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THE V FOUNDATION AND ESPN TEAM UP WITH ST. JUDE AND

NBA CARES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST PEDIATRIC CANCER

This Unique Collaboration is Highlighted by Support from Hoops for St. Jude Ambassadors

Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, David Lee, Kevin Love, Lionel Hollins and George Karl

Tipping off Feb. 24, and continuing through March 4, the NBA family - led by Hoops for St. Jude ambassadors and ESPN commentators - will engage fans through this unique relationship, designed to advance cancer research and patient care benefiting children and families battling pediatric cancer. One hundred percent of donations to The V Foundation from this campaign will go directly towards cancer research benefiting St. Jude's patients. Together they form a powerful force in pediatric cancer research.

How are the Suns involved?

Along with their visit to St. Jude already, the Suns will be hosting their Hoops for St. Jude night on February 26 when they host Minnesota and all the coaches and staff will be wearing St. Jude lapel pins.

How can you get involved?

If fans want to get involved, we have a launched new web site (www.stjude.org/hoops/media) where fans can go to donate and register for a chance to win a VIP trip for two to summer league in Vegas.

Fans can also donate $10 by texting HOPE to 50333.

The contributions of St. Jude supporters enable the hospital to treat the toughest cases of childhood cancer, with some of the best outcomes in the world. Best of all, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything. St. Jude has literally changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and has helped push overall survival rates from 20 to 80 percent since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude freely shares its research discoveries with doctors and scientists everywhere, so that one child saved at St. Jude means thousands more saved around the world.

"‘Your child has cancer' may be the four scariest, most devastating words a parent could ever hear, and they mark the beginning of one of the most daunting battles children and their families could ever face," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude. "St. Jude has made incredible progress in the fight against pediatric cancer, but it's a fight that wages on. We are blessed to have allies like The V Foundation, ESPN and the NBA in arming our doctors and scientists with the resources they need, introducing more people to our lifesaving work and inviting them to join us in our mission."

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Standing at his locker wearing his warm-ups that were never snapped off, Shannon Brown changed out of the retro 1990's Phoenix Suns jersey and headed home.

Not so much as a drop of hard earned game sweat was shed on the jersey; it is as good as a game worn jersey in terms of quality that any fan could ever want. He tossed it to the team hamper, collected his things, and left the arena as professional as one could be in this situation.

That is what Brown is trying to do, exhibit professionalism as he has become the casualty of a losing season.

"Health wise everything is fine," Brown told me after the game.

Right now he is marred in the battle of being a professional while sitting out, watching what he loves happen right in front of him day-in-and-day-out. It is equivalent to going home one day and having your significant other tell you that thing you love the most... whether that is hunting, bowling, fixing cars, watching sports, or any imaginable hobby that brings a person pleasure. It is something that you are now not able to do. But you can watch from a safe distance as others do it right in-front of you.

No explanation and no rationale, it is just something you are not able to do anymore.

When Interim Head Coach Lindsey Hunter took over he made some bold decisions, first was benching back-up point guard Sebastian Telfair for rookie Kendall Marshall. That had some logic behind it with a losing season, but it was delivered to Bassy the same way. With no explanation.

At the time Bassy handled it professionally just as Brown is handling his demotion to the end of the bench with no realistic reason to believe there is light at the end of it in the form of his coach calling his name outside of practice.

Now with Bassy gone the odd man out of the rotation is Brown.

Despite the electric and sometimes game saving offensive efforts, the offensively challenged Suns have decided to phase out arguably their best weapon and have him sit the second half of the season out.

Earlier this season Brown had some magical games including six fourth quarter threes to push the team past Charlotte on the road, then 22 points the next game in a blowout over Cleveland, and numerous other efforts that established him as a preeminent scorer off of the bench in the league.

On the season he is an 11.2 points per game. As a reserve he is at 9.7 PPG this year (or 11.3 PPG under previous head coach Alvin Gentry), but that has dropped in the 12 games Brown has played under Hunter all the way to 7.1 PPG off of the pine.

So with an offense that is struggling, a team that is not winning, and the teams scoring lightning rod not playing, what is going on?

"Everything you are saying is right, about my health, the offense, all of that, but I just have to stay professional. Keep in shape and wait for my time," Brown said after I asked him those exact same questions.

To his credit he is staying positive. No public out-cry on Twitter or in the papers, normal demeanor on the bench, and a good attitude after games.

For a team not winning and looking to evaluate the youth that they have, where is the logic in pushing away a 27 year old scorer who is finding his niche here as a reserve? Brown is wondering the same thing.

PHOENIX – Lindsey Hunter spent the time after his team’s embarrassing loss to the Boston Celtics running his players through intense practice, and he treated Sunday’ night’s game...

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All game the Phoenix Suns (18-39) fought the surge of the San Antonio Spurs (45-13) for most of the game. Every time it seemed like they were out of it they got a few stops to keep themselves in the game.

That would have allowed the Suns to get back in the game, but a dismal second quarter showing was too much to overcome as they dropped their sixth straight against the Spurs and their ninth in eleven games so far in the month of February as a team.

The end result was another lopsided effort with the Suns losing 97-87.

First Half Review

Coming into the game there was hope against the leagues best team with their leading scorer and assist man Tony Parker out nursing an injury. Early on the Suns made it a dog fight forcing turnovers and playing quality defense. After the first quarter there was a feeling that they could steal one with the lethargic and disinterested Spurs playing on a back-to-back.

Then the second quarter started.

Kendall Marshall started the quarter, per normal rotations under interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. The problem was that Goran Dragic took the offense to the bench with him. For the first 3:23 of the second quarter the Suns were held scoreless as Spurs ran off a 14-0 run.

The first seven possessions of the second quarter consisted of three turnovers and four missed shots.

That same time window for the Spurs resulted in three makes, two trips to the free-throw line, one miss, and one turnover. Those are the pitfalls that have quelled the team all season as one quarter ends up as the death nail for the team, no matter the effort in the other three. As a team the Spurs did a good job of forcing seven turnovers that quarter disjointing the Suns offense. The lead ballooned to 14 points at the half.

Second Half Review

Until the first few minutes of the fourth quarter the Suns kept the game within striking distance of 12-16 points. They did not let the game get out of hand, but they were not playing at a level where you got the feeling another patented comeback was in the works.

The most revealing moment of the game came when Hunter subbed in Diante Garrett in place of Marshall as has been the norm through his 15 games as the head man. Garrett got on the court and played well with despite what the box score reads. He made plays for others and got into the paint off of the bounce. It was a fresh look compared to the known entity that is Dragic and Marshall.

Eventually the Spurs pulled away and took this game by despite the absence of their leader, playing on a back-to-back, and having nothing to get up for. That is what great teams do.

***NOTES***

Goran Dragic finished with 11 assists, his fourth straight game with 10+ assists the longest stretch of his career

Shannon Brown was a DNP Coaches Decision, his fourth straight

The team scored under 90 points for the 15th time this season. Last time they had that many in a full season, the 2003-2004 season (23 total)

PHOENIX — Hamed Haddadi will be inactive for the Phoenix Suns’ game on Sunday as he tries to get back into shape. After going through a practice that interim coach Lindsey Hunter called a...

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