More photos » Francis Specker - AP
Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash, right, shoots over Dallas Mavericks' Shawn Marion during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.(AP Photo/Francis Specker)
The fickle fans of a sports team. Get blown out by 51 points in a preseason game and the sky is falling. Beat a Mavericks team without their two best offensive player (and one of the best shooters the in the game) and all is right with the world.
Fortunately, the Phoenix Suns don't subscribe to that roller coaster approach to the (pre)season.
"I think we needed, not really a win -- to me I think we've got much bigger fish to fry than win a preseason game -- but I think we had to make steps in the right direction. I thought we made steps in the right direction, to me that was the biggest thing," Coach Gentry said.
One step in the right direction was not turning the ball over 32 times (as the Suns did against Toronto). In fact, the Suns only coughed it up 12 times while the improved Suns defense generated 22 Maverick fumbles.
Jason Richardson wasn't going to play in this game but said he felt fine and the doctors told him he couldn't do any additional damage by playing. We joked with him about wanting to represent his Michigan State Spartans on the same day they beat rival Michigan but he laughed that off and showed what kind of competitor he is.
"They said the worst I could do was agitate (my shoulder) a little bit. I was willing to take that risk because we have to get our chemistry going. The stars have to be on the floor, that's why we played a lot tonight. We've got to get used to playing with each other," Jason said, adding that he didn't hurt himself further in the game.
The unit Gentry had on the floor to finish the game didn't execute according to Gentry. He was OK with missed shots and understood that he had guys playing out of position but he was still looking for the Atkins, Janning, Dowdell, Clark, Lawal lineup to be in the right place and execute properly. They didn't.
Phoenix Suns Down Dallas Mavericks In Indian Wells Outdoor Game, 98-90 - SB Nation Arizona
It should go without saying, that defending the Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry is a much easier task, but credit is still due the second unit who showed a glimpse of being the kind of lock-down group their potential suggests.
Post game audio:
Indian Wells pregame
Game Thread roll call:
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It won't be a full moon, so the werewolves should be mere mortals tonight. Lets hope that doesn't stop the Suns from taking a bit outta that Maverick ass. Am I right?
Gentry confirmed that J-Rich won't play but he is listed on the official starting lineup thing they hand out. Gamesmanship or preseason whogivesaheckmanship?
I vote the later.
AG did say that Jared would likely get the start but he hadn't decided for sure as of an hour before tip when he talked to us.
The Mavs are without both Dirk and The Jet. Acting Mavs coach Dwane Casey said that Tyson Chandler will get the start instead of Brendan Haywood just to see some different looks. Without Terry or Beaubois (broke foot), Barea will get a lot of time running point.
Gentry repeated what he said yesterday about being concerned with the high turnovers in the first two games and poor defense. While he was willing to excuse some of the turnovers as "getting to know each other" adjustment, he said there were far too many "unforced errors".
As for the Toronto disaster, AG said he didn't take too much from that, calling it a throw-away game.
When I first got here and the Suns was shining on the court it was pretty warm. Now with the Sun down behind the lip of the arena it's just warm. No wind at court level but that tends to pick up as it gets later...or so I am told.
Dirk is on the court shooting around even though he's not playing. His hair is longer than it's been and he's got a nice head band thing going. I have spent a lot of time with my 4-year-old daughter working on putting on a headband correctly so I notice these things.
More photos » Matt York - AP
9 months ago: Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, left, looks to drive against Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
"The way the seats are and the way everything is situated, to me, unless you look up and see the moon, it still feels like you're in an arena."
Gentry knows. One team is going to howl at the moon, act the part of wolf, while the other will slink back into the shadows, expose its neck and await its fate.
On Thursday night, the Suns were the sad victim. Tonight they have the moon above them for strength. Will the wolf arise from their hearts? Will the JRich-less Suns attack the Nowtizki-less Mavericks? Or will they once again turn their cheek and expose their necks?
The Phoenix Suns play on NATIONAL TV tonight against the Dallas Mavericks (6:30 AZ time on TNT) at Indian Wells Arena in Palm Springs, California. The Suns are 0-2 in their previous forays under the moon and stars, despite being the event host.
Ex-GM Steve Kerr will provide color commentary. For once, I'll actually be listening to the color guy as he dissects his former team. How many times will he use the word 'we' instead of 'they'? Will he blast new acquisitions, or inanely applaud them? Will he be critical of any Suns players? We shall see. Or hear, that is.
No word yet whether Channing Frye will play. He is being paid a lot of money to take the court. Who cares that its only preseason and his baby is not yet a week old. He can hire nannys if need be. The Suns need a win! These games matter!
Yet, preseason is preseason.
We can't and shouldn't expect too much, especially this early. Even in the final games of preseason last year, the Suns posted a 20-point loss to Portland and 22-point loss to Philly (bookending a 3,000 point game against the Kings).
In those losses, the Suns were outrebounded badly. Fans were quaking in their boots. Doom. DOOM! Suns should blow it up and start over, they said. Just give up the season, trade Nash and Hill to winners, and start over. Wow would be the 2009-2010 season.
Then the Suns went on a 14-3 run to open the season anyway.
So, don't worry about that happens in preseason, folks. Gentry is experimenting. The players are just playing, without a gameplan and without much purpose, other than trying new skills.
One game the Suns will look unbeatable, another game they'll look like the worst in the league.
Have fun watching the game tonight. Drink a beer or the beverage of your choice, and give your blood pressure a rest.
Just focus on individual players skills. We (and the coaches, I guess) can see how players respond in different lineups, and how their skills may or may not have improved since last season.
But that's it. Don't look at the final score. Don't even look at rotations. Garret Siler and Gani Lawal will not be on the floor with Hill and Turkoglu and Dragic this season. Really, they won't. So don't stress when this lineup fails, and don't cheer if it's successful.
Enjoy the Suns. And enjoy listening to Steve Kerr try to sound objective.
Here's some links to enjoy...
The Suns have a lot of improving to do to win their first preseason game of the 2010 season after opening with two bad losses. Over the weekend, they'll head west for a Palm Springs outdoor game.
Phoenix Suns aim to fix issues in outdoor game, Notes: The Suns are not ready for prime time but are about to be exposed to it and the elements.
New Phoenix Suns forward Hedo Turkoglu said he had seen the NBA Outdoor game at Indian Wells on television. On Friday, during the Suns' shootaround at Indian Wells, Turkoglu got to experience the tennis stadium turned basketball arena. One word came to mind.
Talk to people throughout the Phoenix Suns organization, and they all will say Steve Nash makes the whole franchise better.
Say what you want about Amare Stoudemire and his lack of rebounding. He averaged almost nine a game in his career in Phoenix. Now he is gone and so are those rebounds...
Okay, get talkin' you crazy BSotS fans who made this site the #3 basketball blog!