"How do you turn a Conference Finals runner up into a sub-.500 team in one year? Hire former NBA agent Lon Babby to run your basketball operations."
Rough words, but there's no arguing with the results. What say you?
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that I failed to correct a factual inaccuracy in the original post by Andrew at Denver Stiffs.
In his post Andrew incorrectly stated, "On Babby's watch, the Suns lost Stoudemire to the Knicks..."
Stoudemire was lost to free agency before Babby was hired. The post also fails to state that Childress and Warrick were Babby's "former" clients when they were signed by the Suns.
Apologies for that oversight.
Not bad. Not bad at all. I thought the players had checked out? I thought I would see a boring game with no intensity and passion? Instead, I saw ten players who love the game. I saw ten players who weren't willing to just lie down, take their paychecks and call it a season. They played and fought, not for money, but for the sake of basketball itself, for the love of the game.
I'm impressed. Being the second to last game of the season and perhaps the year, I very much enjoyed it. I don't know what to expect against the Spurs in a couple days, but I consider tonight's game the encore of the season. For the Suns, their season had pretty much ended a couple weeks ago, but the players decided to go out there and give it their best. They put on a show and it was good one, a performance worth watching. I'm grateful I was able to witness it.
Not going to lie though. I wasn't too enthusiastic about this game for the most part, but the players changed that when they picked up the intensity during the latter part of the 3rd quarter. Yes, I still didn't want the game to go into overtime, but the Suns managed to hang on and save me the heartbreak of another letdown.
Here's the breakdown for those who missed the game.
From the 2nd quarter through most of the 3rd, it was much the same. Neither team played any defense and both teams shot around 60% from the field. Throughout this stretch, the Wolves managed to stay ahead by around 4-8 points. However, something changed in the latter part of the 3rd. Jared Dudley decided he wasn't going to lose this game even though a win would mean nothing. Jumper after jumper, three after three, layup after layup until the Suns regained the lead 92-91 all due to the awesomeness of Dudz.
In the 4rth quarter, both teams continued to shoot well and the Suns could never gain any separation as every time they'd get up by three or two the T-Wolves would continue to score and put the pressure on Phoenix to get a defensive stop. Didn't happen as Webster hit a three to give the Wolves a 119-118 lead with 38 seconds to go.
The game only got more awesome from there on.
Here's what happened....
Suns inbound, they get the ball to Frye, he shoots, he misses! Dudley gets the offensive rebound! He passes to Nash! Eddie Johnson says, "You don't need to shoot a THREE!", Nash says, "I'm Steve Clutch Nash, I do whatever I want!". Bam! He hits a three with 27 seconds to go, Suns up 121-119!
Beasley then gets fouled by Warrick and makes the shot.... However, he misses the free-throw. OVERTIME!
It's OT, the Wolves lead 124-123. Two minutes to go. Dudley steals the ball from Ridnour, he passes to Frye, Frye hits his 9th three-pointer of the night, a CAREER HIGH! Timberwolves miss, Grant scores, Suns up 128-124. Wolves turn the ball over, a 24-second violation! Yes, go defense! Nash passes, he gets it to Dudley, from the corner, for three....AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! DAAGGGEERRRR!
Suns up 131-124 with 47 seconds left. Free throws from there on out. Suns win 135-127!
It's no coincidence that these were the five from the Suns to step up and show their love and passion for the game by willing the team to a win.
Not a bad game.
Phoenix Suns Take Overtime And Ton Of Threes To Beat Minnesota Timberwolves, 135-127 - SB Nation Arizona
Aaron Brooks (5 points, 5 assists, 18 min.) was out-played by Zabian Dowdell (8 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, 15 min.). They traded time playing point with Zabian looking far more effective running the team.
Robin Lopez didn't play at all as the Suns wanted to get a look at Garret Siler in more realistic game situations. Some in the organization think he can be a backup to Marcin Gortat at center next season. Siler didn't impress in his 12 minutes of play, finishing with just two points, five rebounds, and four fouls.