Nash only constant in Phoenix

Nash talks about having to once again learn new team mates...

Also busting the myth that Robin Lopez is a foul machine.


Nobody said preseason basketball was important, but it continually becomes harder and harder to pull positives from the Phoenix Suns’ performances. It is a learning process for the new-look...

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Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, top, drives to the hoop past Raptors guard Sonny Weems (24) during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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7 days ago: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, top, drives to the hoop past Raptors guard Sonny Weems (24) during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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It's kind of become old hat now. The Suns starters start strong and from there things go south in a hurry. But it's all good. Or at least it's all excusable.

With the majority of second half minutes played by guys who will either not be on the roster at all or will be in a deep bench role come regular season, I'm going to pretend it didn't happen. It certainly doesn't matter much.

Those minutes do matter a heck-of-a-lot to Matt Janning (18 min., 6 points); Gani Lawal (12 min., 7 points) and Zabian Dowdell (12 min., 0 points) and mostly to Earl Clark (7:40 min., 2 points) but for the Suns season overall, they are non-critical. 

And with the game not on TV, it's hard to say much about those guys other than that Al McCoy calls Matt Janning, "Matt Channing". But he's Al McCoy so he can do whatever he wants. No complaints here.

The portion of the game that was most troubling was the 2nd quarter.

The starters got out to a nice 33-22 lead after one and turned it over to the Suns Super Subs: Dudley, Warrick, Frye, Childress and Dragic -- the unit that's supposed to be great defensively and lift this team to great heights.

That unit was on the floor together for 4 minutes before Siler came in for Frye. They were outscored 9-6 in that period which isn't horrible by any means. Channing had no points, 2 turnovers and a foul in that stretch.

Gentry then went with that unit (second unit plus Siler, minus Frye) for another 3 1/2 minutes and they were +1 in that stretch. Still, not that bad.

Then Gentry brought back Nash, Hill, Richardson and Clark and left Warrick on the floor. Who's the center in that group? No matter, they were +4 over the next 3 minutes before Turkoglu came in for Warrick.

Turkoglu, Nash, Hill, Clark and Richardson. That unit went -7 over the final 2:26 of the quarter.

So on second thought, I'm not concerned about the 2nd quarter at all but if I'm Earl Clark's agent I might be worried.

4 minutes from Frye. 2:30 from Siler. No Lopez and oh, the Suns were +1 on the offensive glass. The problem was scoring (22 pts on 38% FG for the Suns) and giving up 20 points in the paint to the Raptors leading to their 31 points on 52% shooting.

It wasn't pretty but it was Gentry experimenting.

So overall, the Suns played legit regular season ball for 1 quarter and looked good. Panic button stowed ... for now.


No more Chucky Atkins to blame...

Jonathan Hayward - AP

No more Chucky Atkins to blame...

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According to the Gentry, this will be the final preseason game that sees 14 or 15 guys playing. After today, he's going to go with a regular season 10-man rotation in the final games on Tuesday (Warriors) and Friday (Nuggets). 

That won't matter for today. Today, we will see a lot of what we've seen so far which hasn't exactly been conducive to winning -- but winning in the preseason is not a primary goal.

Of course, don't tell that to Steve Nash:

"Personally, I don't like losing, especially when you get your ass handed to you. So, I don't want that to happen again," Nash said.

Links:

Suns Look To Avenge Embarrassing Preseason Beating By Raptors, 10 A.M. AZT - SB Nation Arizona
"We've got a lot of guys we're trying to incorporate into the lineup. Right now we're playing, I don't know, 14 or 15 guys. So, it's hard to really judge the complete picture when we're playing so many guys and still trying to find combinations."

3 in the Key - Raptors Game-Day Preview vs The Suns - Raptors HQ

Never mind then but in all seriousness, the Suns have been playing guys like Janning and Earl Clark heavy minutes in pre-season while resting studs like Nash and J Rich. The Raps need to take advantage of this, plain and simple. If they can't, Hedo Turkoglu won't be the only player getting booed tomorrow...

Toronto is a funny town....

  • Welcome back Turk? Not likely - thestar.com Turkoglu and the Suns are in Toronto to play the Raptors again Sunday afternoon and if there’s any sure thing in the world, it’s that the washout Toronto free agent will be treated with disdain bordering on outright hatred the minute he walks on the court. It’s kind of a tradition among Raptor fans.
  • Hedo loves the spotlight | Basketball | Sports | Toronto Sun Turkoglu was booed when he was introduced, when he touched the ball, but was cheered by Phoenix’s followers when he finally scored a bucket. Steve Nash was showered with applause, much like he will on Sunday, providing a rare moment when a hero and anti-hero were cast. And they’re on the same team. Turkoglu loves the attention, much like he basked in the booing that greeted last season when Toronto visited Portland, a city Turkoglu spurned to sign with Toronto last off-season.


It’s amazing how much further from the box score advanced stats are taking NBA fans these days. The guys over at Hickory-High.com have been writing about a stat called “Expected...

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