on during poker games on the team plane?  Heh?  Try that one on for size tough guy!

Too easy.  The fool eats Mrs. Fields cookies and enjoys them with a tall glass of 2% Milk.

2rlz_medium

Okay, so I don't know about the milk... but I do know about the cookies thanks to @JaredDudley619 on Twitter.  The caption was this,

2rm6_medium

So maybe the real question is this.  Is Vince Carter all talk?  Because I remember without a doubt that during his press conference he said he was going to find out what Grant Hill was doing and do the same.  Well guess what Vince?  Grant Hill doesn't eat cookies.  And Grant Hill would be very disappointed.  We'll keep close tabs on this new developing cookie drama.

FINE.  You DO know everything.  Well, tell me who's going to win tonight - the Kings or the Suns?

Tricky Tricky. I say the team who plays the better defense and scores the most points. Will Hill defend Tyreke Evans again or can Vince hold his own against the young buck?  Either way I'm excited to see that Grant has some defensive help from both Pietrus and Carter.  Will Landry have his usual way with the Suns (which is almost always a double-double with 7654 frustrating offensive rebounds) now that we can have Lopez or Gortat guarding the rim and pulling down rebounds all game long?  We'll see. 

I'm just looking forward to hearing Scott Williams say Poo-Jeter.  No doubt he's been writing some awesome one liners he'll lather into the broadcast.

Also - keep an eye on DeMarcus Cousins.  The rookie has shown some great promise... but also he's shown some explosive character issues.  It could always get interesting with his temper.  You never know - Grant Hill has been getting under some skin lately with his awesomeness, it's (his awesomeness) just been so big and bumping into everyone lately.

Anyways - here's to another Suns win and continued improvement. Remember - it's still going to take some time. Just like your New Years resolution to lose 20 pounds - it all won't happen at once.  Happy New Years guys!

Visit Please

Suns vs Kings coverage

Sactown Royalty

 

 


14 - 17

8

Won 1

51



On a night in which millions celebrated a new year, the Phoenix Suns turned over a new leaf and held the Detroit Pistons to a remarkable 75 points en route to an easy 92-75 win Friday...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
On a night in which millions celebrated a new year, the Phoenix Suns turned over a new leaf and held the Detroit Pistons to a remarkable 75 points en route to an easy 92-75 win Friday...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


                                           Img14448168_medium

Finally, a win! The Suns really needed this one and they played like it. The intensity, the passion, the fire, hustle... it was all there. The defense was pretty good for the most part as evident by the Pistons scoring only 75. The rotations were great and everybody looked like they knew what they were doing thanks to a simplified scheme. Yes, it did help that the Pistons had no clue what they were doing. With Rodney Stuckey out it didn't help them even more that the Suns were trapping T-Mac out on the wing every time he got the ball. I thought they defended the screen and roll very well and for a first in a long, long time, they didn't give away jump-shots! 

Recap

The game was pretty ugly to start the quarter. Both teams combined for 11 quick turnovers and thats when the Mighty Jared Dudley stepped on to the court to propel the Suns to 11-3 run to end the quarter. Much of the same happened in the 2nd quarter although something unusual happened as well. Dudz drove in for a lay-up got foul'd and for some odd and strange reason the refs gave the ball to Dragic and he went to the line. Dudley's trying to tell the refs, "hey, ahh, I'm suppose to shoot those free throws" while everybody else on the court is looking at him like he's crazy. Meanwhile, you've got Gentry laughing in the back ground because the refs obviously put the wrong guy at the line. Finally, they realize'd it and Dudz knocked down 2 points to go with his game high 19. Some times I just don't get the NBA referring? Anyway, the Suns ended the half with a 50-32 point lead. They eventually got it up to 68-49 off of two, straight Nash 3-pointers until the Pistons lead by Ben Gordan caught fire and went on a 9-0 run. Things got a little scary right there, but the Suns D'd it up in the 4rth and hit timely threes while holding them to 17 in the quarter. 

Post Game Quotes

"It was a much needed win for us," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I thought we were aggressive from the start."

“Yeah just like frustrating was last game I got to tell you that it was a totally different team today and a huge, huge step forward," Suns center Marcin Gortat said. "We did everything what we’ve been talking about the day before and a tremendous effort , tremendous will of winning."-Suns.com

“I told the guys ‘We are going to start judging our defense from this day forward,”’ Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.-Yahoo!Sports 


The Bench

 

 

  • Goran contributed 8 points and 5 assist. He looked much more confident and comfortable and it showed in his play. Steve Nash only had to play 19 minutes. 
  • Marcin Gortat was active on the boards collecting 8 and contributing 5 assist..,weird. 
  • Channing Frye was quiet for the most part until the 4rth quarter where he hit some big shots to give himself 8 points.
  • Jared Dudley's presence was the most felt as it was he who changed the game and got the Suns rolling. He lead the team in scoring with 19 points on 6-10 shooting, hitting 3-6 beyond the arc while collecting 5 rebounds. Dudz is just awesome. According to Eddie Johnson, "He's got an old-man's game and will be in this league a long time because of that".
  • Vince Carter played 37 minutes which I found interesting. Although, he didn't come off the bench he was on the floor with Goran most of the night. His presence seemed to make things easier for the 2nd unit because he's constantly drawing attention from the opposing defenses. They just looked more comfortable knowing that they had a scorer to go to. Vince was that guy and I've actually been impressed with him so far. He doesn't seem to be getting in the way of the offense, but rather letting it come to him and finding his opportunities at the right time. He had 19 points on 8-17 shooting including 3-6 from three to go with his 8 rebounds. I really like him with the bench, but I question whether he can play 37 minutes consistently? 

Conclusion

Great win, it was much needed and the defense looked great. Of course it was the Pistons, but you can't ignore the effort and the hustle that was there. I'm still not convinced though. If the Suns have shown us anything this season, it's that they're consistently inconsistent. Still, I have faith that this new and simplified defense will lead to good things. Hopefully, tonight was a turning point in the season and we can see the Suns play more consistently and get better(instead of worse) from here on out. 

                                                              Happy New Year!  Hello, 2011!

 

 

                                                                         For all you Dudley lovers out there!

                                      

 

Links

Detroit Bad Boys

Suns vs. Pistons recap

Suns vs Pistons coverage-Suns.com  

Suns Ring In The New Year With Unfamiliar Ring: Defense- SB Nation Arizona

Poll
How will the Suns do in 2011?

  660 votes | Results






Looks like Rodney Stuckey - the Piston's leading scorer and one tough little f%&ker, it out with a stomach virus which moves Tracy McGrady into the starting line up. Vince vs. T-Mac, it don't get any better than that.

Also, since the Pistons aren't exactly what you would consider "big" up front with Ben Wallace and Charlie Villanueva, the Suns are going to start Pietrus and move Frye to the bench where he can help the second unit and Goran Dragic get back on track. Either Pietrus or Hill should be fine marking up against VNuv although he can be slippery...(because he has no hair, get it?)

Happy New Year!


Page 997 of 1264

997

Sponsored Ads