Don't expect Gentry to start double-teaming Kobe now ...

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Don't expect Gentry to start double-teaming Kobe now ...

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The Suns have to play better tonight. Genius, huh?

There's a lot that can be speculated about the Suns being overwhelmed by the moment, the Lakers stepping up their game as they get closer to the Finals, or the rust coming off too much rest. Who knows and frankly at this point, who cares?

Nash has preached all year that you can't get too high or too low with the results of each game. Fine, I've bought into that and am totally willing to give the Suns a mulligan for Game 1. No excuses needed.

But tonight, we have to see more. We have to see the Suns swagger and aggressiveness on the defensive end. We have to see if this Suns team is the one that swept the Spurs or the one that has given up a ridiculous 119 points in three games at the Staples Center this season.

A win tonight, and all is well with the Planet Orange. Another Laker blowout tonight, and it is time to wave the white flag. A close loss and at least the Suns salvage some pride and can try and extend the series, but let's be realistic here: the Suns are not coming back from an 0-2 deficit to this Lakers team unless Kobe's or Andrew's knees implode or Sheriff Joe detains Pau Gasol on immigration charges and Ron Artest for possession of Crazy Pills when they land at Sky Harbor.

Amare's comments are just that. Talk. Perhaps he misspoke or maybe he's trying to generate some motivation for himself to step up his game and bring the Bully Ball. The Suns can't afford for him to have another night like Game 1. Even Steve Kerr said this morning that he had no impact on the game. That's not Max Contract kind of talk. Amare needs to beast it up. His team needs it and he needs it for his career.

So yeah, this is a must win game for the Suns if they want to stay in control of their destiny and get to the NBA Finals. All hope won't be lost with a loss, but the Smoke Monster will certainly be making an appearance.

Shoot Around Notes

Alvin Gentry

  • Not going to double Kobe, "Why? He's still going to get 30...To totally break down your defense to try and stop him is not realistic."
  • 21 times they dribble-penetrated the lane, which is about as many as they have in a three game stretch. Have to fix that.
  • We'll play hard and give it our best shot. We feel confident that if we play hard, we'll have a chance to win.
  • Let's hope we have a lot of lucky guys today. 19 points and 19 rebounds is not a lucky night.
  • "We're not a team to talk. We want to be a team that's seen and not heard."
  • "They didn't go 82 and 0, so obviously there's a way to beat them."
  • We had good looks, but we didn't shoot the ball well. I think you'll see us shoot the ball better from three tonight.

Audio: Gentry shootaround 051910


  • "I think we lost focus. I think sometimes we were worried about what they were trying to do instead of staying in front of our man."
  • We are excited. It would be a lot of fun to win here. I think we are ready to go.
  • Adjustments are both Xs and Os and just playing better. Not so much adjustments as things to clean up. Making adjustments and playing better are in many ways blurred. Some of our adjustments will just be doing things better and some of our doing things better will be from adjustments.

Audio: Nash shootaround 051910


  • Lamar had a solid game. We are looking forward to keeping him off the boards. He had a great game and we have to focus in on him.
  • I think the most important thing for us is to bring that supreme focus. Defend on the perimeter and keep Gasol and Bynum off the boards.
  • Asked if he regrets the Odom-was-lucky comment, Amare said, "Nah, I'm going to always be myself. That's just my character."
  • Asked if that gives them extra motivation, Amare said, "I'm pretty sure they want to play well regardless. It's the Western Conference Finals. If you're not willing to play well now then it's not going to happen, so I'm pretty sure he's going to be motivated regardless if I make a comment or not. We've just got to make sure we're motivated as well."
  • "It was just what I was feeling. It is what it is."
  • Kobe's going to get his numbers. Got to do a better job on the other guys.
  • My thing last game was to keep Bynum and Gasol off the boards. If you need me to grab more boards I'll just go and take them. We'll see after tonight.

Audio: Amare shootaround 051910


They are understandably confident over at Silver Screen and Roll. Can't blame them either ...

Memo to the Phoenix Suns: The Lakers are your new demons - Silver Screen and Roll
Just as the Suns got over the hump against the Spurs, the Lakers look ready to step in and become Phoenix's new foil.

Lakers-Suns Game Two Preview: Taste the Adjustments! - Silver Screen and Roll
the Laker offense is in firm control of this matchup right now. Phoenix simply isn't stocked with skilled individual defenders. They don't have the speed to stay in front of guys. They don't have the strength to push opponents out of their comfort spots. They don't have the length to bother shooters. And frankly, they don't play with the orneriness that could make up for some of these physical shortcomings. If the Lakers stick to their gameplan and play to their strengths, Phoenix won't be able to lay a glove on them.


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Tonight, your Phoenix Suns give it another go against the Los Angeles Lakers.

After their performance in Game 1, the Suns have a laundry list of things to improve upon. The simplest description was given by Steve Nash, who plainly stated that they need to make their open 3-point looks and defend better. 


Not much went right for the Suns Monday so it would appear logical to this blog-guy that there must be some level of improvement. The Suns were not themselves in game 1:

  • Phoenix doesn't often shoot 22% from long range. 
  • Phoenix doesn't score a measly 4 fast break points. 
  • Phoenix CAN defend and rebound better. 
  • Phoenix CAN contain Kobe better. 

If the law of averages applies tonight, or any other night, the NBA pendulum will swing the Suns' way. Channing Frye and Jared Dudley will hit some three pointers. Amare will grab more rebounds than Steve Nash. Steve Nash will become a bigger threat from the field.

OK maybe there's no law applicable; maybe it's wishful thinking. The Lakers are good, there's no doubt about that. But the Suns can play with them.  But as Nash said, they have to take their game to another level to win against the Lakers in LA, in the postseason. And if L.A. shows up tonight as they did in the first game, the Suns must play a nearly flawless game to overcome their size, length, experience, home court advantage, and Kobe Bryantness.

So, if you are looking for keys to the game, I say, MAN UP. Not in the strategic sense of the word as much as the psychological connotation. This isn't an inexperienced postseason and injured-plagued Blazers squad; it's not the aging, less "physical", smallish Spurs squad. A Conference Finals matchup against the Lakers is a meeting of MEN. Deal with the size and length advantage of the Lakes, deal with the hometown zebras who won't give the Suns any benefit of any call (so don't complain on the thread or act surprised), deal with the Laker homers such as David Arquette (perhaps he won't attend this game after what happened Monday), Jack, Anthony, Flea, etc.

Looking, um good, Anthony...


PHX Seth reported this quote from the field from Alvin Gentry:

"Guys, I know everyone expects for us to be down and out, but shit ... it's one game. It's one game. They played great, we didn't. You have to give them credit and you've got to move on. That's what the playoffs are."

Further, reports from Suns practice showed a concerned yet focused team. Good. 

Yes, it's one game, gone, forgotten, yes? No panic, no fear, just a ball and a hoop and a bunch of tall guys wearing yellow. Let's do this.

TWEET of the Morning:

Steve Kerr (via KTAR):

"Our entire team needs to play with a chip on its shoulder tonight."

Jared Dudley was surprisingly tweet silent today. Must not have wi-fi access.



Bickely: Time to Show Some Fight

Suns vs Lakers coverage

Suns vs Lakers preview

Silver Screen and Roll

Western Conference Finals Game 2 @ Lakers 124, Suns 112 The playoffs are all about adjustments. After Andre Miller went off in Game 1 of the Portland series,...

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Robin Lopez had a differential of +2 which is unheard of in a game where his team lost by 21. He needs to play more than 24 minutes for the Suns to have a chance. But the Lakers look too strong and big for anyone left in this league. VIsit us at for even more basketball!

Who does depression hurt? (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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Who does depression hurt? (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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I think I'll miss this daily column when the season ends.  I mean, I've grown to love at least 12% of you guys -- which, for my pessimism-filled heart, is quite the accomplishment.  Maybe when it's all over we can all sit around and talk NBA Draft, Summer League, or constitutional law.  All sounds fun, does it not?  But fear not, my friends, the basket hoops are not over yet.  We have plenty of time to over-analyze every single thing that happens. 

Last night brought us not just the Celtics-Magic but also the NBA Draft Lottery, which is just an epic half hour of television.  Washington rose up and snagged the number one pick and what seems to be the right to select Kentucky point guard John Wall.  I'm sure there will be a great deal of random jibber jabber about how they're going to take Evan Turner, but they're gonna go Wall.

Tuesday May 18th Playoff Results:

Boston Celtics 95 Orlando Magic 92 (Recap)If you haven't been beat over the head with it enough during the last few hours I'll just get it right out there -- the Celtics are old...and they are WINNING.  From the way things are being reported, I'm fairly certain that Kevin Garnett played with Elgin Baylor (citation needed). Obviously that comes off a little overly snarky, but with their win on Tuesday night the Celtics have completed the impressive feat of taking a 2-0 lead on Orlando with both games happening IN Orlando.  Following a Rasheed Wallace corner three, the Celtics took an 11 point lead early in the fourth quarter but the Magicians fought back.  Orlando actually managed to take a 1 point lead on a Vince Carter jumper with 3:35 remaining in the quarter before they went cold.  Down the stretch, the Magic shot 1/4 from the field, had J.J. Redick pick up a charge, and saw Vince Carter miss two clutch free throws with the Magic down just 3 with 31 seconds left (paging Nick Anderson.  You've got company, boss.  I'm sure svspider can fill in the details for the youngsters).  The Magic had one final chance to tie the game with three seconds left, but Jameer Nelson's 36 footer was off.

Although Game 1 star Ray Allen was held in check (he had just 4 points on 1/6 shooting), Boston got 25 from Paul Pierce while Rajon Rondo added 25 and 8 assists.   More importantly, Boston held Orlando to under 40% shooting for the game.  Dwight Howard led the Magicians with 30 and Vince Carter and J.J. Redick put in 16 each.  Just a fun note: Rashard Lewis (THE NINTH HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE NBA....LET THAT SINK IN) scored only 5 points, his second consecutive single digit game in this series. 

Conference Finals Series Standings:

(1) Lakers v. (3) Suns: 1-0 Lakers

(2) Magic v. (4) Celtics: 2-0 Celtics

Wednesday May 19th Playoff Game:

Game 2  - Suns @ Lakers:  Game 1 was ugly.  Like really ugly.  If the Suns intend on evening the series, I'd start with a little defense and then perhaps consider hitting more than 22.7% of their three point attempts.  Re-filling Kobe Bryant's knee with lots of fluid probably wouldn't hurt either.  But you know...I'm not a basketball (or medical) expert.

And just because again (and I want you all appreciating the 90's flavor)....Penny Hardaway.

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