PHOENIX — There were minimal smiles and zero cheers of celebration in the Phoenix Suns locker room after their 108-100 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday night. But for a team with a 21.2 win...

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Get well soon, Grant. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

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Get well soon, Grant. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

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A win is a win, yes? Even when Manny Harris scorches you for 27 points? Even when your squad turns the ball over 20 times. Add it to the W column, move on.

Tonight the Suns pulled away late in the 4th against the Cavaliers, (losers of 18 of their last 19 games, without 5 players from their usual rotation) for  a 108-100 victory.

Five different Suns scored in double figures, led by Steve Nash's 20 points, 17 assists and 7 rebounds, who won despite losing Grant Hill to a knee injury early on. The Suns scored 30 points in the 3rd, the first time in 20 consecutive quarters.

Props:

  • Robin Lopez looked strong with 15/6 and 3 blocks. He played the PNR well with Nash  and was active on D.
  • Channing Frye was effective at the 4 with 16/12 to go with 3 blocks 2 assists and 2 steals.
  • Nash 3 rebounds short of a triple double. He's an All-Star, still.
  • Vinsane goes for 19/7/3 and a key 3 in the 4th to put the Suns up for good.
  • Dudz gets my game ball. He comes out ready to fight every single night. On this evening he was fighting off an illness but still managed to play 43 minutes off the pine to hit 5 3's and drop 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Stay tuned for more from our man on the scene, Seth for quotes, notes, and much much more.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 01/09/11 9:27 PM MST ]

Phoenix Suns Eke Out Win Over Cleveland Cavaliers - SB Nation Arizona
"Frustration's been mounting for about three months. It's hard, this is very difficult. Just trying to fight though it and stay positive every day is a challenge. Sometimes you have to take a step back to gain perspective but when you get out there, the fire burns and the frustration is there." - Nash

More in that recap about Warrick and his continued role in the rotation.

Audio:

Here's a fun little side note....

While Robin was talking to the media, Pietrus stood behind the scrum and was joshing him by mimicking Robin's mumble voice. Even after it was over and Robin was walking out, MP kept at it while talking to us. Robin looked back as he was walking out and gave him and pretty nasty look. Robin didn't seem to see the humor in it - although it was kind of funny.

Oh, and also on the lighter side, Jared Dudley called Samardo Samuels, "Cookie Monster". 

"They brought the Cookie Monster in, that big dude. I don't even know his name, I mean he was huge."

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • Hickson faces up and drives and scores on Robin...ugh
  • Nash drives and dishes to Frye who bobbles the pass out of bounds...ugh...ugh
  • Vince posting up Manny Harris...that's good
  • Twice now, Hill has lost his footing completely just completely slipped and fell. Is the floor that bad or does he need stick-um on his soles?
  • Game Opns pumping in fake "D-Fense" chants which sound totally fake
  • Horrible transition defense from Suns..and again
  • Hill down hard holding knee...walked off on his own to locker room
  • Cavs up 13-10
  • Cavs up 18-10...Suns look flat and kind of lost again. Intensity level just isn't there. Not playing like a desperate team
  • JJ Hickson out for Samuels..phew, that guy was killing Suns
  • Manny Harris with 8 points. I seriously have to look up his name when I saw it just said M. Harris on the box score online
  • Gorilla birthday w/ lots of other mascots...would be more fun if the Suns weren't sucking right now
  • Nash with 3 turnovers. Hill with three as well but two were result of slipping on the floor
  • Intensity picking up a bit after timeout
  • Warrick in for Lopez. Interesting
  • Refs letting them play today. I don't mind but just so obvious how inconsistent officiating is from game to game
  • Nash/Warrick pick and roll sets up Frye three. 23-22, Cavs
  • Nice block by Frye...that's his 2nd of the game
  • Good ball movement to get Dudley an open 10-foot shot...he missed it but still good work
  • 26-26

2nd Qtr

  • This crowd is dead
  • Gortat in w/ 2nd unit w/ Warrick. Spacing is going to suck
  • Gentry timeout...he's pissed about defense
  • Dragic tweak his knee after landing on a jump shot. Fouls and asks out of the game. Nash in
  • This Warrick/Gortat front line is going to be painful to watch. Both guys have missed wide open mid-range shots. Suns at 28 points with 7:50 to go in the 2nd
  • Warrick intercepts the pass but gives it right back
  • 38-34, Cavs. It's really hard to comprehend how bad this Suns team is right now
  • Suns at least starting to look pissed off out there...that's something
  • Robin's got his shot on tonight...that's nice, someone has to. He does look engaged on both ends
  • Suns offense now going through Frye and Lopez in the post
  • Now Carter in the post
  • You know, I said the Suns were basically giving up this season in my immediate reaction to the trade. Even I didn't think it would be this bad
  • 3rd foul on Carter, MP in
  • 48-50. I honestly have no idea how the Suns have 48 points. Robin w/ 12, Frye w/ 10
  • 52-51

3rd Qtr

  • Manny Harris picks up his second foul...a couple more and the Suns can get that scoring machine of the floor
  • Suns up 60-58. Yippie!
  • When JRich missed a corner three, I was surprised. When Vince hits a corner three, I'm surprised
  • Wow, Cavs 18-3 in first half on fast break points
  • Nash has made some really bad passes
  • You know, I have not seen a single LeBron James jersey at this game. Where did all the Cavs fans go?
  • Carter with 16...another post move against Manny Harris. Need to keep going at that
  • 20 points for Manny wearing # 6 for the Cavs. LeBron James wears #6 for the Heat. Just pointing that out
  • Dragic in at 5:00 min mark along w/ Gortat, Frye, MP and JD. 74-71 Suns
  • Suns get JD open for a three. 79-71
  • Pietrus was slow on that rotation and ran right by the Cavs player as if he was just saying hi. Good defender? Not that time
  • Gortat pushes people just because he can
  • Cavs go on a 10-2 run since Nash went out
  • 81-81

4th Qtr

  • Looks like the Suns will break the 100 mark tonight barring a complete offensive collapse
  • And time out Gentry as Cavs come out and drop a quick 5-0 run on the Suns. That's now 15-2 for the Cavs against Dragic and the bench unit. I guess the mascots dunking didn't fire them up
  • It's come down to Robin Lopez being the guy to cheer the Suns up after Dragic traveled
  • Manny Harris blew right by Vince Carter as if he was standing still. He was standing still at the time. He's still Manny Harris so he blew the lay up w/ some help by Robin's defense
  • JD and GD hit back-to-back threes to tie game at 86. Crowd now pretending to care
  • Nash back in for Carter, Dragic stays on the floor w/ Nash
  • Frye wins the tips and knocks to Nash who tips it to Alonzo Gee (who plays for the other team)
  • Nash hits a three when Cavs go under screen
  • T-shirt toss being used to bribe fans into showing signs of life. It's working of course
  • Vince Carter proving that just because you pass the ball doesn't mean you are good passer. Drive the lane and his kick pass to the open corner was so off that Suns weren't able to get shot off
  • Warrick in for Lopez with 3:38. 95-95. Interesting
  • Gentry's pissed about that charge call on Warrick but it looked legit to me
  • Carter with a big three to earn some free tacos for these poor, hungry fans
  • Dudley to the line shooting two after a run out on the missed Cavs three. Dudley 1-1. 102-96, 1:20
  • Nice rebound by Carter
  • Cavs switch Jamison on to Nash. Nash shoots over him while Warrick takes a charge on the other end. That should do it. 104-96, 47 sec. Suns ball


NEVER SAY  NEVER!



Phoenix Suns 108, Cleveland Cavaliers 100 PHOENIX — If there’s one game the Phoenix Suns can use to right their sinking ship, it’s tonight’s matchup with the NBA bottom-feeder...

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Get up and take it to the rack, Vince.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Get up and take it to the rack, Vince. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Tonight, the Phoenix Suns give their 75% rebuilt selves a shot at winning a game versus arguably the worst team in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers. How bad are both of these teams? Why not compare?

Record

Cavs: 8-28 15th in the EC...3-16 on the road....Lost 9 in a row, 9 of their last 10

Suns: 14-20 12th in the WC ...8-9 at home...Lost 3 in a row, 8 of their last 10

Stats

Rebounding

Cavs:  39.2 per game (26th, NBA)...-3.64 differential (27th, NBA)

Suns:  38.3 per game (30th, NBA)....-6.18 differential (30th, NBA)

Defense 

Cavs:  94.0 ppg...ppg differential:.  -9.48 (30th, NBA)

Suns:  105.7 ppg...ppg differential: -2.74 (20th NBA) 

Offense

Cavs:  43% FG... (30th NBA)...FG% differential:  -.046 

Suns:  47.5% FG...(2nd NBA)...FG% differential:  -.010

 

Woah. Quite a battle shaping up here.  Two teams who can't defend or rebound. Two teams mired in the Winter doldrums of defeat and emotional deflation. Two teams seemingly going in the same direction-down the dark hole that is the toilet of franchise reconstruction. The Cavs lost LeBron. The Suns lost someone of substance too. 

Not getting y'all excited for this one? Well how about a quote from one of the Suns new acquisitions, Vince "Vinsanity" Carter to lift our spirits:

"There's so much talent in here and ability," Suns guard Vince Carter said. "It doesn't matter about size. If we stick to what we do and be who we are, we should be OK but we've got to believe it.

"I think we can do it. I really do."

quote via AZ Republic (Paul Coro)

How's that? Feeling better, Suns fans?


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Antawn Jamison 33 30.3 6.1 13.9 43.9 1.6 4.6 35.8 2.3 3.4 68.1 1.2 4.6 5.8 1.5 1.2 0.7 0.5 2.4 16.2
Mo Williams 29 31.1 5.5 13.7 40.3 1.1 4.0 27.8 2.7 3.2 83.7 0.5 2.4 3.0 7.2 3.0 0.9 0.3 2.5 14.8
Daniel Gibson 32 29.3 4.6 11.2 41.2 1.9 4.4 44.0 2.5 3.0 83.2 0.5 2.8 3.3 3.1 1.3 0.8 0.2 2.6 13.7
J.J. Hickson 34 23.0 4.0 9.0 44.8 0.0 0.1 0.0 2.5 3.8 67.2 1.0 4.2 5.2 0.6 2.0 0.6 0.3 2.1 10.6
Ramon Sessions 35 22.5 3.4 7.9 43.6 0.0 0.1 0.0 3.5 4.3 80.9 0.6 2.3 2.9 4.2 1.7 0.5 0.0 1.0 10.4
Anderson Varejao 31 32.0 3.7 7.0 52.8 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.7 2.6 66.7 3.2 6.5 9.7 1.5 1.3 0.9 1.2 2.8 9.1
Anthony Parker 34 30.6 3.2 8.4 38.3 1.4 3.6 38.8 1.2 1.6 76.4 0.6 2.6 3.2 2.7 1.1 0.9 0.1 1.5 9.1
Christian Eyenga 3 23.3 3.7 7.3 50.0 0.3 3.3 10.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.3 2.7 3.0 1.0 1.7 0.3 1.0 1.7 8.0
Joey Graham 16 19.2 2.8 6.1 45.9 0.3 0.9 28.6 1.2 1.4 82.6 0.3 2.2 2.5 0.4 0.9 0.1 0.1 2.3 7.1
Leon Powe 14 13.3 2.1 4.2 49.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.9 46.2 1.1 1.6 2.7 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.2 1.4 5.0
Ryan Hollins 30 13.1 1.6 2.9 56.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.5 2.1 69.8 1.2 1.2 2.4 0.3 0.6 0.2 0.4 2.2 4.7
Manny Harris 16 13.8 1.6 4.3 37.7 0.4 1.3 35.0 0.5 0.6 80.0 0.4 1.4 1.8 1.4 0.9 0.8 0.1 0.9 4.2
Jamario Moon 27 18.6 1.7 4.4 38.3 0.4 2.1 20.7 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.3 2.6 3.0 1.1 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.9 4.1
Samardo Samuels 5 5.2 1.2 2.0 60.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.4 85.7 0.6 0.4 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.2 3.6
Alonzo Gee 21 12.8 0.9 2.2 41.3 0.1 0.3 28.6 0.8 1.2 68.0 0.9 1.3 2.2 0.5 0.9 0.7 0.2 1.2 2.7

 

Keys to the Game:

Win dammit. Play some D. The Suns have been letting scrubs and youngsters have career nights against them (76ers anyone?). Body up Jamison, keep Varejao from controlling the boards, and get a hand in the grill of Gibson and Williams. On the offensive end, stop settling for long fall away 3's (Vince). Start by working the ball inside to Lopez/Gortat. Attack the rim. Who do the Cavs have to stop buckets in the paint? Make them defend.

Further;

It would be ridiculous to make a remark such as "the Suns need a win to get back on track." But as Supreme Czar of the obvious, I'll go ahead and make that statement. The Suns have a lot of problems to deal with right now, but winning a game here and there could help the psychological segment of the problem. Of course getting a win-against anyone would take a remedy of the other problems. And what is really accomplished with a W versus the worst team in the league? I suppose more than a loss.

Mr. Alex Laugan created an excellent exercise in what I think they term "rosterbation," and with that in mind, I wonder what the lineup will be tonight. My preference is to put Frye at the 4 and leave him there indefinitely. He's the only semblance of a 4 on the squad, and shuffling him in and out of the starting lineup hasn't helped him out. In 33 games as a starter, Frye has shot 45% and averaged 12 and 6. In 13 games as a substitute, he's shot 35%, averaging 9 and 4. Less minutes and opportunities? Probably? Playing without Nash hurting his game? Yes. 

Frye is only one piece of the equation. Robin Lopez presents another conendrum of sorts. His suckitude of late is a contributing reason why the Suns are struggling. First off, is Robin healthy? I assume so. So if he is, there are no excuses. I did notice a little something int he game logs. Lopez hit the skids after a nice 18/14 performance versus the Lakers in which he played 32 minutes. From there on out, the most he played was 18 minutes versus Sacramento. After Lopez's stretch on the DL, he returned and registered 4 double digit scoring efforts out of 5 games. In all of those games he played at least 21 minutes and never registered more than 4 PF's, averaging nearly 6 boards a game.

What's my point? Lopez is a headcase. He's young, prone to extreme stretches of confidence and frustration. The trades have messed up his flow (like everyone else). But it's time to give him an extended shot to get himself back into rhythm. Start him, and give him an extended look (5 games?) and a chance to get back on track.

SB NATION (SETH) Suns Seek Solace....

The Cavs know a thing or two about falling from NBA's graces as well. When LeBron James took his talents to warmer weather and into Dwyane Wade's arms, the Cavs went from a 61-win team to the bottom of the barrel. Their season was always going to be an uphill battle without James. But since LeBron and the Miami Heat stomped the pride out of his former team on December 2, the Cavs have only one game in their last 19 tries. Ironically, their single victory came over the New York Knicks on December 18.

Cavaliers vs Suns coverage

Cavaliers vs Suns preview

Fear The Sword

 

[Note by Seth Pollack, 01/09/11 12:28 PM MST ]

Alvin Gentry Vows Changes For Sinking Phoenix Suns - SB Nation Arizona
"Last year we could play guys whenever we wanted to, who was going good, things like that. I think I've got to find a way to develop some consistency in the rotations and who's going to play and when they're going to play and them have a good feel as to when they're going to come in the game and stuff like that. This team's not a team that can play ten guys. I do understand that now. There's going to be three, four guys that are not going to be in the rotation."

Gentry will start Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Grant Hill, Vince Carter and Steve Nash tonight and said that he would stick with that starting unit for the next ten games and stop trying to adjust to what other teams were doing.

 

Other quotes

  • "Obviously, I'm not immune to criticism of what we're trying to get done...At the end of the day, I'm responsible for guys playing well and developing a chemistry and I've got to get that done."
  • "You add new guys to the mix that have some versatility and you try to put them in those positions and stuff but it was something that didn't work. It hasn't worked. In my case, I just have to try and establish some more consistency and a pattern of rotations and substitutions and see if that's something that can help with the overall mindset of a guy and how he plays."
  • "This is going to be it. I can pretty much tell you that whoever starts tonight is probably going to starts for the next ten games."
  • "We've got to play more up tempo and get into the open court more."
  • It's been up tempo here in 1976. That's what the fans are used to. 
  • The purpose of signing Zabian Dowdell was to be able to rest Nash during practice. Zabian came close to making team last time he was here. Matt needed more work to polish his skills. Zabian has more pro experience.
  • "Obviously, (the fans) want you to win, but they want to be able to leave the arena and feel good about they saw and you can't blame them for that."
  • The offensive pace and remaining consistent defensively is the immediate goal for tonight.

Here's a couple of fun links looking at Vince Carter (video breakdown) and Earl Clark

Vince Carter likes to point - Posting and Toasting

In the Suns' 121-96 blowout loss to the Knicks last night, Carter spent a lot of the third quarter pointing. Usually a player will point for props, but there aren't many to be given out in a blowout loss. And since Carter was on the losing side, he surely couldn't have been pointing at the scoreboard. So, what was he pointing at?

Orlando Magic 110, Houston Rockets 95: Locker-Room Notes - Orlando Pinstriped Post
"I think that Earl is going to be a really, really good player. I really do," said Van Gundy.

"He's offensively very talented: he's got great quickness, he can shoot the ball, he can put it on the floor. He is a very hard-working guy. He's the first guy in here every day. He comes in on every off day. Every game he doesn't play in, if you go in the gym afterwards, he's in there working out after games [at] 10 o'clock at night."

 


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