The final word is that Vince Carter is definitely out, he suffered a mild concussion (not just a mouth laceration as reported) - he woke up 'woozy' this morning and will not play. Mickael Pietrus will start in his place and there is a possibility that Josh Childress gets some playing time tonight.
Channing Frye also was diagnosed with a mild concussion and was held out of yesterday's practice. He is expected to start and play tonight.
Let's get one thing straight, the Phoenix Suns - they are #Winning!
Despite a good, bad, and ugly loss all wrapped in Tuesday's game against the vengeful Boston Celtics, the Phoenix Suns are in Milwaukee to play the Bucks riding a well timed surge. The Suns are 4-1 (.800) since the All-Star break, 11-4 (.733) in their last 15 games, they have won 5 of their last 6 road games, and they have won 7 of their last 10 games against teams with winning records.
Tuesday's loss in Boston was 'good' because of what the bench accomplished for the 2nd time in two games. They carried the team when the starters were playing horribly and are really starting to develop a unique identity much like our bench squad of last year did after the All-Star break. Aaron Brooks dropped a team high 17 and added 7 assists while Jared Dudley dropped 15 and was everywhere, Marcin Gortat had 13 and 13 for yet another double-double and the bench championed an 18-0 run that forced the Boston starters back into the game...But the 'bad' part was that the same 18-0 run was nullified by a deficit that started at 11 points after the first quarter - jumped to 20 at the half - and peaked at 29 at one point in the 3rd. It was too little too late. The 'ugly' came in the form of the Boston players on the floor and the Boston head coach in the post game interviews. It was Kevin Garnett openly jawing at Alvin Gentry and the Suns bench in the final seconds of the game (and receiving a technical foul for it), it was Paul Pierce blatantly mocking Channing Frye after a fast break dunk (and receiving a technical foul for it), and it was Rajon Rondo disrespectfully shooting a 3-point shot with a 10-point lead as time was expiring (and getting fouled hard by Jared Dudley for it).
Did we really expect a win? If you were slightly delusional like me and sort of did expect a win... you need to sober up like I have. How did I sober up you ask? I closed my eyes and made is so with the power of my mind.
But maybe I still am under the influence, because after the game I saw something akin to a fire burning in an ice-cavern, a light shinning from a veil of darkness, a lamb laying with a lion - it was this positive Tweet from our own Scott Howard.
I basked for a moment in the glory of such a positive take-away considering the source - and then I realized I am on a drug. It's called Eutychus. It's not available, because if you try it once, you will die and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much? Jump it then fools and lets talk about the Bucks.
*I'm assuming VC will start - though he did look as though he might have suffered a stroke and/or a stage-mach-5 concussion after colliding with Channing Frye on Tuesday and receiving a 'mouth laceration'... so we'll see.
Key Bucks Subs: Earl Barron (Yes - that Earl Barron), Corey Maggette, Earl Boykins, Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas-Roberts
Milwaukee Injuries: Andrew Bogut (Left intercostal muscle strain), Drew Gooden (Left foot plantar fasciitis), Ersan Illyasova (Concussion), Michael Redd (Left ACL/MCL), Luc Mbah a Moute (Flu-like symptoms - day 2 day).
Suns Injuries: Vince Carter? Channing Frye?
Actually - team physician's assistant (not really) Grant Hill tweeted last night an encouraging status report on Channing Frye and his recovery from the collision with Carter,
Attached was this photo -
Needless to say... I think he'll be fine.
This awesome painting of Brandon Jennings was created by dpwatson aka wattdogg10 - one of our very own staff writers who is an amazing artist and accomplishes his works of art because he has tigers blood and Adonis DNA. Check out his portfolio and his other masterpieces at his website here.
When it comes to his play - Brandon Jennings is picking up steam after suffering a broken foot that set him back for a large chunk of the season so far. But now he is healthy - but the typical problem of young players he suffers from is consistency and execution down the stretch in games. Over the Bucks last 5 games - Jennings has played well against other sub-par teams, posting a 27 point, 7 assist, 3 steal game against the Timberwolves and a 21-4-2 game against the Pistons. But in games against tougher competition - Jennings is struggling significantly, he made only 2 of 6 and had 3 turnovers against Chicago and went a paltry 1-11 from the field with 4 personal fouls in 27 minutes against the Nuggets.
Steve Nash and the Suns should easily be able to contain Jennings for the second time this season - he went 2 for 10 for 6 points in their first meeting.
Rebounding and Execution
The scouting report from my armchair here is simple for this game. This is one of those should be #winning games. We know that earlier this year these games were still very scary - and even on this road-trip our wins against the Nets and the Pacers were too close for comfort... but here's the deal - Andrew Bogut is out, again.
Last time we saw the Bucks - they looked absolutely horrendous offensively (shooting only 31.1%) and we out-rebounded them like a gazillion to none (more like 54-39). We must win the rebounding battle and execute on offense.
I won't say it's absolutely necessary for tonight's game... but our starting unit REALLY needs to start pulling things together again. For 2 games in a row they have looked drained, tired, and just flat-out bad offensively.
The Bucks are short-handed and struggling - we on the other hand are healthy and rolling. Especially our bench.
BENCH MOB IS BACK
Is it premature to say that the bench is back? That it has developed it's own identity and poses just as much of threat as our starting unit? If you look at our bench production since the All-Star break I can say that with confidence.
Already on the season our bench was producing good numbers... but since the break? WOW.
Before the break the bench's scoring average = 39.2
After the break? 53.8 ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Not at all.
That's all folks - let's get this win and enjoy a capstone game in OKC before our boys come back to the desert. We've got to finish up this already successful road-trip strong with a couple of wins.
I love Grant Hill, you love Grant Hill. But how much should we REALLY love Grant Hill?
Several times over the previous few months, posters here on Bright Side have suggested that Hill belongs in the Suns Ring of Honor. Regardless of how BAMFy the veteran medical miracle is - I just don't see it.
The Suns Ring of Honor currently consists of 9 players, a long-time athletic trainer, a head coach, and the man who has served nearly every role with the organization sans donning a pair of short shorts, Jerry Colangelo.
Perhaps it's my constant need and desire to analyze Suns franchise history but if you look at Hill's credentials he just doesn't stack up. Obviously you can't compare Hill to Joe Proski's athletic training, Cotton Fitzsimmons' coaching, or Colangelo but put him against the 9 players and it just doesn't pass the smell test.
Admission into the Suns Ring of Honor should be and is based on the accomplishment of the player while in Phoenix. Thus, Shaquille O'Neal is one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history but nobody is going to express shock when he's unable to wriggle his way into the Ring of Honor.
To give you the appropriate background, here are the current 9 and their accomplishments when they played for the Suns:
Alvan Adams, F/C (1975-1988)
13 seasons in Phoenix
Top 2 player on 1976 NBA Finals team along with 1979 Western Conference Finalist, 6th man for 1984 Western Conference Finalist
1975-76 Rookie of the Year, 1976 All-Star
Franchise All-time leader in games, minutes, rebounds, steals
Second in franchise history in points
Charles Barkley, F (1992-1996)
4 seasons in Phoenix
Best player for 1993 NBA Finals team and Suns teams that won 56 and 59 games
1992-93 NBA MVP
All-NBA 1st Team (1992-93), 2nd Team (x2), 3rd Team 1995-96
4-time All Star
Second in franchise history in points per game (23.4), rebounds per game (11.5)
Tom Chambers, F (1988-1993)
5 seasons in Phoenix
Top 2 player for 1989 and 1990 Western Conference Finalists, key bench player for 1993 NBA Finals team
All-NBA 2nd Team (x2)
Walter Davis, G (1977-1988)
11 seasons in Phoenix
Top 2 player on Western Conference Finals teams in 1979 and 1984, Top 2 or 3 player on 4 different 50-win teams
1977-78 Rookie of the Year
All NBA 2nd team (x2)
Franchise All-time leader in points, field goals, second all-time in games
Connie Hawkins, F (1969-1973)
4 seasons (and 8 games)in Phoenix
Top player on Suns first playoff team ever (1970)
All-NBA 1st Team (1969-70)
20.5 points per game for Suns career (8th in franchise history)
First real franchise superstar
Kevin Johnson, G (1988-2000)
10 full seasons and parts of 2 others in Phoenix
Top 2 player on 1989 and 1990 Western Conference Finals team, Top 3 player on 1993 NBA Finals team
All-NBA 2nd Team (x4), All-NBA Third Team (1991-92)
1988-89 NBA Most Improved Player
Franchise All-time leader in: Assists, Free throw attempts, free throws. Third All-time in points
Came back to team after a season off when Jason Kidd was injured. (Spring 2000)
Top 2 player on 1976 NBA Finals team, Top 2 player on 1979 Western Conference Finals team, and role player on 1984 Western Conference Finals team
All-NBA 1st Team (x3), All-NBA 2nd Team (1977-78)
Seventh in assists, 6th in steals, 8th in points
Also happened to coach the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals and a 191-88 record in 3+ seasons with the team
Look at that list and then look back at Grant Hill.
Grant Hill, F (2007-present)
4 seasons in Phoenix (and counting)
Top 4 player on 2010 Western Conference Finals team, starter on 2007-2008 team knocked out in 1st round of playoffs
Points per game high - 13.8 (2010-11)
NBA Sportsmanship award (x2)
You could add that Hill is a good defender who takes the other team's best player in nearly every game the Suns play but you're not taking it a whole lot further than the list above. You can't wish Suns accomplishments onto his resume - no matter how badly you might want to.
I understand that the story on Hill isn't entirely written yet - but it's close. He could theoretically lead the Suns on a miracle run to the championship this season where he's a Top 3 player on the squad and averaging his Suns high in points - but he probably won't. If we're lucky we'll get a couple more solid offensive seasons out of him combined with his flexible and unique defensive abilities - and that just won't be enough to get him enshrined.
Ask yourself this, does Hill really stack up against the current crop of Ring of Honor members?
5 of the 9 guys played 8 or more seasons with the team and 4 of those 5 made a minimum of 3 All-Star appearances in a Phoenix uniform. The 5th was Alvan Adams and he was the longest tenured Sun at 13 seasons. Even the most wild of dreamers can't imagine Hill plays another 4 seasons with the Suns so he's not going to bust into that club and strong odds are he'll never make an All-Star team as a Sun.
Then there are the 4 guys who played 6 seasons or less in Phoenix. What have we got there - an NBA MVP, a host of All-NBA selections (of all three classes), guys who were either the best player or best scorer on NBA title contenders, and the first superstar the franchise ever knew.
You can try and form an argument for why Grant Hill's tenure is similar to Charles Barkley, Connie Hawkins, Tom Chambers, or Paul Westphal but be advised that I'll probably laugh you out of the room. Then once you're out of the room I'll probably chase you down and laugh at you some more - just for my own petty amusement.
The Suns Ring of Honor is for the best of the best in franchise history - I've enjoyed Grant Hill's tenure in Phoenix as much as anyone but best of the best doesn't define him here unless you're talking about being a good guy. For my money there are only three guys deserving of induction into the Ring of Honor who aren't already there and the only reason is that they're still playing. Spoiler alert - Grant Hill doesn't compare to them either.
You might know the trio as the heart and soul of the Seven Seconds or Less era - Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion. I know you're not questioning Nash and Stoudemire's credentials and if you want to argue about Marion please google "Shawn Marion - basketball reference" real quick and get back to me.
Again, I love me some Grant Hill and think he has been a good player and a model citizen while a member of the Suns - he just doesn't deserve to be in the Suns Ring of Honor. There's no shame in that. Hill can have a job for life in the organization but something tells me he won't need it. If for some reason you do think Hill should be in the Ring of Honor, show me why - and make your argument make sense. The fact that he's a swell guy isn't enough - if it were Mark West would be enshrined.