More photos » Ross D. Franklin - AP
Nash will be driving on 'Melo again tonight. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
While we're all hung over from the win over the Lakers, we have to hope the Suns aren't just as hung over.
Tonight is a prime opportunity to steal the second of these 4 really tough games (@Lakers, Nuggets, @Miami, @Orlando) before the schedule begins to ease up a bit. After game 16, the Suns get the slightest bit of breathing room on the slate.
I for one am very happy that the schedule has been a b!tch, now that the Suns have weathered much of the storm with an improbable above-.500 record. Now the Suns have something to fall back on when the lull hits (and it will hit, for sure). They know they can beat any team despite atrocious rebounding.
Remember when I wrote that rebounding doesn't matter?
Of course, that's ludicrous unless you remember the context in which I meant that statement. But if you don't, look no further than the first 9 games of the season for proof. 8 of 9 have been against teams that won 40+ games last year and are strong again this season. All 9 have outrebounded the Suns. Yet, despite having no idea how to best play together, despite having a terrible start from 3 of their 4 "big men", despite having their new Swiss-Army-knife swingman unable to grip a basketball, despite repeatedly losing the rebounding battle in embarassing fashion, they are able to beat anyone.
And now the rest of the league knows this too.
Teams have to fear the Suns again.
Rebounding half their own misses won't be enough. They have to rebound/putback most of their misses AND make lots of shots AND guard the perimeter AND guard the fast break AND stop Warrick from being Amare-lite AND cover the backdoor cuts AND stop the 2-headed bizzaro-world monster known as the PG combo of Nash and Dragic. And if they do all that, Hedo might still hit the backbreaking 3 in crunch time. Or Grant Hill might still defy aging and put up PF numbers. Or JRich might just drop 40 on them anyway.
Speaking of Hedo, how about that performance last night? I loved it.
Meanwhile, Amare's Knicks are mired in a 5-game losing streak, and he doesn't know why his teammates are okay with it.
Next up: Denver Nuggets
The Suns have owned this team recently, but if anyone can get hot and outshoot the Suns it's the Nuggets. They are just as potent and bigger (despite missing Andersen and Martin from the front line).
Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Ty Lawson, Chauncey Billups, Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington... the list goes on.
When these guys are hot, watch out.
But the thing with the Nuggets is that they can beat themselves, and often do just that.
Which Nuggets team will we see tonight?
Which Suns team will we see tonight?
Phoenix Suns Schedule Denver Nuggets Who Haven't Won In Phoenix Since 2004 - SB Nation Arizona
The Denver Nuggets have not beaten the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix since before Steve Nash re-joined the Suns in 2004. That's a total of 11 consecutive home wins for Phoenix over Denver. Tonight will certainly be a challenge for the Suns to keep that streak alive as they come in after last night's road win over the Lakers while the Nuggets are fresh and rested. That said, there's a reason the Suns have won 16 of the last 22 meetings between these two teams -- the Nuggets are a good match up for the Suns.
Join me, @JaredDudley619, at the 3rd Annual @PhoenixSuns Tweetup on Friday, December 10th! With this special offer, you'll get:
Early entry into @USAirwaysCenter to watch the Suns warm up
Discount on pregame "Twitter Tailgate" concessions
A cool Suns Tweet-Up t-shirt
Group seating, so you'll be with fellow tweeps
Exclusive postgame Q&A with me, @JaredDudley619!
Yup, leave it to me to rain on the rain parade, but I simply can't take too much from that win. Sure, it was fun. A lot of fun to beat the Lakers, but let's not delusionally assume that somehow the Suns have catapulted themselves into the top-tier in the West.
We know that the Suns have a lot of shooters and we know that there are some nights when those shooters will kill teams, but taking 40 three-point shots is not how you win a playoff series. Great win, but just like it's a mistake to overreact to some losses, it would be a mistake to take too much from this one.
We know the Suns are going to put up points and there will be fun nights like yesterday, but you better believe that Gentry and the rest of that team understands they are going to have to rebound the ball better to really win games that matter. As in four-out-of-seven games against the same team in spring time.
Phoenix Suns With Guns Blazing Down Los Angeles Lakers, 121-116 - SB Nation Arizona
It was a great win for the Phoenix Suns over the Los Angeles Lakers. Any win for Phoenix over the Lakers is a great win. But when it takes a franchise-high, 22 three-point shots, you don't exactly have a recipe for success. It was just one of those games where the guys made shots and the Lakers, for whatever reason, refused to defend the three-point line until it was too late. The vast majority of the Suns threes were wide open attempts.
Video: Phoenix Suns Drop 22 Threes On The Los Angeles Lakers - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
Reading through the post game quotes from both sides, you get a mixed bag of reaction. The Suns certain credit "hot shooting," but also seemed to say the style of play and fast pace created the opportunities. The Lakers, or at least some of them, basically are saying, "Whatever, they got lucky.
But to really answer the burning question, "Great (lucky) Suns shooting or poor (lazy) Lakers defense?", we need to check the tape and fortunately YouTube provides a video of each one of the Suns' 22 three-point shots. Watch and learn.
Remember when these guys called the Suns a "speed bump"? Oops..
Lakers 116, Suns 121: An Amber Alert Is Out on the Lakers' Defense - Silver Screen and Roll
The problem was that the concept of guarding outside shooters seems to have been eliminated from the Laker game plan. Every Phoenix possession seemed to start with Steve Nash penetrating past Derek Fisher and forcing another defender to collapse. That set in motion a series of quick passes that ended with a shooter catching the ball outside the arc with no Laker within a city block and five seconds to line up a shot. Goran Dragic buried three triples, and typically that would be a game-high total. Tonight it was only good for fourth-highest on his own team. Channing Frye hit four, Hedo Turkoglu hit five (WTF?! TRADE EVERYONE!!!) and Jason Richardson was unacceptably allowed to hit seven. There were plenty of open looks that just rimmed out, too. All credit to the Suns for generating those shots and knocking so many of them down, but the Laker D was just an epically fucked-up disaster.
More game coverage
Suns 121, Lakers 116: Phoenix Sets Franchise Three-Point Record In Win - SB Nation Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Lakers used Sunday as a day of rest for their defense, and as a result were handed their second straight defeat, by the hot-shooting Phoenix Suns, 121-116 at Staples Center.
"They had a good shooting night. A historical shooting night, not just a good shooting night. That doesn’t happen very often, as we all know, and it happened tonight. Too bad, and you got to move on and understand that we could have done something different, but I think you live with a team shooting 40 [three-pointers]." - Pau Gasol
David Arquette Is Handling Things Well - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Here's David Arquette at the Lakers-Suns game Sunday night: He seems to be doing well and does not at all seem to be desperately grasping for attention. He is certainly a 39-year-old adult, that much is sure.
Phoenix Suns defeat Los Angeles Lakers behind 3-point barrage
Jared Dudley was called for an offensive foul on a baseline drive and lost his balance, falling into Lopez's left knee and spraining it. Lopez will have an MRI exam. "It's a little stiff but I think it's going to be OK," Lopez said. I got a positive checkup on it in the locker room. It was painful, but I'm able to walk it."
Lakers lose to long shots - latimes.com
The Lakers (8-2) also had some unsettling medical news, with two players scheduled to visit doctors Monday morning for MRI exams. Lamar Odom was slowed somewhat by a sore right foot, saying it felt like the top of it was burning, and Theo Ratliff continued to be bothered by a sore left knee. "It's been aching, especially in the morning," said Odom, who limped out of the locker room after the game. "But I've been playing a lot of basketball. Hopefully it's just wear and tear. Hopefully there is nothing wrong."
Phoenix Suns 121, Los Angeles Lakers 116 -- Live by the 3, die by the 3
"We can’t walk it up the floor against their length," Steve Nash told The Associated Press. "You see Pau against us, it looks like he’s playing with a nerf hoop on the back of someone’s bedroom door. So we had to make them play in transition, spread the floor and make it a game of speed and skill rather than size."
Phoenix Suns sorting time for wings
"To be honest with you, it has been hard, because Jason's playing extremely well and Grant's playing great," Gentry said. "We'd like to have JD (Jared Dudley) on the floor more. Josh (Childress) seems to play better every game. It's hard to have four guys in two spots. Ideally, you'd have three guys in two spots. It's a good problem to have."
azcentral.com blogs - Coro's Orange Slices - PaulCoro - What a night in L.A.
"We're just so (inappropriate term) small but we fight," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "We tried everything we could to get Pau moved out. That guy's so (inappropriate term) long and he's a lot stronger than anybody thinks he is. We don't have that real physical guy that can be physical with him."
Poor Amare. Not used to being on a crap team and doesn't know what to do ...
Amare Stoudemire Criticizes Teammates After Knicks Lose Fifth Straight To Rockets, 104-96 - SBNation.com
It was the Knicks' fifth straight loss, and the competition hasn't been all that fierce (Philadelphia at home, at Milwaukee, Golden State at home, at Minnesota and Houston at home).
Afterwards, Amare Stoudemire had some choice words for his team's effort. Via Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times. "I'm not sure if it's the fact maybe a winning mentality has never been here. I'm just not used to it. I'm used to winning. I'm used to talking about winning and having that confidence toward winning. You just can't have guys complacent and comfortable with losing."
[...] "I don't understand why we're not playing with the urgency. I'm not used to that. We're not playing like we're on a four-game losing streak, now five. We don't have that sense of urgency. It's almost as if it doesn't matter."
For those needing a dose of Scott Howard this a.m.:
For The Arizona Cardinals The NFC West Was Lost In The Offseason - SB Nation Arizona
The Arizona Cardinals should be winning the NFC West this year. But they're not. It's not excusable.