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Six games into the new season, the Phoenix Suns sit at a mediocre 3-3. By most standards, this is neither that bad, nor that good; especially considering schedule thus far.

Just another average NBA team going through a transitional period, right?

Well, those who have actually watched the Suns play, rather than just looking at the stats and box scores, might have a different take on this Suns' team.

Sure, the Suns are still in the process of re-building after a make-over that saw their last remaining superstar, and long-time face of the franchise head off to La-La Land to chase a ring be closer to his kids with the ultra-talented Lakers.

And yes, the Suns underwent a near total team transformation that saw only four returning players from the year prior.

But rather than seeing a group of players who are content with just going through the motions as a "re-building" team, this Suns roster is showing grit, mental toughness, and a never-say-quit attitude.

Let's take an early look at the Suns thus far in the season through the microcosm of the last two games they've played. Two very different, almost opposite paths taken to the same eventual destination...a Suns win.

Suns vs. Bobcats

On Wednesday night, they played against the young Charlotte Bobcats team on the last leg of the three-game road trip. The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first and second quarter leading by as many as 16 points in the first half.

The Suns looked as if they were going to cruise to an easy victory in Charlotte, only to find themselves on the wrong end of a run at the start of the second half that left them up by only four points to end the third quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Bobcats continued to mount an impressive comeback against the Suns and eventually tied the game with 10 minutes to go. It looked like the Suns had lost all their momentum and were destined to relinquish control of the game and limp back to Phoenix with their tails between their legs.

But then something changed. The Suns, behind a flurry of three's from Shannon Brown, once again re-gained the lead and again shifted the momentum in their favor. The road-weary Suns all dug deep once more to finish out the game with energy and hustle on both ends of the court, keeping the Bobcats just out of reach from ever being able to capture the lead. The Suns held onto victory as they ended the game 117-110.

Suns vs. Cavaliers

Last night, the Suns came out sloppy, out of sync, and cold from everywhere on the floor to start the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. The Cavs on the other hand came out on fire with a ferocity of a team that could smell blood, hitting their first 8-9 shots from the field and jumping out to an early 18-2 lead after less than five minutes into the game.

Head coach Alvin Gentry called multiple time-outs in an attempt to make adjustments and rally his team, but the Suns continued their downward spiral, falling behind by as many as 26 points early in the second quarter.

The team had every excuse to simply give up, hand their heads, and mentally check out at that point. But much to the credit of Gentry who would not allow them to waive the white flag, the Suns continued to be aggressive and play with intensity with Goran Dragic, Shannon Brown, and Sebastian Telfair leading the charge.

The Suns were able to claw their way back into the game throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters to reduce the deficit to only seven at the start of the fourth quarter. Once again, this is when the Suns really seemed to turn it on. Mr 4th quarter himself, Shannon Brown, again poured on the offense scoring 12 points, while Dragic, Telfair, Gortat, and Tucker all upped the ante on defense stifling the opposition, while also contributing with baskets of their own.

As unlikely as it once seemed, the Suns were able to take the lead and outscore the Cavs 31-22 in the final quarter of the game to squeak out a well deserved comeback victory at home 107-105.

A Reoccurring Theme

Whether the Suns jump out to an early lead only to lose it, or fall behind early and then fight their way back, the commonality here is that this team doesn't give up.

Now of course, this isn't an endorsement of the substandard play that leads to either one of these scenarios occurring in the first place, but this is a reality of the game. Basketball is a game of runs, and you need perseverance in order to withstand them.

After last night's game, some of the key players offered their take on what's quickly becoming the new identity of the Phoenix Suns.

Shannon Brown:

"Our team is never, ever, ever going to give up," "Guys never gave up, kept fighting every possession until the last second ran off the clock."

Goran Dragic:

"I almost threw up." "When you try to play as hard as possible, then you get that extra energy from somewhere. I just try to push myself over the limits and play as hard as possible."

Marcin Gortat:

"Wins like this are definitely going to build chemistry with the team." "If we're going to keep playing like that, if we're going to have guys stepping in like that off the bench we're going to be fine"

PJ Tucker:

"I thought, ‘You know what? We’re going to win this game...You could feel it." "We had a feeling the whole game that we were going to come back. "We knew once we locked down and got focused...that we would come back and win, and we did..."

Of course this doesn't mean that the Suns will always find a way to win these games...After all, they are 3-3, not 6-0. But what it does say is that you can expect this team to continue fighting no matter what, and this is a great sign for a new group of players that is forming a brand new identity as a team together.

Who knows how many games this Suns team can win this season...this year will likely be a roller-coaster ride with many unforeseen twists and turns up ahead. But no matter what, if the Suns keep playing the same way they have been thus far, we can at least expect them to give us our money's worth along the way.


Is this the Phoenix Suns team you are looking for? Alvin Gentry in his postgame comments was both proud of his team for showing resilience and also disappointed with the big hole they dug in the first half.


PHOENIX — They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but the Phoenix Suns returned home Friday night following a three-game road trip and came out absolutely lifeless against the Cleveland...

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The Phoenix Suns came out flat, cold, and disjointed to start the game, while the Cleveland Cavaliers came out hot and energetic. As one would imagine, this was a recipe for disaster as the Cavs quickly reeled off a 22-4 lead after only six minutes into the first quarter, eventually falling behind by as many as 26 points.

Alvin Gentry called multiple time outs before finally going to his bench early to see if they would respond better than the starters. And while the Suns were able to at least stop the bleeding, the Cavs still got off to a 37-16 lead to end the first quarter.

Things got better for the Suns in the second quarter, mostly behind the aggressive play of Goran Dragic, Sebastian Telfair, and Shannon Brown; as well as some improved defensive rotations by the Suns that helped to slow down the smoking hot Cavs. The Suns actually outscored the Cavs in the second quarter and were able to shrink the lead down to 13 to make it 62-49 at the half.

The Suns started the 3rd quarter on a run and cut the lead down to as little as five at one point thanks to the hustle of Goran Dragic who already had 21 points midway through the quarter, but the Cavs answered back as the Suns started going cold from the field once again, and Cleveland was able to re-extend their lead to seven at the end of the third quarter up 83-76.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Shannon Brown and PJ Tucker once again showed that while they may not be starters, they are both very good closers. Sebastian Telfair and PJ Tucker played very good defense disrupting the Cavaliers and forcing them into bad shots and decisions, while Brown hustled in for a lay-up, hit a jumper, and then another quick layup to eventually give the Suns their first lead of the night.

Then Dion Waiters happened.

Waiters hit two three-point shots and another nice contested jumper down the stretch to regain the lead for the Cavaliers back up by four.

But just when it looked like the Suns had flamed out, they fought back with a total team effort from the closing five of Dragic, Brown, Beasley, Tucker, and Gortat and were able to out last the Cavaliers showing hustle and energy on both ends of the court to close out the game 107-105.

The Suns were led by Goran Dragic's 26 points and 4 assists, and Marcin Gor-SWAT's 12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals; as well as the big time contribution of Shannon Brown off the bench scoring 22 points in his 26 minutes of play.

The Cavaliers were led by rookie sensation Dion Waiters and his 23 points, Anderson Varejao's 14 points and 10 rebounds, as well as Daniel Gibson's 19 points off the bench.

Once again, the Suns gave their fans a heart attack with the photo finish at the end, but you have to appreciate the no-quit attitude and fight in this team, and it eventually paid off for them once again.

As I'm sure Alvin Gentry will say shortly in his post game press conference, a win is a win...we'll take it.


Final - 11.9.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Cleveland Cavaliers 37 25 21 22 105
Phoenix Suns 16 33 27 31 107

Complete Coverage >


Fear The Sword


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The Suns fought back from a 26-point deficit to pull off a much needed win at home. Phoenix is now sitting comfortably at .500 on the young season.

When: Tonight 7:00PM MST/ 9:00PM EST

Where: US Airways Center Phoenix, AZ

Watch: FSNAZ (Locally), NBA League Pass

Tonight, the 2-3 Phoenix Suns will take on the 2-3 Cleveland Cavaliers at home in the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. After a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic, an expected loss to the Miami Heat, and just barely holding on to win against the Charlotte Bobcats all during their first road trip of the season, the Suns need to regroup at home and pull out a win against a very beatable Cavs team.

The Suns' starting unit has been fairly consistent overall. However, the second unit has been mostly a disappointment thus far. However, Shannon Brown sprung to life against Charlotte and may prove to be just what the Suns need...a go-to scorer off the bench. But will Brown be able to do this consistently?

The Cavaliers will be anchored by the trio of PG Kyrie Irving, PF/C Tristan Thompson, and rookie sensation SG Dion Waiters, along with SF Alonzo Gee and PF Samardo Samuels making up the starting five. This is assuming that Anderson Varejao, who suffered a bruised knee against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night will not play.

In fact, the Cavs will likely be without both of their centers tonight. Both Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller were injured on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors, and neither played Wednesday night. Zeller will remain out for tonight's game with concussion symptoms, and it's doubtful Varejao will be ready to play tonight either.

Key Match-Ups:


Marcin Gortat vs. Tristan Thompson: If Varejao is a no go for tonight, the Cavs will likely start Tristan Thompson in his place like they did against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. Although Thompson played very well at the position against the Warriors, registering 11 points and 10 rebounds, Gortat...or should I say Gor-blocka is playing at a different level right now, and should provide a very favorable mismatch for the Suns in this case. The Polish Eraser is averaging a league high 4.2 blocks per game to go along with his 15 point, 11 rebound averages. The Suns should win this match-up handily.

Jared Dudley/Shannon Brown vs. Dion Waiters: Dudley has been in somewhat of a shooting slump lately, and with the way Shannon Brown played against Charlotte Wednesday night, reeling off six straight 3-pointers during crunch time in the fourth quarter, it makes one wonder if Alvin Gentry may opt to give Brown a few more minutes with the starters as well. Either way, whoever ends up having to match up against rookie SG Dion Waiters will have their work cut out for them. Waiters is averaging 15 points per game, and scored 28 points against the LA Clippers on Monday.

Goran Dragic vs. Kyrie Irving: This should be the marquee match-up of the night in my opinion. Kyrie Irving has been everything the Cavs had hoped he would be when they selected him with the first pick in the 2011 draft. Irving is averaging 24 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game, and is dangerous from anywhere on the court. However, the Suns have a pretty good point guard of their own. While Dragic's stats aren't quite as impressive as Irving's, the Dragon's 14 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds per game is nothing to sneeze at, and he is a better defender than Irving. This should be an interesting match-up to keep an eye on tonight. If Dragic can keep Irving in check, the Suns should win this game handily.

Michael Beasley vs. Alonzo Gee: The Suns' reported interest in signing Alonzo Gee last off-season may have been a diversion, or a possibility that was passed over in favor of other options. Either way, it seems the Suns made the right decision, at least so far, in choosing both Shannon Brown and Michael Beasley as their free agent wings. Shannon Brown was given most of the credit for winning Wednesday night's game against the Bobcats, but Michael Beasley had his best game as a Phoenix Sun registering 21 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 blocks. Beasley has impressed with his progress as not only a scorer, but a play maker as well. Alonzo Gee is a fairly good defender, but either way you slice it, this should be a very favorable match-up for the Suns to take advantage of tonight.

The Bottom Line:

This is a game the Suns should win, and they need to stay focused enough to do so. The Cavaliers are down two very talented big men, and the Suns' center has been one of the best in the NBA thus far; there's no reason they shouldn't dominate in the paint and on the glass.

If the Suns want to prove they are better than a bottom rung team which most analysts believe they are, they must start by winning games like this one at home. The Suns just need to get a win tonight...anyway they can.


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