More photos » Alex Gallardo - AP
7 days ago: Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon (10) gets to the basket as Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
I must admit I feel pretty good about this loss. If you were to toss out the first quarter, the transitioning Suns played a pretty good game. Nevertheless, a loss is a loss is a loss, and losing to the Clippers is like losing a game of HORSE to your little sister.
Mikael Pietrus came off the bench to score 25 points, while Steve Nash went for 21/15/4, and still the Suns couldn't come up with the makes at the end to defeat the Clippers.
If Santa treated you with a lump of coal in your stocking yesterday, you're most likely looking at this loss as another signal the Suns will be watching the postseason on their large HD screens at home this Summer. If you watched this contest as a fan looking to the second half of the season then maybe you saw something different.
The Suns played putrid basketball in the first half, falling behind by as many as 18 in the second quarter, with the following attributes of losing basketball apparent:
On the other hand, the Clippers looked like a championship contender, shooting 63% from the field, while out rebounding the Suns 21-14 and outscoring the Suns 34-22 in the paint. Scott Williams, he of Suns color analyst fame commented that Blake Griffin was a Michael Jordan clone. That preposterous idea was of no matter as Taylor's brother went for 19 and 8 to end the half.
The Suns shot 49%, Steve Nash went 1-8, but Gortat and Pietrus went a combined 7-13 to keep the Suns afloat, down 61-49 at the half.
In the second half, the Suns made a few adjustments. none larger than placing the 38-year-old wonder Grant Hill on the 22 year old phenom, Blake Griffin. The result was Griffin scoring only 9 points for the remainder of the game, whining like a little school boy %^*ch, and fouling out in the 4th before crunch time started. The Suns continued to look for Mikael Pietrus, who dropped 18 second half points.
In the 4th, the Clippers went on a 14-4 run, turning a tie game into a 10-point lead. The Suns reduced the lead to 1 but could come no closer as the hack-an-Andre game plan all ended in tears. Clips 108, Suns 103.
Amateur Thoughts, Observations, and Random Comments:
Things got testy in this game on a few occasions. Mikael Pietrus fouled some Clipper by grabbing his arm, and what was a typical foul turned into a Blake Griffin, Barron Davis whinefest, and eventually into a flagrant foul. I call bullshit and I don't care who disagrees with me. Pietrus grabbed the guys arm who was evidently off balance and somehow these men turned into little pre-pubescent girls and the refs join in....Whatever...
Gotta admit, this is the first full game I watched Taylor's brother play. He is an awesome athlete, a monstrous NBA talent, and whiny little bitch all to boot. Yes, Blake I get that you aren't going to take any veterans pushing you around. Got it. No problem. But you whined a whole lot today. To officials, at your opponents, etc. Let's get something straight, if you want to be taken seriously as an NBA player, shut your mouth and play. You'll earn a lot more respect much quicker.
Childress Vs. Pietrus Vs. Warrick
OK, you got me, I'm seriously hearting Pietrus right now. Pietrus is the 2 the Suns need to replace JRich. He can shoot in streaks, he can defend, he's a hard nosed guy who isn't afraid to toss some opponents around. With time on the court with Nash he will become consistent from long range and a very effective 2. OK, he can stretch as a 3 and yes Vince Carter is allegedly waiting in the wings. If I'm Babby/Blanks, etc., I'm looking to package Vince and Warrick somewhere for a backup 4 and a draft pick. Warrick plays zero defense, cannot shoot from outside and lives solely on the roll part of the Pick 'N. Dump him. The Suns have enough wings. J-Chill will continue to improve as he gets healthier, and if you've noticed, he's put in plenty of time at the 4. Dudz is just fine as a backup 2. Here's what I'm thinking:
C: Lopez/Gortat (or vice versa)
That's a 9 man rotation. I'd give Carter 5-7 games to see what happens to adjust my thinking. If it ain't working, make a move.
Props to this man. He locked up Blake in the 2nd half, he plays at a speed that most youngsters don't play at, and he's got some stones that not many in the NBA will ever have. EXTEND HIM ANOTHER YEAR.
The Polish Hammer
Nice game. 11 points and 5 rebounds. I still think he's better than that. I predict practice time wars between Gortat and Lopez which is a good thing. A great thing. I really don't care who starts, but Robin Lopez played 10 minutes, logging 3 PF's. You do the math here. There's no free lunch, Robin.
Suns Oversleep for Clippers Game (SB Nation Seth P)
The brightest spot for the Suns was new-comer Mickael Pietrus who showed the combination of perimeter defense and clutch shooting that will make him a fan favorite in Phoenix in no time if he plays at anything close to this level. Pietrus finished with a team-high 25 points and mixed in a few aggressive drives along with his five three-point shots.
More photos » Rick Scuteri - AP
Channing Frye's Role Has Now Been Defined. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Raise your hand if you had circled this game on your planet ORNG calendar about week ago. After running the gauntlet against the Mavericks, Spurs, Thunder and Heat, playing the Clippers seemed like a welcome respite.
But no more. When Jared Dudley becomes your leading scorer your squad probably has some problems. And it's no knock against Dudz, it's great to see him on a scoring tear. Seriously though, someone else on the Suns is going to have to step up and score some points. Seriously.
Today Vince Carter is both doubtful and probable (depending on your source) to make his Suns debut. I'm uncertain as to whether he will start or not, but I will be closely eyeing the tweet machine in order to provide BSOTS with up to date TOTAL COVERAGE. (I tweeted Dudz to give me the 411-I'm sure he'll respond soon).
The prospect of starting Carter though seems to provide some, well, uncertainty...Do you mess with Dudley's rhythm and send him back to the pine? If Carter is playing, wouldn't it be best to match him with Nash as opposed to Dragon? That is, won't Nash make it a smidge easier to get Carter some open looks? In addition, the Suns first team needs another scoring threat, especially if teams continue to double Nash. I won't tax my brain too much thinking about this one, that's why they pay Alvin Gentry the big bucks-to figure these things out.
[Note by Wil Cantrell, 12/26/10 12:04 PM MST ]
Per Paul Coro, Vince Carter will not play today.
Today the Clips will be without Chris Kaman, Craig Smith, and Brian Cook. The good news is Ike Diogu has a job again!
I'll be wearing these, which my 9 year old got me for Christmas:
Some Pre-Game Bullets:
Inspirational Pre-Game Quote:
"I think we should be optimistic...We've got to continue to get tougher...We are going to need a little more time, but I think we are capable of winning games in the meantime."
Pre Game Links:
Suns Work on D, Struggle on O (Paul Coro):
"You can't look at your defensive stats and see that you're 30th, 30th, 29th, 27th. That's not good enough, not to be a playoff team and be a factor in anything."
Suns Meet Beatable Foe (SB Nation-Seth P.)
Vince Carter (knee) hasn't yet practiced with his new team and on Friday was listed as questionable for this game. If he does play he will immediately move into the starting lineup to try and replace the scoring that the team was missing without Jason Richardson. If he can't go, Jared Dudley will again get the start. Dudley set consecutive career-highs in his last two starts but said that was mostly due to the way opponents were helping off him to defend Steve Nash and the pick and roll.
Don't forget game time is 1 PM MTN