Suns Player Thermometer - Who's Hot, Who's Not

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, from Poland, (4) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers' Antawn Jamison (4) and J.J. Hickson (21) in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

More photos » Tony Dejak - AP

7 days ago: Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, from Poland, (4) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers' Antawn Jamison (4) and J.J. Hickson (21) in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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This Suns victory was as ugly as J.J. Hicks' yellow shoes. Ugly.

For three plus quarters it looked as though the Suns would gain some permanent separation, thus allowing the starters some rest and a chance to gain a nice momentum building uncontested victory. Yet our boys in ORNG  peaked with a 17 point lead with four minutes left in the third before the Cavaliers began pecking away into the 4th quarter.

The Cavaliers went on a 13-3 run while Steve Nash rested and the other Suns missed 8 straight field goals and found themselves within 5 points before Vince Carter hit his first and only field goal of the game, a long 3-pointer to extend the lead to 8. A few ugly possessions later and the clock gave way:

Final: Suns 106 Cavaliers 98.

Said Hakim Warrick via Twitter:  We'll take it...

Thoughts From the Bright Side:

  • The Suns won their fourth straight and are 2-0 thus far on the road trip.
  • Marcin Gortat led the bench with a line of 16 and 12 to go with 3 blocks and a sterling +24
  • Grant Hill went for 27 and  12 in 41 (forty one) minutes of action. The guy flat brings it every night. He's scored in double figures in 26 of the 37 games he's played. What he continues to do at his age is pretty dang incredible. Extend the man. Now.
  • Steve Nash went for 15 and 15. Yeah, old hat, Nash with a double double. Nash has notched double doubles in 8 of his past 12 games. In 37 games he's had 23 games of 10 assists or more. 
  • Vince Carter had 8 rebounds.  Rebounds are good.

Thoughts From the Dark Side:

  • Robin Lopez's line:  11 minutes/9 points/4 personal fouls/0 (zero) rebounds. If he's on the floor, he can do good things. But that's kind of the problem, keeping the Fro on the floor. As far as the rebounding goes, admittedly I am at a loss. Is he still playing volleyball, does he not know how to position himself, does he have a 29 inch waist? I don't get it.
  • Vince Carter: two nights removed from his best night as a Sun scores 3 points on 1-6 shooting. Gassed? Not shooting for 20,000 points? Not trying to impress fellow Tar Heel Antawn Jamison? I don't know much about Vince other then the Suns need his best every night. I am not convinced he is bringing it. I get it, playing at MSG is much different than Quicken Arena. The thing about Vince though is that you want him to be good, you want to believe what he says, but something's missing about the guy. He always says the right thing just like that guy trying to sell you the used KIA. 
  • Goran Dragic: not a bad line. But is Goran going to be All-Star caliber? He's had All-Star caliber games, but he's mental. And I'm not buying the line that he isn't getting enough consistent playing time. He needs to earn it. Goran, you are Frosty right now. Earn your Dragon moniker.
  • Suns Defense: Should have locked it down in the 3rd and 4th. How many times do we hear about how the D drives the offense? Up by 16 in the 3rd, the Suns had a golden opportunity to blow the game wide open. Instead, the Suns miss some field goals, get some others blocked, commit some turnovers, and let Gibson and Harris hit 3's. In the 4th, more of the same, after some squandered possessions, Moon and Jamison hit 3's...With their hands squeezing the throats of the miserable Cavs, the Suns just...lose interest. 


An uninspiring win, but a win nonetheless. The Wiz up next 1/21/11

Suns Fail to Drop the Hammer...SB Nation

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Fear The Sword

Two down, three to go. The Phoenix Suns avoided the proverbial letdown game Wednesday by defeating the worst team in the Eastern Conference, 106-98, for the team’s fourth consecutive...

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Won 3


Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball over Wilson Chandler #21 and Amar'e Stoudemire #1

More photos » Nick Laham - Getty Images

Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball over Wilson Chandler #21 and Amar'e Stoudemire #1

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Tonight, the Phoenix Suns play game 2 of a 5 game East Coast road trip against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. And when I say lowly, I mean 8-32 lowly. I mean dead last in the East. I mean 13 game losing streak, lost to the Lakers by 55 and wait...This is the same Cavaliers squad that stretched the Suns for 40+ minutes several days ago. The same Manny Harris who hit for 27, the same J.J. Hickson who dominated the boards for 17 to accompany his 23 points.

See what I've done? I've turned this into a revenge match.

Indeed. The Phoenix Suns have won 3 straight games, have an excellent chance to finish this road trip 5-0 and return to the promised land of over .500 basketball. But as my esteemed colleague Mr. Laugan pointed out, the Suns inconsistency this season has been one of the few things we fans can count on. Much of that can be attributed to the disruption in personnel and injuries, the other piece of that has to do with intensity. So yeah, grudge match tonight. Torture the Cavs, destroy their will and that of the 150 or so fans that will attend this one in the CLE. 48 minutes of Suns basketball.

But what the crap is Suns basketball this season? We and our beloved have all been trying to figure it out. I think we may have discovered what this squad needs to do in order to win:

Robin Lopez dunks on Wilson Chandler 1-17-11 (via getbangedon)


And then some:


and a little:

Vince Carter's baseline dunk vs. Knicks (January 17, 2011) (via NewNBAVideoGames2nd)





The Cavaliers are an injury depleted squad. Mo Williams is out. Anthony Parker, Christian Eyenga, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao-all out for this one. Destruction is the only answer. A big win should be expected, is a necessity for the confidence of the squad and more importantly, will assist in sending the Suns up the WC rankings.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Has Vince Carter found his health and passion to score and win like his predecessor Jason Richardson did?
  • Has Robin Lopez found his groove after some debilitating injuries? When will he consistently dominate the boards like a big 7 footer with an attitude should?
  • Will the three-headed Center approach (Gortat/Lopez/Frye) continue to provide sufficient rebounding and interior defense?
  • Will Marcin Gortat consistently start take the ball to the rim as we've seen glimpses of? Or do we change his nickname from HAMMER to soft, fuzzy lil' teddy bear?
  • Will Steve Nash start taking more field goal attempts? And perhaps, less importantly, can he string together 48 straight successful FT's again this season?
  • Will HAK continue to bring energy every night and be that guy you want in the game come crunch time?
  • Can the Suns gain the chemistry, confidence, and ability to start pounding the dregs of the league? Are they no longer one of the dregs? Have they turned the corner?
We shall see.

It is no time to rest on our purple laurels. The Knicks win was big, but it ain't the end all be all. There is no more time to wait for answers. It's time to perform. And for us BSOTers...Let's get on the thread tonight and make it a partay, use our keyboards to influence a nice pounding of the Cavs. (And yeah Euts even though I said partay, you can still enjoy the game with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice).

Game Day Links:

Phoenix Suns Must Crush The Cleveland Cavaliers, Ticket Sales Demand It (SB/Seth)

Phoenix Suns Using 3-headed Center: Paul Coro, AZ Republic

Phoenix Suns guard Vince Carter producing as comfort increases: Paul Coro, AZ Republic

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Will the Suns Need 50+ Wins to Make the Postseason?

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