Where have you been, Jason? (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Don Ryan - AP

Where have you been, Jason? (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

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Let's get it on!

Coaches Notes:

  • 1st of 8 keys to the game in locker room -- be prepared for full court pressure
  • Asked if this was an extra important game, Gentry said they are all "must wins"
  • Gentry talked about how hard it is to play off the bench and to come into the game cold and deliver right away but the guys have to develop that mentality. This is a produce and play type rotation
  • When Robin comes back, Gentry said it's unlikely he wold immediately move back into the starting lineup but things can change. Again, Alvin said that Robin is not the calvary
  • "When you have 5 guys at 2 positions, it doesn't work out. Mathematically, it doesn't work out. " 


Let's take this one, guys! (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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Let's take this one, guys! (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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No one is going to cheer harder than I will at the game tonight.

 

Unfortunately, the most that's going to accomplish until the fourth quarter (unless the Phoenix Suns reverse their trend of allowing 10+ point second-half leads to opponents at home) is garner derisive sideways glances from my fellow ticketholders from the Sun city or Gilbert area. One problem with expensive tickets is that the original fanbase who bought them 20-25 years ago are now much older than their prime.

But I digress.

We get Portland again. Fancy that. After tonight, the Suns will have played Portland 9 times in their last 40 meaningful games (playoffs and regular season), splitting the first 8 right down the middle. Seems like a lot, doesn't it? Will, it is.

I think each team knows what to expect from the other. And as usual, the winner will likely be the one with the most surprise performances from its supporting cast. Camby can get 20 rebounds, and Roy and Aldridge can fuddle their way to 25 points and the Suns will still win. But if Rudy and Matthews get 30+ between them, and another 1-2 rotation players make an outsized contribution, then the Suns will end the game with frustrated looks on their faces and a lot of heavy practices on the horizon.

Portland used their collective hard work and will to beat the Magic last night. I's a bad thing for the Suns that the Blazers' collective morale is sky high right now, but it's also a good thing for the Suns because Portland will have a hard time maintaining this inspired play.

Teams like Portland and Phoenix hover around .500 for a reason.

Portland's problem is offense. Phoenix's problem is defense. Both are one of the worst in the league.

Portland is 23rd in PPG (95.3), 28th in FG% (43.3%) and 24th in 3-pt% (33%). Yet, they are 16th in offensive efficiency because they are #1 in the league in offensive rebounding. Their entire offense is based on second-chance points. Ruh-Roh for the Suns on that stat.

For the Suns to win, they need to REBOUND THE BALL on Portland's misses. Duh, right? I know, I'm a genius.

Oh, and a certain SG needs to get his stroke back. Has their ever been a more extreme hot/cold player on the team the past decade than Jason Richardson? When he's hot, you think he'll never miss again. Until he does.

A little housekeeping:

I am out of town on business today without my laptop - using the hotel lobby computer right now - and will return to Phoenix just in time for the game tonight.

I'm writing this preview at 8am and pre-scheduling the first and second-half game threads for tonight. If there's big Suns news during the day today, this preview post will have no idea it happened. I'm hoping Seth or Wil or someone will make sure you are properly informed, though. 

When I get home after the game I'll write a first-person recap of what will hopefully be an exhilirating win. Talk to you all then!

Lots of gameday stuff: Trail Blazers vs Suns coverage

And check out our friends over at Blazersedge

[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/10/10 3:31 PM MST ]

Safe travels, Alex!

Here's my game preview that not surprisingly focuses on the need for the Suns bench to play well.

Phoenix Suns Schedule Revenge Game Against Portland Trail Blazers - SB Nation Arizona
The Suns face the Blazers at home for the first time this season. They were in both games in Portland, but lost in the fourth quarter each time. The Suns will hope to take advantage of a tired opponent who played the late TNT game last night before traveling to Phoenix.

and then also some reaction to the Earl Clark trade rumors (that aren't likely to come true so don't get to excited/depressed)

Earl Clark For Solomon Jones Trade Rumor Analysis - SB Nation Arizona
There's a minor trade rumor reported by Hoops World that the Phoenix Suns are talking to the Indiana Pacers about trading Earl Clark for Solomon Jones. Clark and Jones are both 6-10 forwards, but they are very different players. 


Trail Blazers 101, Suns 94 PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns’ starters carried them in Tuesday’s loss to Portland, and the bench brought them back in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the...

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


I didn't know what to title this post, so I decided to use the title that I had pegged for my failed self-help book. I wasn't exactly able to get the entire thing written, because the title was so damn awesome, there was no awesomeness left in me after coming up with it. I didn't really feel like helping others anyway after a while, just kind of a phase I guess. But I digress.

I view BSOTS as a semi-responsibility of life, right up there with washing one's self and giving people compliments. Ok, so it's obviously something that doesn't have to be done every day. Returning now after a brief excursion, I see that some things never change. The ESPN trade machine is still abused more than Hedo in the post, Blazers fans are still the whiniest bunch of minions on the innernets (which explains why Portland is so damp), and we don't have any more of an idea about the 2010/2011 Phoenix Suns now than we did in August. That comforts me, because it's a sign that I didn't really miss much 'round these parts.

 

More waxing after the jump...

What I've digested about these Suns so far...

I don't know.

After using the word "digested", I came to the conclusion that if this Suns team were a food, it would most closely resemble this Chinese/Mexican hybrid dish that I consumed one brave evening. I enjoyed all of the individual parts of it, I didn't want to part with any of it, yet somehow I knew that like Stevando Turkowarridress Frye-Rich, the combination just wasn't going to work. Regardless, I proceeded to gorge the entire thing, and wasn't able to ascertain exactly what was going on in my stomach for the rest of the evening.

Will the Phoenix Suns have any more of a direction after whatever the hell might happen this year finally happens? I've come to the conclusion that I don't care, really. Much like I didn't care about the concerns that my brain and stomach were raising about that Chinese/Mexican dish, any concerns about my Suns are falling on deaf ears, because I don't really have a choice. I didn't have a choice to eat that orange chicken quesadilla with beans and rice and wontons all mixed together, because I can't un-commit to going through with something. I said I would eat it, so I ate it. Consequences be damned.

Likewise, the Suns are a part of my being, and I know that I've come way too far to not be a devoted fan, year in and year out. That ship sailed a looooong time ago. Maybe I'm blessed, perhaps I'm screwed, but I always say not to worry about things that you can't control. Well, being a Suns fan is beyond my control, so why get all misty over Amare being gone? Why whine about defense and rebounding? Why curse Robert Horry and John Paxson and Mario Elie? I would be here now if the Suns had won 8 straight titles, I would be here now if they hadn't made the playoffs in ten years. It doesn't really matter.

The Future Is Unwritten

The late Joe Strummer once sang:

"Some is rich, some is poor, that's the way the world is... But I don't believe in lying back, saying how bad your luck is..."

I think we can all dig that. I know I can.

It's so easy to get caught up in the frustration of being an Arizona sports fan. There has only been one major title that we can claim in Phoenix since team sports began here (including only NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL, sorry Mercury), that I know of. For chrissakes, Tucson has equaled that. Making matters worse, being the "transplant town" that Phoenix is, our arenas are usually bustling with a bunch of jackasses that are wearing the colors of the opposing teams. You can't go to a Suns v. Bulls game without seeing a bunch of red-clad fat dudes gorging on hot dogs and bragging about championships. You can't go to a Cardinals v. Cowboys game without seeing way more dudes (and chicks) with mullets than anyone should ever see. Can't go to a D-Backs v. Giants game without the ass-errific aroma of garlic fries wafting through the air. Can't go to a Suns v. Lakers game without getting your car broken into (hahaha ok that was a cheapshot). It's bloody depressing at times.

All of that considered, I used to say such things as "well it will be that much sweeter when our time comes". Not anymore. Even if there is a cosmic balance in which things even out in the universe, I don't think it takes the NBA into consideration. We may never see true glory. How many Red Sox fans died as old men before 2004? If you want to be a happy fan, enjoy Nash and Hill. Watch some videos of Walter D and Charles Barkley. Check out game 5 versus the Celtics in the 1976 Finals if you never have before. Don't make your love for the Suns contingent on the success or failure of the future. The future is unwritten, therefore it is unreliable. Enjoy the present. Enjoy the future too, just don't get too hung up over the details. You're here, win or lose. You know it's true.

I Feel Much Warmer Now, Thank You!

You're welcome. Snuggle it, then frame it. Touch it and sigh. It's going to be ok; everything is going to be ok. We're not here to get something tangible out of it. Nothing is guaranteed to us. We allsome of us bust our asses at work only to scrape by, yet we'll plunk down a significant chunk of our dough to watch millionaires play a game of basketball. Why do we do it? Because of the purple and orange. Because the uniform they wear means something to us. Even when Garret Siler wears it and it gets all stretched out and the number 20 looks more like 200, it still means something to us. It's a little corner of life that we can escape in. It's something that we can pass on to those that are important to us, because it makes us feel so good that we want to share it. It has made Ed Nealy, Jerrod Mustaf, Horacio Llamas, Joe Kleine, Jake Tsakalidis and Pat Burke all unforgettable to us. That's how special this shit is.

So when you watch tomorrow's game, instead of wishing for a big man, try and imagine a world without our Suns. Imagine Halloween coming without the excitement of a new season of basketball. Imagine a February without rosterbating in the dark over who the Suns might deal for. Then drink a beer, have a pickle, do whatever it is you do to add to the enjoyment of your Suns game, because you know that you can't help but follow this team. 

Congratulate yourself. It's one damn enjoyable compulsion to have.

Anything else is just a bonus.

Happy hunting everyone.


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