Yup, he's still got it.

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Yup, he's still got it.

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Raise your hand if you guessed the Phoenix Suns would be the ones five games under .500 and it would be the New York Knicks with the 20-14 record when you looked at the calendar before the season started and circled this January 7 game.

But there you have it, Amare Stoudemire and Mike D'Antoni have their team playing very good basketball while in the desert, a combination of excess rosterbation and failure to communicate (on defense) has left the Suns by the wayside like an unwanted kitten dumped in a field full of snakes.

Do you think Nash is bitter about it? Maybe.

"Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. I thought tied 2-2 that we could win a championship. Like genuinely believed it that we could and would win it. So it's tough to be in this position six months later but I'm still committed to it. I love the guys, I think we've got potential. I just think we've had so much change and haven't been able to put it together. If we want to point fingers we have to point some at ourselves."

And that was the tame part. How about this doozy of a quote:

Amare Stoudemire's Return To Phoenix As A Knick Opens All Kinds Of Scars - SB Nation Arizona

"We lost an All-Star power forward and we didn't replace him. We have no real kind of power forward," Nash said about life without Amare.

But this is Nash we are talking about. Not some whiny-ass punk who's going to just blame everyone else and make excuses for playing bad. At least he's not going to do that since the 2008-09 season once Terry Porter departed the scene.

"Yeah. I signed up for this. I'm committed to trying to build a team here," Nash said.

Other Practice Notes

  • Gani Lawal was seen being helped off the practice court by Aaron Nelson. He reportedly sprained a knee and will have an MRI. No word yet on how the Suns will adjust their rotations to accommodate his absence.
  • Steve Nash, it was reported, signed a new shoe deal with a Chinese company. He was wearing Nike today and said the deal only applied in China and he would continue to wear the swoosh here.

Other Quotes From The Cutting Room Floor

Nash

  • Always been a pick and roll team, especially late in games. Weren't a team that went isolation. 
  • "Right now, we've had so much change, so much turnover, that we haven't been as efficient as we were normally."
  • "It's frustrating to lose but I'm not necessarily going to be frustrated over things I can't control. I think that will waste a lot of energy. It's frustrating to lose, for sure."
  • Not surprised by success in New York but surprised how fast they've figured it out.
  • "They put together a team that works and Mike (D'Antoni) has to take a lot of that credit as well. That's not easy to do, to put it all together so quickly...I would have thought it would have taken four or five or six months and it's taken them a month and a half including training camp it seems like, so that's pretty impressive."
  • "We knew what we were losing. We knew the circumstances. It's not easy to replace him. But we're still a bit of an imbalanced roster and it makes it even more of a hole to climb out of. That's where we are. We added a big. We added some pieces but we're still obviously trying to get to a place where we have more balance."
  • "I can't be critical of that. That's not my money. Obviously, I wanted Amare to stay and I think I maybe foolishly thought we would somehow. I thought we'd get to an agreement but I can't comment on that."
  • Felton has been terrific. Coaches done a great job making him comfortable.
  • "I think I'm at the stage of my career where I'm not going home worrying about trades. I really, genuinely, don't think about it when I leave here. And to be honest, I'm the last to know. I'm not following everything so I usually find out from you guys. I get a little sense of something going on."
  • "(Babby) told me a month ago when it first sprung up that he had no plans to move me."

Gentry

  • "He's a great player, guys, I don't think anyone ever questioned that. He was great player here for the seven years that he was here."
  • "He done tor that team what he did for us. He's opened up three-point shooting, when not he's rolled to the basket. He's finishing. But you're talking to the wrong guy. It's no surprise to anyone here that had any association with him." 
  • They are playing great basketball and obviously, Amare is the focal point but Raymond Felton is playing great point guard. You would have to consider him very highly for making the All-Star team.
  • "I'm happy for him. I hope they win every game except the two that we play them."
  • "He's the same player that he was here."
  • Gentry doesn't see any advantage in knowing him well when it comes to devising a defensive game plan.
  • "To think you are going to shut him down, is not going to happen."
  • "I think he's embraced the role that he has there. I think that it's his team and that's something that he really wanted. He's shown the leadership and ability to carry a team and put them in a position where they're going to be a playoff team."
  • "I'll just tell you he was offered a max contract, I can tell you that. Other than that, talk to Robert (Sarver)."
  • He choose to go to New York. "So far it's working out great for him."
  • Part of his motivation to prove that he can be the main guy on a team?
  • "I think that was very much a part of it. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't see anything negative in that. He just felt like being here it was going to be Steve's team, a lot, and I think he felt like he would like to have a team that was his, that he was the focal point, that it would basically be his team. I think going to New York, he saw an opportunity for that to be the case."

As an added bonus -- because we're not depressed enough -- watch this great break down comparison between JRich and Vince Carter running the same play. Here's a hint:

 

NBA Playbook – A Look At The Playcalling In The NBA Through Videos, Pictures, & Words » Suns’ Jason Richardson Set Doesn’t Work For Vince Carter

Watch how slow Vince Carter goes off the initial backscreen. Ron Artest, isn’t even worried about the lob as he trails Carter around the screen. After coming off the screen slow, Carter doesn’t even put his foot in the ground, but takes a few steps to turn around, effectively killing any chance he had at a jumper by using that change of direction. To make matters worse, he absolutely whiffs on the backscreen for Channing Frye.

And don't miss this week's edition of....

Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer, Week 10: What An Eyesore -  SB Nation Arizona
Welcome to the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer for Week 10. Man, it's getting awfully tough to find good things to say about the majority of this roster. Steve Nash and the Suns are in major turmoil. They're 14-19, five games under .500 for the first time this season and struggling to find anything positive to latch onto in terms of progress.


PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns are 2-6 and quickly falling out of NBA relevance since their six-player trade with the Orlando Magic. Although the entire team is searching to find itself, no one has...

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

It's Bright Side of the Sun community voting time on a possible new logo!

As a reminder, here's the details of the contest. Sorry for the delay in getting to this next step. Between the holidays and the Suns playing so....much, I've been busy. Lame excuse.

Anyway, out of 15 submitted, here's the top five according to our crew. Take a look and vote for your favorite. One vote only. Remember, that all of these can still be tweaked so if you like one a lot but think it needs a different color scheme or font you can vote for it and put your comments in the comments.

Thanks to everyone who worked on this!

In no particular order...

LOGO 1

Jm_logo_1_medium


LOGO 2

 

Cb_logo_4_medium


LOGO 3

 

Cb_logo_2_medium


LOGO 4

 

Db_logo_2_medium


LOGO 5

 

Ac_logo_1_medium

Poll
Which is your favorite option for a new BSoS Logo?

  570 votes | Results


PHOENIX — As the Phoenix Suns drift further and further below .500, they must take their positives where they can get them. Although Wednesday’s 99-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers featured...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) drives hard to the basket over the defense of Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, right, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Phoenix, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

More photos » Ralph Freso - AP

6 days ago: Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) drives hard to the basket over the defense of Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, right, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Phoenix, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

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There's nothing better than staying up really late only to watch your team lose against the team and player you dislike the most. What's even worse is forcing yourself to root for another player you dislike because he happens to be wearing a Sunsjersey. The new guys were missing in action tonight and while Marcin Gortat got praise for calling out his teammates days ago, I would look at my stat sheet and overall performance tonight before I make such bold statements again.

I wrote on the game preview this morning that we could not afford the Lakers bench to play well. That's exactly what they did. Matt Barnes, that Brown guy with the girl name and Steve Blakewere able to spark the Lakers during important stretches of the game. Phil Jackson was able to rest Kobe to set up what would be the Suns 3rd quarter collapse that would prove to be too much to overcome.

The Suns played hard, they competed and seemed like they wanted it but that's not enough to beat the current champs. Again the Lakers do what they do best when they play us: expose our lack of size, rebounding and showing the world in national tv how bad our defense really is.

The Suns seem to have fallen in a trend where they only play 3 quarters in no particular order. They try to fight back but can't get stops and rebounds in crunch time. There's nothing worse than an offensive rebound late in the game. It's like a kick in the nuts and it just takes the air out of you. The Suns played good enough defense to force bad shots but loose balls seemed to fall in Lakers hands all the time.

Let's talk after the jump.

Do the Lakers ever have a road game? I mean, MVP chants for Kobe at the line? People cheering for a Shannon Brown dunk?

Fortunately Jared Dudley came to play tonight. He was officially on fire and helped the Suns overcome a 12 point deficit in th 2nd quarter. He showed everything he had tonight, pull up jumpers, put backs, three point shots, crazy reverse lay ups. He was te bright spot for the Suns tonight.

Losing sucks. Like we saw in the comments section in today's game preview, it affects some of us a little bit more than others. But after watching Vince Carterjoke around with Kobe towards the end of the game I'm sure Vince doesn't let it get to him. I can't expect him to care as much as Grant or Steve because he just got here but at least be a pro and have some respect towards your teammates who are clearly frustraded.

Robin Lopezlooks like a hunched old man trying to run with kids. This is not the player who dominated and was so important to this team last year. He looks lost and can't keep up. The Gortat-Lopez experiment failed as both couldn't get anything going on the offensive end while getting killed on the boards by Odom, Bynum and Gasol.

The Suns rallied in the fourth but weren't able to get stops. It all comes down to defense and rebounding and the Suns suck at both.

Tough loss. They put up a fight but it wasn't enough. That seems to be the trend nowadays.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 01/06/11 12:26 AM MST ]

Los Angeles Lakers Dominate Phoenix Suns On The Glass In 99-95 Win - SB Nation Arizona
"You can bring here Dwight Howard -- I don't care who you want to bring, you can bring Bill Russell -- if five guys aren't going to box out and five guys aren't going to put a body on the other player then then we're always going to lose rebounding...That situation sometimes that people reaching over the top, over ours heads and we don't do anything about it so we've just got to play tougher, that's all," Suns center Marcin Gortat said.

Who could he be talking about? 

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • A REALLY large man wearing a Gasol jersey is standing in front of me blocking out the entire game. I will check back in if he sits
  • Suns defended that lane cut really well
  • Both Carter and Hill have hit mid-range jumpers
  • Bynum gets two offensive rebounds away from Lopez even though Robin had inside position. Gortat talking to him about it. Fun
  • Ron Artest attacks Vince off the dribble and scores
  • Suns just running really simple curls for Grant and Vince using Robin and Marcin as screeners. No pick and roll. No Nash dribble penetration
  • Stupid foul from Robin
  • Good job by Gortat to break up that lob pass to Bynum
  • Now that was a nice little side screen and pop by Vince and Robin
  • Nash has missed on easy shot and made one crazy rainbow...
  • Crowd LOVED Grant Hill getting by Kobe with a cross over. Me too
  • So far, so good. 14-11 Suns at the 6:05 mark. Defense looking pretty good
  • That at least was a good hard foul by Robin but he should have never let Bynum get that position on him. That's two, in comes Frye. Odom in for Gasol as well
  • I was just saying that the Suns killed Bynum on the pick and roll in the playoffs and on cue Nash/Gortat kill Bynum on the pick and roll
  • Kobe hitting shots early
  • Nice steal in the lane there by Vince...see, I can say nice things about him
  • Blake and Brown in for Koke and Fisher
  • Lakers fans are standing and cheering....that's always annoying as fuck
  • 9-0 run for LA. Gentry forced to call time out to quiet the crowd
  • Frye getting killed by Odom on the glass...that just proves that the reality show isn't a distraction for Lamar...and that Frye needs to get his ass in gear
  • MP w/ the no fast break dunk defense contesting Shannon Brown's dunk attempt
  • Suns haven't scored in a long time. They have turned the ball over though. Twice, leading to 5 points
  • Really starting to get ugly fast and this is w/ Kobe out of the game. MP finally hits a three to give the Suns 22 points. The new "defense" has giving up 31 however
  • Dudley has become the go-to guy at the end of the clock...it's that bad
  • 31-24, Lakers

2nd Qtr

  • Lakers shot 60% in the first quarter. DEFENSE!!
  • Hakim Warrick sighting...Gentry pulling out all the stops. In other words, Robin's two fouls and general crap play didn't give him much choice, especially with Siler in Iowa (I kid!)
  • Steve Blake hates the Suns. There's no other explanation for him
  • Frye with the quick, confident shot and so of course it goes in
  • Gasol, Barnes and Brown all talking about who screwed up and left Dudley wide open for that three
  • Brown and Gasol cover the Dragic/Warrick screen and roll w/o needing help. That's a sure fire way to stop the Suns
  • Frye somehow gets under Gasol's skin and draws a T
  • MP passes up a wide open three but Dudley does his best Vince Carter (circa 2000) impression and drives the lane. MP usually isn't shy so I guess he just bobbled the ball
  • Joe Smith and Steve Blake watching the Kiss Cam and enjoying it. At least someone is
  • Crowd is very pro-Duck for some reason. Pac-10 I guess
  • Nice pump fake and one dribble pull up two for JD. He has 11 points for Suns which is good
  • 39-37, LA. 8:12. Bench offense doing a better job. Getting good looks even though Dragic isn't scoring
  • 3rd foul on Odom trying to pick Dudley from behind (pause). Kobe back in
  • Blake with the three, Dudley can't answer. It's a game of inches...or feet...maybe meters
  • Luke Walton!!
  • Bad pass by Grant. He had Dudley open for a sec but the bounce pass was in slow motion
  • Dudley, your hero of the game (OReb putback)
  • Dudley, your hero of the game (three pointer)
  • Remember the good ole days when Luke Walton was an important part of the Lakers team?
  • Dudley and Carter watch the ball fall and Artest just picks it up...and then runs right over Nash. So much about that play is typical
  • I have to pee but there's 2 min left in the half. I am going to try and man-up and stick it out. Wish me luck
  • Wait, Lakers have only scored 10 points in 10 minutes?
  • Dudley, your hero of the game (three pointer) That's 19 points now for JB off the bench
  • 50-49, Suns
  • Heather Cox doing the Jared Dudley interview...love that

3rd Qtr

  • Lakers went 7-19 in the 2nd quarter. I think that's some defense right there. Right? I'm not sure I've seen enough to actually identify it in the wild
  • Btw, when you hold off peeing for a long time it takes forever to go. Or is that just an old man thing? I don't remember. You kids take note of these things now so in 20 years you can remember how it was
  • Vince Carter was jealous of Dudley, so he hit a shot. Hey, whatever it takes
  • Sweet move by Nash to ditch Kobe but then Gortat missed the wide open 3 footer
  • Not a great start to the half. 61-55
  • Robin not looking good. Suns doing ok when Bynum and Gasol not on the floor together but when they are...ugh
  • Time out Gentry. Suns can't afford to get down 12 again. Frye back in for Robin...hits a three
  • That wasn't good defense as much as lucky defense...still a stop
  • Oh Channing, just shoot the ball. Don't hesitate. Remember that time a few weeks ago you have 7 three's and you said you were determined to shoot the ball every time it touched your hands? Do that
  • 4th foul on Bynum
  • Violet Palmer T's Frye...probably a good foul call. The T was a bit quick
  • Great D by Gortat on Gasol there on that face up
  • 66-62, Suns. Fisher T'd up. Cheap call, he barely shoved Gortat
  • There you go, Vince. Attack!
  • 4th foul on VC. Dudley coming back in so an upgrade on offense
  • Nash getting some open looks but not hitting them all. I thought he was supposed to be perfect every night
  • It doesn't look like the Suns are going to give up 120 points tonight....that's good
  • 71-67, Lakers
  • Another good stop by Gortat on Gasol. I am like the way that match up looks. Too bad Robin can't defend Bynum...or anyone really right now
  • Eff U, Matt Barnes and your stupid baby feet neck tattoo
  • Lamar Odom is really a very good basketball player
  • 80-73, Lakers

4th Qtr

  • The Suns need a really good six minutes from the bench here
  • MP for three
  • Dragic needs to abuse Blake
  • Bynum abuses Frye...that's Channing Abuse. Stop Channing Abuse
  • Gentry in a heated discussion with his players who somehow botched that play
  • Dudley, the hero, missed two FTAs
  • Well done, Goran
  • Lamar fell hard after that layup. Still down. Could be a wrist or arm. Looking at his left arm
  • Odom back in after time out...not to wish harm on anyone, but Suns could have used him on the bench
  • Dudley iso'd on Bynum pounds the ball for a while and then turns it over
  • Suns in a zone. It worked well
  • 84-78, Lakers. 9:15
  • Damn, Goran needed that one to fall
  • Barnes airballed three right to Odom under the rim. Damn
  • Dragic three...there you go. Stay aggressive
  • Lakers really helping Suns zone by missing shots
  • Dragic loses a jump ball to Blake. White guys can jump
  • Bynum is just so big
  • Good aggressive move by Warrick to attack Bynum and hang a 5th foul on him
  • Suns need an offensive explosion in this game but they've not shown the ability to go on a sustained run at all
  • Lakers go small w/ Odom at the five
  • It would be super if Carter somehow took over this game...not holding my breath
  • 90-82, Lakers. Time out Suns. Time for Nash to come back in
  • Suns bench was -1 over that 6:00 minute stretch. They needed more
  • Somehow Odom failed to score over Nash from 5 feet
  • Grant starting to look human...missing shots and what not. Hard to chase Kobe all night and still have offense
  • YES! Grant HILL!!! BAMF!!!
  • 92-88, Suns. 3:10
  • Suns getting killed on the boards, 42-29. Yup
  • Pretty good defense by Dudley, Kobe misses but Lakers get OReb. Point made
  • Carter wide open transition three. 92-91, Lakers. 2:00
  • Artest in for Barnes. Not sure that helps LA or not
  • See, that was one of those go-to guy shots that Carter has to make. He didn't
  • Artest hits the corner three. I guess that's the answer. 97-91


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