Warmth in the form 90 degree weather and love in the form of about a Gazillion "Beat LA" signs expected at the arena for the Suns home opener. Kobe loves that.
But first, I have a confession to make. I am sick of the Lakers. Not in the "I hate the Lakers!" kind of way as much as in the "I'm sick of the hubbub of the Lakers". All the extra hoopla and Kobe crap that comes with the annual arrival of "Bieber's Team".
Aside from all the basketball reasons why starting the season at home against THE GREAT LAKERS after playing last night in Utah, I'm just sick of seeing those colors. I'm sick of the crappy LA media they drag with them, and I'm sick of 2,500 Bryant #24 jerseys.
On the Bright Side, having them come to town this early in the season means it's over and done with (until January 5th). Bring on the Grizzlies and the rest of the NBA so we can focus on the game and not the circus. The following does not apply of course, to the mega-clusterf&*k that will come with the Miami Heat in December.
As for the game, what can we say. The Suns will be tired. Nash will be tired. Hill will be tired. You even have to worry how Goran's knee will hold up after playing just 15 (great) minutes last night. The Lakers are well-rested (as they always somehow happen to be when playing the Suns) and they look good. They've even added Suns-killer Steve Blake. Don't laugh, he kills the Suns.
This game comes down to Robin Lopez. He's the difference between a blowout and a competitive game.
To quote myself (a preferred source):
LA Lakers Come To Phoenix For Date With Suns, 7:30 P.M. AZT - SB Nation Arizona On the downside, the Suns only got to the line 16 times and Robin Lopez in two games has a combined nine points and 11 rebounds. He fouled out of the Jazz game in only 20 minutes. Perhaps Robin is feeling the pressure of being "The Man" and understanding that the Suns are going to need big things from him this season, or maybe he just had a couple of bad games.
The Suns were able to survive without Robin on the floor much against a smaller Utah front line, but against the Lakers, he's going to have to play huge if the Suns have any chance of keeping this game close. That match-up between Lopez and Gasol will be the most important on the floor despite all the attention that will be paid to the Goran Dragic vs. Sasha Vujacic side show (should Phil Jackson even play Mr. Sharapova).
Stay tuned for more reasonable, rational and well-expressed thoughts on the game later this afternoon.
Remember, post your game (or Halloween costume) photos on our Facebook page.
As a young boy growing up in the desert there wasn't much to do in the early 1980's. There were no Cardinals, Diamondbacks, or Coyotes to root for. My family had two televisions in the house. One in the parents' bedroom, another in the "family room." Before the advent of cable TV there was "On TV", which was a movie channel scrambled all day until prime time. Adults were treated to movies into the wee hours of the morning on their dial changer TV's. You remember them, the bunny ears with the tin foil wrapped on top?
The remote control for my parents was me. My father wouldn't speak when he wanted me to change the channel to one of 5 available, I was forced to watch to look at him ever 30 seconds or so. He'd simply make a circular motion with his fist and I'd know to change from Mary Tyler Moore to Bob Newhart, or to the Suns game on channel 5, KPHO. Or was it 12, KTVK? I don't even remember. Anyway, it was a sad state of affairs.
By the end of 80's Arizona was in full swing with an awful NFL team, of course or beloved Suns, and CABLE freakin' TV. That's right, at least 50 or 60 channels and PPV adult movies. The salad days were here. Remote controls, big screens and all that jive. And watching Barkley's Suns play Jordan's Bulls in '93 on 60 something inches was nothing short of a technological and athletic miracle. Except the Suns lost the series. And a certain special something was missing now that I remember it. What did we do without HD? Why did we bother to watch sports at all?
Waxing about the old days is not nostalgic, it's absolutely depressing. It reminds me how old I really am and how out of touch with most technology I am. And I'm not going to lie. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I am too impatient to learn about a lot of things and I go into a shutdown/coma mode when I'm attempting to grasp a tekkie type of abstract concept. But the first time I saw an HD picture several years ago, I was convinced I had to have it, immediately.
I'll never forget the picture that what was on the screen at that moment of realization: Steve Nash tossing a half court lob to Shawn Marion. In high definition. I could see the spin of the ball, the sweat on Steve Nash's brow, the snarl on Marion's lips. The monster dunk. It was like I was in a movie when everything goes in slow motion for perfect effect. I was hooked. Plopped down the gold card, consequences be damned.
Cut to present day. That young, freckled face, curly headed boy holding the bunny ears for his parents has survived the rough years in Arizona. The dusty unpaved streets, the drunken cowboys and OK Corral gunfights, the unreliable Pony Express, and the dry wells we once pumped our water from.
We're in the big leagues, people. And I have a remote control and High Definition Television. The next generation will have no clue what kind of pain and suffering we all went through.
*Ed. Note: The afore mentioned was a true story, yet part of a corporate promotion in which the writer has mostly sacrificed his reputation in order to feed his starving young children. Sorry.
That is all you need to know... I know this vid was already fan-posted... but it was so nice we need to see it twice.
That's why they called him 'the Helicopter' in college.
But if you must know more about the Suns first win of the 2010-11 season over the Jazz... JUMP!
"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"
First thing's first and this write up will basically be my unpolished initial thoughts of the game and are subject to change at will just like the syllabus your teacher gave you in school... fool.
So we are two games deep and there are a couple things we know for certain already about this season and our Suns team:
OUR GAME THREADS HAVE BEEN AND WILL BE BUMPIN' THIS YEAR. Kudos to you may the basketball gods bless you and your family and every one of your pets. The threads have been, in the repeated words of Jewish philosopher we all once knew, "Phenomenal". I couldn't even keep up with everybody - at one point I had to just sit and watch the game... I looked back and 534 comments were posted in like a 20 minute period. INSANE. Suck it Soccer Mom fans (you know who I'm talking about), the Bright Side is on the rise. Jon Stewart's writers read our threads when they brainstorm.
Regardless of what the record will indicate at the end of this season - THE SUNS WILL BE THE MOST ENTERTAINING TEAM IN THE NBA TO WATCH THIS YEAR. You heard me Miami. Even in the loss to the Trailblazers the Suns dictated the pace for the entire game and made time stop and eyeballs engage in the existential dimension of all those whose television sets were tuned accordingly. Again more of the same tonight. If the Magic game before made you want to slit your wrists - the Suns came in and promptly made you put the knife down. I have no doubt that as they continue to mesh and fine tune their game the Suns will entertain night in and night out.
Those two things we can know for certain. There were other things that I saw tonight that also brought a tear to my eye, but believe me - I'm not pointing to this game as indisputable proof of the Suns one-track to the championship this year. In fact I don't even want to fall into the same trap as the TNT crew and start prognosticating about the Playoffs... two games into the season. FOOLS.
"COCAINE IS A HELLUVA DRUG..."
Speaking of the TNT crew tonight...
Was I only one who thought Reggie had been doing a little bit of this before the broadcast? [That's a rhetorical question obviously] At times he sounded incoherent, rambling and maybe as if he had popped 20 Somas and his brain was relaxed so much that he couldn't speak at proper volumes... Maybe I just dislike him and his 'commentary' very much.
GAME MVP: Hakim Warrick. Hands down. With an 18-11 double-double in 26 minutes off the bench, Hak showed flashes of what could be his developed roll with Steve/Goran and the Phoenix Suns. It was 18 points that included the monster-jam youtubed above and sure signs of progress as he continues to learn how to PnR, Steve Nash style. For those who probably don't believe me or didn't hang around this summer, this is exactly the kind of role I felt Warrick could lock down when we signed him this summer - check it.
PnR NOTE: I shed a small tear as I saw Warrick and Nash put on a developmental show. It was like something was starting to click in Warricks internal clock - he stopped listening to his logical instincts and started trusting Nash and his amazing balls. More and more throughout the game Nash wanted to run the PnR with Warrick and each time his confidence would improve and he'd dive harder to the basket - drawing fouls and finesse finishing around the rim.
I believe we as Suns fans took for granted the learned skill-set of Amare and Nash. They knew and were comfortable with each other - they had their timing and telepathy down - it's actually something you have to learn... and just ask Robin Lopez, it's not easy. Tonight RoLo had at least 2 opportunities to roll and catch for easy baskets at the rim but he listened to the logic in his head instead of the little Nash and Hedo voices attempting to penetrate his skull and he stopped, one resulting in a Hedo no-look turnover and the other into a stumped Nash pass and a kick out instead of a RoLo slam.
Goran 'Frosty' Dragic - What can I say? We've officially dubbed him a Jazz killer. In 15 minutes he scored 11 timely baskets and tallied 6 (one more than Nash who played 32 min) great assists. He even received 'Boos' from the Utah crowd as he entered for the first time in the second half. Great stuff from a guy who showed his toughness by playing through some pain and sprained knee. He continues to impress as he improves. Gotta love him. I have faith that even watdogg will come around one day.
Steve Nash: He always struggles against the bigger, physical guards like Deron Williams and Andre Miller - but he held his own today as he did spend a good amount of time guarding and being hounded by D-Willy on both ends. He had his spectacular moments but didn't exert nearly as much energy as he did in the Portland game, BUT he did go 1 to 1 on his assist to turnover ratio with 5 assists and 5 turnovers. Not worried.
Grant Hill: Put his crazy eyes veteran and physical presence all over this game. He nearly had a double-double and led the team in rebounding scoring 9 and grabbing 12 boards. He came out and set the example as a captain should - he played balls-out the entire game. I love this dude. (not sure why he was rocking the arm sleeve... but maybe that's what gave him the caveman strength to man handle the opponent)
Ball: Hedo came out and shot ball really well tonight and that was great - his defense remains extremely suspect and the offense at times stalls when he gets the ball, but I really like how he can spread the floor especially when he's shooting well. I'm expecting a lot of people to begin the "start Warrick over Hedo" talk... and I think that might be a good debate to have...
Overall everyone played well with maybe the exception of Robin Lopez - but even though he fouled out he still protected the rim well and grabbed 6 boards in just under 20 minutes. Remember - Al Jefferson is no scrub and he had a great game himself - I think he will be a great (maybe even a better) replacement for Boozer in Utah. Once Utah gets its ducks in a row and Okur back they will be a dangerous team.
You could just tell the Jazz aren't clicking all that well - they came out flat in first half, but showed positive signs in the second half playing with more heart.
I loved D-Willy's jam - that guy has some sweet style attacking the rim.
OTHER NOTES -
All 10 guys who saw the court played more than 15 minutes each.
Nearly 7 out of 10 players scored in the deuce digit range.
Though we barely lost the rebounding battle, every Suns player had a rebound, two with 10 or more (Hill and Warrick) - gang rebounding at its best. Or as the wise sage Kenny Smith put it during the post-game show, "Even though they don't rebound, they gang rebound..." rrrrriigght.
The minutes played for everybody were very manageable - a great thing given our quick turnaround and home opener against the Lakers on the back end of this sweet Stern-blessed back to back.
Reggie Miller is soo smart - he said the Suns needed 10 3-pointers in order to win the game and geegolly he was right.
Scott Howard was pleasantly positive at times during the game thread... that was odd and awkward.
Raja Bell was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor, man o' man we should have traded to get him back! ...
That's all I can think of because I'm getting tired and need to go to bed... add what you want and check out the SLC Dunk blog for their take on the game! Make sure you vote for who you felt the Jazz's MVP was - I voted Al Jefferson because he produced like Jazz fans hoped he would produce.