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Who Smells a Rally?????????


Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, left, passes the ball past Memphis Grizzlies Marc Gasol, right, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 10, 2009, in Memphis, Tenn.  (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)

More photos » Lance Murphey - AP

over 1 year ago: Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, left, passes the ball past Memphis Grizzlies Marc Gasol, right, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 10, 2009, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)

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Tonight your Phoenix Suns seek out their first home victory of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizz are fresh off of a 115-109 defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in which Monta Ellis dropped 17 in the final quarter en route to 39 to propel the Bay City Rollers to victory.

Tonight the Grizz will be without coach Lionel Hollins and possibly Z-Bo, who will be a game time decision. Meanwhile Rudy Gay is struggling through an oblique strain which has given him "difficulty breathing," as well as the ability to score 35 points against Golden State.

On paper, it would be easy to say that tonight's match up should be one in which the Suns should win.  Of course we remember how the Grizz destroyed the Suns on a couple of occasions last season. At this point, every game is going to be difficult for Phoenix, and no opponent can be taken lightly.

Thus far in the season, the Grizz and Suns are close in terms of both points scored and allowed. Obviously numbers don't mean a whole lot at this point and the keys to any game for the Suns are fairly redundant. Nonetheless, as a discussion starter, I'm going to drop some master of the obvious skillz:

  • It would be a nice game for Lopez, Turk, and Frye to get going offensively.
  • It would be a nice game for Dragon, Dudley and Chill to get some quality minutes.
  • It would be a nice game for Nash to get a feel for his teammates, for Lopez to learn the roll part of Pick 'N...and for the WarMachine to continue his confident, torrid play.

Yes it would be nice for things to come together tonight, however the Grizz are capable of playing quality basketball as evidenced by a 91-90 victory in big D that saw the Grizz hold Dallas to 15 4th quarter points. But the Suns clearly have the superior second unit. If there is a clear advantage anywhere in the Suns favor, it's the members of the pine.

I have a good feeling about this. If the Suns bring some D and keep Gay and Mayo from going crazy, while bodying Gasol and Z-Bo (if he plays), and making some of the shots they missed a couple nights ago, the Suns should be able to bleed the Grizz bench en route to victory.

Keep your internet channel on BSOTS for PHX Seth updates, interviews, and thoughts from the game. In the meantime, check the game day links:

 

 

Assorted Thoughts on Mike Conley (www.Straitouttavancouver.com)

Does this extension make Mike Conley overpaid? Yes. But so is just about every small-market player. If Conley had gotten away, who could the Grizz have easily replaced him with this offseason? Jamal Crawford and T.J. Ford are the only starting caliber options hitting free agency this year. Trading looks bleak too, the Grizz's only real excess talent with trade value is Xavier Henry.

Paul Coro's Should-Win Notes:

The Grizzlies' defense might be the right remedy for the Suns to find their pick-and-roll rhythm. Memphis has not been a good pick-and-roll defensive team and has given up dribble penetration and high percentage of 3-pointers thus far. This Grizzlies' road trip has started with them surrendering 124 points to the Lakers and 115 points to the Warriors. Memphis is also the only team in the NBA that ranks lower in defensive rebounding percentage than the Suns.

Seth's SB Preview:

If Randolph doesn't play or only plays limited minutes, the Grizzlies' already short bench gets even smaller. Darrell Arthur has started all five games for the Grizzlies and is averaging a solid 14 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action. The only other bench player getting consistent time is 6-6 forward Sam Young, who is averaging 6.4 points per game in 17 minutes this season, but Young had some of his best games last year against the Suns.

DJ's Thoughts on Mike Conley (Straightouttavancouver.com)

Does this extension make Mike Conley overpaid? Yes. But so is just about every small-market player. If Conley had gotten away, who could the Grizz have easily replaced him with this offseason? Jamal Crawford and T.J. Ford are the only starting caliber options hitting free agency this year. Trading looks bleak too, the Grizz's only real excess talent with trade value is Xavier Henry.

Grizzlies vs Suns coverage

Grizzlies vs Suns preview

Straight Outta Vancouver


Suns 123, Grizzlies 118 2OT PHOENIX — The Memphis Grizzlies have not had much luck in the Valley of the Sun — recently or ever. Though they split last season’s series with the Suns 2-2,...

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Gentry is not amused by your whining, Timmy. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

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Gentry is not amused by your whining, Timmy. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

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In the midst of the fourth quarter run by San Antonio Richard Jefferson just a couple nights ago, it got me thinking. How many games have the Suns lost because of some timely corner pocket three-point shooting? The answer I unfortunately do not have the time or energy to find, but if one of you feels so inclined to find the response to my query, I'll give you a gold star. But I digress.

This timely, lead-cutting run by San Antonio got me thinking: despite some key defensive possessions on the Suns end just prior to Richard Jefferson doing his best Roger Mason, Jr. impression, what really happened? Seth has deftly explored that it may have been a mixture of miscommunication on when to switch to the zone and heat checks by the villainous Jefferson. While these may be true, the inability to close out games has been happening far too often for it to be coincidence.

I'm not a naysayer, but something's got to change.

While almost every angle on this has been covered (even the ridiculous angles), I'll toss out a few more options. Why not, right? It's game day, the Suns are desperate for a win, and as a blogger, you can basically say whatever you want.

Option 1: Gradually, over time, move each sideline closer to the three-point arc. It's fool proof. The league doesn't actually get out there and measure the courts before each game, do they? No! So let's get a petition going for the Suns to move the sidelines in ever-so-slightly. This will inevitably force even the best corner three-point shooters to step out of bounds sooner or later, effectively negating teams abilities to utilize the corner three. If it worked for Jim in The Office (the ol' "nickels in the phone" prank), it has to work for us. Right?

Option 2: Play a lineup of Lopez, Siler, Frye, Turkoglu, and Clark/Warrick. They can't shoot over 5 almost-seven footers, can they?

Option 3: Actually have a set defensive rotation for late game scenarios. I know, this is an actual suggestion. But, if teams are preparing for the Suns as a track meet with lots of points and no defense, you can guess their offensive plan near the end of games is to spread the court with shooters and have a drive-and-dish mentality. I know the zone leaves the mid-range game more open than man-to-man does, but it at least eliminates the drive and the three-pointer more effectively.

Obviously, each late game scenario will be different. And they won't always be nail biters like the first few games have been. But consistency is something this Phoenix Suns team needs, and having a set game plan never hurt anyone. It's always better to have a set plan and change it if it's not working than to have to adapt on the fly because you're getting beat.

And, though Nash was the bearer of tired legs the other night, here's a quote from Yahoo! Sports' team report:

"We fought for it, didn't have a great game, but I feel really good about our team. We're playing hard, we've been in every game and we just aren't quite clicking yet, so we have a lot of improving to do, which makes me feel optimistic."

There you have it, folks. Steve Nash is still optimistic. Even though he looked pissed off, frustrated, and generally like he didn't trust half of the other Suns on the court, he's optimistic. Call me a naysayer all you want, just know you'll have to answer to Steve "This Is Me Putting On My Good Face" Nash.

P.S. It feels really good to write again, even if it's random, incoherent blotches of words compiled into one "story". I've missed you guys!

P.P.S. To end on a high note (also via Yahoo! Sports):

The Suns actually had to issue a press release Wednesday to announce that Steve Nash was not retiring in two weeks. A local tabloid ran a mock story that claimed Nash had informed the Suns that he would be walking away from basketball on Nov. 15 to run for mayor of his hometown, Victoria, British Columbia. The story was, of course, a hoax, but raised enough questions that the Suns felt the need to address the issue.

Where, oh where, would we be without the tabloids?


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