Picture in your mind the bar scene from Star Wars. For those not with us in 1976, here's what I'm talking about as re-enacted by the Great Richard Pryor (and if you don't know who he is then we can't be friends).

That's what this Network-wide Open Playoff Thread Game is and forever shall be. It's a big bar scene with NBA freaks fans coming together to chat about Star Wars.

Be friendly to the alien life forms you might encounter here or the thread's bouncers might be forced to BLAST YOU with their laser blaster ban pistols.

"These are not the trolls you are looking for."

Sunday's Playoff Game Schedule:

GAME 1: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics at 1pm ET / 10am PT on ABC

The Knicks lead 3-0 and will go for the sweep over their big bros to the north but will be w/o the elbows of J.R. Smith who's serving a suspension for laying too much pipe. Seriously though, who among us hasn't dreamed of elbowing Jason Terry in the grill?

CelticsBlog | Posting and Toasting

GAME 2: Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT on ABC

LeBron will sweep the Bucks. Game over. Open your beer now and pour one out for the Bucks.

Hot Hot Hoops | Brew Hoop

GAME 3: San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers at 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT on TNT

Beat LA! Mission about to be accomplished.

Pounding the Rock | Silver Screen and Roll

GAME 4: Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets at 9:30pm ET / 6:30pm PT on TNT

Chances are good the start of the best game of the day won't be shown on TV because Turner can't figure out how to use its dedicated NBA channel to handle situations where the early game runs late (as they always do). So, let me say in advance, GRRRRRRR!

Golden State of Mind| Denver Stiffs

And because this is SO GOOD and you were probably too lazy to click the link that I provided above...


Talk about reading the tea leaves and wondering if they're just simply tea leaves...

Yesterday, some Suns bloggers received a LinkedIn request from longtime NBA executive Mark Warkentien to 'connect'. For those who don't know anything about LinkedIn, it's a business-oriented social networking site that hooks up like-minded business folks. The application find people like you and suggests virtual hookups, then it's up to you to initiate the connection.

Warkentien currently lists himself as Director of Player Personnel for the New York Knicks, with prior affiliations to the Rockets, Nuggets and Cavaliers.

Three-plus decades as a Team Builder in a myriad of major-college and NBA environments; three collegiate Final Fours at UNLV, 1000+ NBA wins while never experiencing a losing season as teams won Division Championships in Seattle, Portland, Denver and New York.

Absolute professional goal is to procure a NBA Championship ring to go along with NCAA Championship ring won at UNLV in 1990.

Warkentien was NBA Executive of the Year in 2009 when Denver went to the Western Conference Finals with Carmelo Anthony leading the way on the court.

A year later, he was out of a job along with Rex Chapman as Denver turned to Masai Ujiri to try to keep Carmelo happy in Denver when Anthony wanted a bigger market. Ujiri ended up trading Anthony, as you all know.

That summer of 2010, Warkentien was on Lon Babby's list of potentials for the GM position. Warkentien requested permission from the Nuggets to talk to three teams that summer, none of whom hired him. He eventually left Denver, made a short stopover in Houston, and landed in New York.

As he said above, he's been in the NBA for a long, long time and never experienced a losing season.

Interestingly, Warkentien makes several references on his LinkedIn profile to high attendance figures in seasons he was part of NBA front offices. With the Suns coming off their worst attendance in twenty years, this could be a selling point to Babby and Sarver.

The hiring of Warkentien certainly checks off a lot of items on Babby's list:

  • front office experience
  • proven talent evaluator
  • never demanded full control of all decisions (reading this, Chuck?)
  • puts together teams that excite NBA fans
  • never presided over a losing team
  • never demanded full control of all decisions

Reading the tea leaves indeed...

Editor’s Note: Michael Schwartz took a few hours away from his studies to discuss the Suns’ offseason move of parting ways with Lance Blanks. Our discussion touches on the mark left by...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Editor’s Note: Michael Schwartz took a few hours away from his studies to discuss the Suns’ offseason move of parting ways with Lance Blanks. Our discussion touches on the mark left by...

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

Bereft of any ticket-selling talent and lacking the likelihood to win on any given night, the Phoenix Suns watched their home attendance dwindle to the lowest totals since they moved into this arena TWENTY YEARS AGO.

The Suns drew 632,913 fans to their home games this season, averaging 15,436 fans per game, according to ESPN. That ranks 23rd out of the National Basketball Association's 30 teams.

The team's total home attendance for the season, 632,913, is also the lowest annual figure for the Suns since moving into the downtown Phoenix arena during the 1992-1993 season.

While some fans might hope that there's nowhere to go but up, that's not the case. There are seven teams with worse attendance than the Suns.

But we're not talking about the rest of the NBA. We are talking about a tried-and-true, first-major-sport-in-the-valley, multi-generational fan base here that has always loved their Phoenix Suns.

Now, not only did they finish with the second-worst record in franchise history (25-57), not only did they win a staggeringly low number of home games (capped by a 7-game losing streak late in the season), the fans didn't even bother to show up like in years past.

The Suns averaged 15,597 fans during the 2011-12 season and 17,567 fans the season before.

The team drew close to 780,000 fans per season right after the arena opened and between 725,000 and 755,000 fans per season in the mid and late 2000s. Those time frames also saw the Suns in the NBA's upper echelon on the court.

That's a lot of cash not coming into the team's coffers.

Wonder if the team thinks bringing back winning and All-Stars is important now?

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