PHOENIX – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the Nash-to-Amare connection that was the signature of the Phoenix franchise for over half a decade. “We’re still trying to...

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Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Matt York)

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7 days ago: Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Matt York)

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The Phoenix Suns held another practice today, following up on Sunday's practice and in preparation for tomorrow's practice. This will ultimately lead to shootaround on Wednesday, which is essentially a final practice for the fourth game of the season, tipping off Wednesday evening at home against our old friends the San Antonio Spurs.

According to coach Alvin Gentry, 90 percent of these practice sessions have been focused on basically "honing what we already put in," with the other 10 percent being accounted for with a "few things here and there." Yesterday's practice was described as "really good," while today's was considered without additional clarification to be "not so good."

Asked if the end of game offense is still a "work in progress" without the old standard Nash-Amare pick and roll, Gentry said a lot of words that basically, in my mind, answered the question with a yes.

"We've got some things we can still do in that department, but we also have different guys that we can use. We can use Hedo (Turkoglu) now and use Steve (Nash) as a shooter some. So I think there's a lot of areas where we can still get better and improve. I don't know if it's going to be all pick and roll at the end, but you can best believe that Steve's going to be involved in anything that comes down to winning or losing a game."

European Post Moves

Of note, perhaps, is both Serbian assistant coaches Igor Kokoskov and Nenad Trajkovic working on post moves with a variety of Suns players after practice. Today, Igor was working with Hedo Turkoglu (who often stays late) and Nenad was showing a variety of nifty little ball fakes and up-and-unders to Hakim Warrick and Matt Janning (yup, Matt working on post moves). 

On another hoop, coach Corey Gaines was working more on pick and roll type stuff with Garret Siler and Gani Lawal, with the focus on catching and finishing on the move as the roll man. Gaines was an NBA point guard back in the day and had a pretty fine mustache when he played for the Knicks in the mid-90's. Look it up.

Other Notes

  • Gentry gave the Lakers credit for making shots that the Suns wanted them to make. Specifically, Artest, Blake and Barnes hit shots, according to Gentry. He must be talking about the timing of the shots they made because combined those three were 11-for-30 (36.6%).
  • It was Odom (8-12, 18 points, 17 rebounds) and Gasol (10-17, 21 points, 8 rebounds) that did in the Suns. Of course, those two guys are both playing great basketball right now so, you know, tip your hat and whatever.
  • Gentry is pleased with the team's field goal percentage defense so far and thinks it's an improvement on last season. The numbers don't show it (yet): .460 allowed, which is slightly higher than the .452 opponents shot last year. His point specifically was the Lakers "only" shooting 48.4% on the Suns Friday while in the first two games of the playoffs last year, they were in the mid-50's before Gentry was forced into the "girlie" zone. The Suns didn't use the zone extensively Friday.
  • "I think we've gotten better (but) everything has to go right for you to beat a team of that quality. We played good, we didn't play great," Gentry said.
  • Goran Dragic has played well through three games and was asked if he might get more minutes.
  • "There's not enough minutes to go around. There's never enough minutes to go around," Gentry said before adding that there would be some games where he plays 25 to 30 minutes and others where he's at 15 or 18.
  • Jason Richardson said he was "happy but not satisfied" with the way the team played the first week.
  • J-Rich wasn't too upset about his Michigan State Spartans getting whooped on by Iowa. He was consoled by the Detroit Lions win over the Redskins. J-Rich took his kids to the Cardinals game then over to Grant Hill's house for trick or treating. Jason went as himself (didn't wear his jersey) and his son, who dressed up as Kobe Bryant last year (rough), went as something else this time around.
  • Hakim Warrick doesn't worry that people are comparing his dunk in Utah to Amare, "I'm just trying to go out there and play my game and continue to be aggressive and attack the rim."
  • That said, he did let a little exasperation slip over all the hoopla, "I guess a lot of people didn't see me play down there in Memphis." His point being -- and it's a fair point -- that this is Hakim's game. He's always been an aggressive and athletic dunker. Just check the YouTubes.
  • Hakim is certainly happy to be rolling with Nash, "Having Nash, he can make passes that most point guards in the league can't make ... You'll definitely roll harder knowing that you'll get the ball and whenever you're open, he's going to find you."

Remember that one time when I posted a bunch of really random thoughts? We all had a pretty good time with that one, didn't we? Well, if you didn't then you're a jerk and you need to catch up (not really).

I had planned on making many of these thoughts the thrust of my SB Nation AZ Monday morning post, but then the Cardinals got my rage flowing nicely. Thanks to them, I was left with all these other opinions. If you haven't discovered this yet, I'm pretty good at getting irrationally mad about sports. Combine booze and things spike. 

Quick aside: during Game 6 of the Suns/Blazers series last year, my buddies and I were watching at a bar in Phoenix when Portland tied the affair at 76 all. I must have been doing some quality screaming because seconds later, our waitress brought me a beer and said someone had bought it for me to shut me up. Without missing a beat, my pal Dan turned to the bar and said, "Don't you know that's his yellin' juice!"

Yellin' juice. Make it a thing.

Back to my "point" ... since some of these thoughts are just oozing with brilliance and are ultra time-sensitive, I needed an outlet, and who better to drop them on than you, my buddies and buddiettes.

  • Is it just me or have the first three Suns games just felt like going the wrong way up an escalator? You know what I mean; it's basically a constant uphill battle to stay in front, stay close, or just accomplish anything, really. Kind of like pumping your legs to make any progress to the top of the escalator, it feels like the Suns are working awfully hard for everything they're getting. That doesn't seem like a particularly fun way to live.
  • I mentioned this in the Suns/Blazers game thread, but it bears repeating. Watching the Lakers getting their championship rings before their season opening game against the Rockets was kind of like watching the final scene from Star Wars: A New Hope if instead of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca getting medals, Princess Leia draped them on the heads of Darth Vader, The Emperor, and a random Storm Trooper (Sasha Vujacic). Also, they'd have turned R2D2 and C3PO into scrap metal.
  • The Suns rebounding hasn't been terrible in the last couple games, but watching opposing teams pull down offensive rebounds on the undersized Suns kind of reminds me of a father playing basketball with his 8-year-old son. What with all the tipping it up and above the Phoenix players and what not.
  • Can I please preach a little patience on Hedo Turkoglu? Yes, I realize that I'm one of the people who's totally in the bag for his mix of skills and yes, I realize that he hasn't been great to this point in the season, but I still think he figures it out and becomes very effective. I wouldn't be surprised if the answer to Hedo's effectiveness is to start Hakim Warrick (since he does a homeless man's Amar'e impression quite well) and push Hedo to the bench where he gets to handle the ball a little more and create. Let's give the guy a few games where he isn't constantly in foul trouble. OK?
  • One concern I have about the expanding games of Jared Dudley and Channing Frye is that it will occur at the expense of their three point shooting. I'm all for slim Dudley and Channing trying to prove he's worth the mid-level exception, but if it costs the team three point shooters who hit 45.8% (Dudz) and 43.9% (Channing) of their (many) attempts respectively, then the team is going to be worse off in the long run. Don't lose what made you guys good. Spot shooting was working so well. Trade Dudley and what not! 
  • I was watching UNLV/Duke from 1991 on ESPN Classic on Saturday during some sort of "Shocking Upsets" thing they had going. What was funny was looking at Grant Hill. It's been 19 and a half years since that game and Grant basically looks exactly the same -- sans the awesome flat top. You know what, he should really bring back that flat top.     
  • How adorable is the tweet from Paul Coro on Matt Janning and how he borrowed Alvin Gentry's suit coat for the first game of the season? Where's the veteran leadership in telling Janning that he might need a suit coat for the road? Hell, where's Janning's dad taking him to buy his first suit for prom?
  • Now that Taylor Griffin has been passed by his brother Blake for leading NBA scorer in the Griffin family, how long does it take for T-Griff to leave Belgium and take his bald head to Blake's house and turn into the basketball version of Johnny Drama? I'm setting the over/under at six months. And in case you're wondering when I'm going to stop taking pot shots at Taylor Griffin, the answer is never. He could cure cancer and save me personally from a burning building and I'd probably still joke about the fact that the Suns drafted him. 
  • You know what bothers me most about the really stupid new LeBron James commercial? The part where he says "Should I stop listening to my friends?" I will field that one for you LeBron: yes, you should definitely stop listening to your idiot friends. Any time you fire your professional agents to hire your college dropout buddy to manage your career and said buddy goes on to help ruin your public relations image in one evening, you should stop listening. I just talked about Entourage above, so let's take another page here, LeBron: if you're so worried about listening to your buddies, you should probably just pay them about half a million a year to drive you around and hang out with you. They'll be like a bunch of Turtles.
  • I've gotten to the point where I almost cannot stand attending Suns/Lakers games. The crowd is a joke and most of the Laker fans I've come into contact with are the most ridiculous, void of basketball knowledge fans that I've encountered. A couple of my favorite "Laker fan" stories from the past year or so (and I'm absolutely aware this makes me a dick, also):
  1. After the Suns beat the Lakers last December, I walked out of US Airways to the pretty common screaming of Laker fans about how many rings their team has. It's like that in the bathroom after games, too -- you can't even take a piss in peace this day and age. Well, just to have a little fun, I asked one of the friendly Laker fans to quickly name three Laker players for me. Obviously, he rolled off Kobe pretty quickly, and, after a moment of thinking about it, even pulled off Pau Gasol. But that covered it. Even fresh after a game in which he watched his team play, the guy still couldn't even name three players on the team. He did however scream "Fuck you" when he couldn't get the third guy.
  2. During last Friday's game, I was unfortunately blessed with about 5 adult male Laker fans sitting directly behind me. Over the course of the game, I noticed that about the only player they would refer to by name was "Kobe." Everything he did would result in yelps of "Kobe" while the success of other players was received with generic applause and screaming. After they referred to Pau Gasol as "that Spaniard," I begun to realize they probably didn't know the names of any other players. This led to a meme that entertained me the rest of the game where I would refer to the Laker players as "Spanish Kobe," "Left-Handed Tall Kobe," "Left-Handed Short Kobe," "White Shaved Head Kobe," and "Crazy Kobe." I'm pretty sure they caught on.

Without further adieu, the intro song to Happy Days - RIP Tom Bosley.  


Suns facing Deadlines On Dudley, Clark

"I'm secure. At the end of the day, I know I'm going to be in the NBA for a long time. Money is not an issue for me just because I'm low maintenance. I know I'm going to have my money at the end of the day." -Jared Dudley

From Paul Coro

PHOENIX — When the Phoenix Suns acquired Hedo Turkoglu, everybody knew he would be a liability defending power forwards. But the thinking went, “Sure, maybe he can’t guard many...

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