With Christmas over, it's time for the Suns to get back to work. The schedule makers blessed the Suns with bookend home games around the holiday, and the team was in no danger of being highlighted in a Christmas day game, so they should be fresh coming off of time off with family and friends. Hopefully they weren't getting too fat and happy while tonight's opponent, the New York Knicks, were busy getting coaled up by the Los Angeles Lakers.

When: Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 7:00 PM local time (9:00 EST)

Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch/Listen: TV: FSAZ, Radio: 620 KTAR


Last Meeting:

The Knicks won the previous meeting between the teams 106-99 at Madison Square Garden on December 2nd. New York used a 35-22 second quarter to put separation between themselves and the Suns. Phoenix closed the gap to six at 91-85 with 6:24 left, but couldn't completely recover from the disastrous second quarter. Carmelo Anthony had a game high 34 points. Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns. Raymond Felton dominated the point guard matchup with 23 points and seven assists versus Goran Dragic's nine points and five assists (foreshadowing alert).

Team Bios:

New York Knicks: 20-8

Points per game: 102.6 (T-5th) Points allowed: 96.5 (T-12th)

Injuries: Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and Steve Novak have all been, or still are, nursing injuries, but all are expected to play. Amar'e Stoudemire is not expected to play for a few more games. Rasheed Wallace is also out and Iman Shumpert is recovering from a long term injury.

The Knicks are coming off of a hard fought loss on Christmas day against the surging Lakers at the Staples Center. Carmelo Anthony, as he has done all season, led the Knicks with 34 points, but he also logged 43 minutes in the game. Four other Knicks played at least 34 minutes in the game, including Tyson Chandler who clocked in with 40.

New York is off to a sizzling start, but has tapered off recently with three losses in their last five games, including home losses to the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls. The team has incorporated many new pieces around its remaining core players and has seemed to do so rather seamlessly. This is not the same Knicks team that ended the 2011-12 season. The additions include Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Rasheed Wallace, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby. Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert return, but neither has seen action this season. The only remnants from last season's roster are Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Steve Novak. Four players. That's it.

One of those players happens to be early season MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony, which is quite an important returning piece. Melo is currently second in the NBA in scoring (28.3) and actually boasts the highest eFG% of any year of his career (.531) thanks in part to blistering shooting from three point range (.437). Did I mention he played 43 minutes yesterday? Felton and Kidd seem to be the newcomers who have been most impactful, orchestrating an offense that was stagnant all too often last season.


Phoenix Suns: 11-17

Points per game: 97.3 (12th) Points allowed: 100.9 (26th)

Injuries: None, as usual.

The Suns are coming off of a savage beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night in what turned out to be the fourth time this season that the Suns have lost by more than 20 points. The final score of 103-77 wasn't really indicative of the Suns play, because it wasn't really that close. The Suns seemed more concerned with complaining about the officiating than competing in the game and the Clippers smelled blood.

The Suns look to recompose themselves in the getaway game before a daunting three game road trip to close out the year. The near future holds grave implications for the Suns, as they will either reverse their current trajectory and fight for a playoff spot or find themselves hopelessly out of the race in the next two to three weeks. It's already gut check time for the Suns. Unfortunately, recent indications don't adumbrate favorably.

After a stretch that provided a glimmer of hope on the defensive end, that spark is fading into the gloaming. The Suns are now mired in 29th in opponent field goal percentage (.471) and 30th in opponent three point field goal percentage (.405). The Suns are an average offensive team with no go to scorer that plays hideous defense. I think that sums it up pretty thoroughly and tersely.


What To Watch For:

Player X vs. Goran Dragic: Goran has been playing so poorly lately that I pretty much expect him to get violated on a regular basis. Dragic is now averaging 12.6 points (on 41.2% shooting) and 5.8 assists for the month of December. The Suns have played 11 games so far in the month. Dragic is supposed to be the team's best player. Flip a coin. That will tell you whether Dragic will score more than 10 points, considering he's pulled off the feat only seven times in his last 14 games. Throw in the nasty habit of picking up early fouls and it becomes alarmingly clear that he needs to get his sh$# together. Tonight sounds good to me.

Fireworks: The New York Knicks are on pace to set NBA records for three pointers made (11.5) and attempted (29.2). Despite launching bombs at such a prodigious rate the Knicks rank third in the league in three point field goal percentage. The Suns, as previously mentioned, are dead last in the league at defending the three. Tonight we will see how the matchup of best vs. worst unfurls.

Rebounding: Finally, an area where the Suns don't suck worse than their opponent. The Suns are an impressive -3.5 in rebounding differential (good for 25th in the league) while the Knicks are a lowly -4.2 (three spots below Phoenix at 28th). Both of these teams get owned on the glass on a regular basis. Maybe this could be a point of emphasis for the Suns to focus on in the game since the Knicks don't have a superfluous number of areas of weakness.

Tired Legs/Playing the Suns/Dignity: Not only did the Knicks play a fiercely contested game against the Lakers yesterday, but now they're playing the Suns. The legs might not be quite as fresh since key players logged heavy minutes. It might be hard for New York to get up for this game after the spotlight of a Christmas day matchup. The Knicks may be bummed about playing a back-to-back and missing out on holiday festivities. The Knicks may be disinterested in playing a team of the Suns caliber and overlook them. The Suns may be pissed off after the humiliating rout they suffered through last game. Any or all of these may culminate in an unexpected victory for the Suns.


Key Stat: The season high for scoring in a game by an individual Sun this season is 26. Both Dragic and Shannon Brown have hit this mark once. Carmelo Anthony has scored at least 26 points 17 times. Seventeen. I set the over/under for a Sun scoring 30 at 27 games. We are officially over. Anthony has scored at least 30 points 11 times this season. The Sun is a star, but the Suns have no star.


The Final Word(s):

I really like the dynamic coming into this game based on the way the last few days have played out for both teams. The Suns would definitely appear to have the advantage based on rest and intangibles. The only problem I see in forecasting a Phoenix victory is that the Suns just aren't very good at all right now.

The Suns are just 3-9 against teams with winning records, as of right now, on the season. So while a victory isn't outside the realm of plausibility, I don't know that I'd give the Suns the same coin flip of having a good game that I gave Dragic earlier.

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New York Knicks 99, Phoenix Suns 97 PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns hung tight with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday for a quarter and a half before being blown out by 28 over the course of the...

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How Sarver Stole Christmas (and winning)

Every Suns fan on Brightside liked winning a lot
But the owner, and his front office, did NOT!

Sarver hated winning! The whole winning concept!
He wanted to lose, Babby wasn't just inept.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be he really enjoyed the fans plight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his wallet was two sizes too small.

But whatever the reason, his wallet or head,
He stood there on Christmas Eve with losing to spread.
Staring down from his mansion he thought that he might
Just ruin the holiday on Christmas Eve night.
For he knew the Brightsiders felt that losing stings
And were dreaming of NBA championship rings.

"And they're hoping for trophies!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his banker fists nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep winning from coming!"
For, the rest of the season, he knew...

...All the Brightsiders would be at the arena.

They'd cheer for the Suns! The orange and purple boys!

Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the Brightsiders would visit their site
And they'd write! And they'd write!
They would start in the morning and write through the night
Which Sarver would prevent with all of his might!

They'd do something he liked least of all!
They'd expect the Suns to play winning basketball.
They'd expect the Suns win and then they'd start blogging!

They'd blog! And they'd blog!
And the more Sarver thought of the Brightsider site,
The more Sarver thought, "I must stop this tonight!"
"Why for nine whole seasons I've put up with it now!"
"I MUST stop the winning from coming!"
"...But HOW?"

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

"I know just what to do!" Sarver laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a devious trick!"
"I will make the Suns lose but look just like Saint Nick!"

"All I need is a Beasley..."
Sarver looked around.
Beasley's talent is scarce, there is none to be found.
Did that stop the banker...?
It did certainly not
"I can waiver claim Scola and see what he's got!"
So he called on Lon Babby and told him the news
I hired you so you could make the Suns lose.

He loaded the roster
With role playing hacks
As he simply refused
To give Harden the max.

Then Sarver said, "Babby!"
"Get us started down"
"A slippery slope"

"Headed to loser town."

Loser town was home to teams like the Kings.
It was a barren place that was devoid of rings,
Bereft of the joy that a winning team brings.
"This is the Suns new home," The old Sarver Claus hissed
With a tight wad of money clenched in his right fist.

Then he needed a cannon, so he re-signed Brown
Who had a skillset perfect for loser town.
Then Brown took a shot, and then he took two
Because Brown will never give the ball back to you.
Brightsiders thought sharing helped the team flow.
"Assists," Sarver grinned, "are the first things to go!"

And Babby did well for his his anti-win boss
Sarver took satisfaction in every Suns loss!
Sarver got angry when the Suns beat the Cavs!
He guaranteed satisfaction for a game with the Mavs!
But he knew the Suns chances of winning were slim
And the only one satisfied ended up being him!

Through the month of December he stole Christmas spirit,
The fans clamored for wins but he just wouldn't hear it!
He pondered some plans to gut the whole roster.
A losing tradition even further he'd foster!

Then he gathered up losses with a sadistic glee.
"And NOW!" he said, "I will stuff them under their tree!"

So he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, not knowing what to say,
It was DIM who joined up three years ago this day.

Sarver had been caught by a loyal Brightsider
Whose passion for the Suns burned brightly inside her
She stared at Sarver and said, "Sarver Claus, why,"
"Do the Suns keep on losing? WHY?"

But, you know, that Sarver was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the Suns owner lied,
"It's my mission in life to win for the Brightside."
"So I'm not taking wins, these aren't losses at all."
"I'm creating cap space to be better next fall."

And his fib fooled the girl. Then he patted her head,
He gave her a retro jersey and sent her to bed.
And when DIM went to bed with her new black Suns shirt,
Sarver stuffed more losses underneath the tree skirt!

Then the last thing he took
Was all the fans passion.
He was sure that he'd make all the Brightsiders frown.
With their brand new address smack dab in loser town.

And the one speck of hope
That was left on the site
He snatched up just like a thief in the night.

He did the same thing
To each other member

Leaving losses
Instead of the wins
They remember!

A third through the season...
It was Christmas day.
Brightsiders, still hoped
For improved Suns play
But Sarver and Babby had constructed a team
That seemed sure to destroy every Brightsider's dream!

Back at the USAC Sarver patiently waited
To see all the mayhem that he had created.
"Pooh-pooh to the fans!" Sarver was humming.
"They're finding out now that no winning is coming!"
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!"
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two"
"Then all the Brightsiders will all cry BOO-HOO!"

"That's a noise," grinned Sarver,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And Sarver put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising up from below
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!
It wasn't sad at all!
The fans actually cheered!
And for Suns basketball?!?!

He stared down at loser town!
Then Sarver popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Brightsider still loved Suns basketball,
He hadn't destroyed their team spirit at all!
He HADN'T stopped ALL the fans from coming!
Somehow or other, they came just the same!

Sarver scratched his head, for he just didn't know
And stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"They came without playoffs! They came without stars!"
"They came without wins to this great site of ours!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then Sarver thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe fandom," he thought, "isn't measured by score."
"Maybe cheering for the Suns means a little bit more!"

And what happened then...?
Well...on Brightside they say
That Sarver's small wallet
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his wallet didn't feel quite so tight,
He empathized with all of the Suns fan's plight
And he brought back the playoffs, to repent for his sins!
And he...

Sarver brought back the wins!
~Jim Coughenour

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We here at the great Bright Side of the Sun like to celebrate the joys of the Phoenix Suns and commiserate over their misfortune.

We often prop each other up, and occasionally knock each other down. But it's sibling-style knocks and props around these here parts. Each prop up is tinged with a bit a of sarcasm and short-lived back-patting. Each knock down is done without malice, just meant as an impassioned argument with one we take for granted will be there tomorrow regardless.

We have a great community here at Bright Side, one that I cherish even while buried in "family time" out here in the real world. Thank you for giving me a forum for my Suns voice for the past few years, and I hope for years to come. I love you guys.

As I sit here in my pajamas, waiting for my visiting parents to awaken so we can go see my niece (the only one left who believes in the fat red guy flying all over the world in a single night) revel in what Santa brought her, I am reflective of my life as a Suns fan.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I remember Christmas Day a few years ago when Suns vs. Spurs was still the top-billed game of the day. The Suns hosted the Spurs on that day, boasting the great Shaquille O'Neal at center, Amare Stoudemire at PF, Steve Nash at PG and Grant Hill at SF.

The Suns had just shipped Boris Diaw and Raja Bell to Charlotte for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. Neither player made a huge impact that season, though Richardson started at SG the whole season.

The Suns fought hard to win and had the game in hand with a 2-pointer from Grant Hill with mere seconds left. One defensive stand would seal the victory.

The crowd was rocking. We cheered throughout the timeout and the next Spurs possession. Grant Hill had the chance to score the winning bucket AND get the winning stop.

But then Tony Parker drove against Grant, sucked in the defense of Jason Richardson off of Roger Mason in the corner and flipped the ball to Mason for buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the game by 1.

The crowd was rocking, but as the ball swished the net all 19,023 people went dead silent at the same time. You could have heard a pin drop.

F-ing Spurs.

Shaquille O'Neal tossed the post-game buffet. The team was devastated, and proceeded to lose a bunch of games while freezing out Terry Porter and getting him fired.

Ghosts of Christmas Present

Ghosts are the only thing you'd see in US Airways Center today because the Suns are no longer relevant enough to interrupt their family day with a nationally-televised game.

Robert Sarver is sleeping in, likely wondering what happened to his ticket sales and... well, I have no idea what Robert is thinking today. He can't be happy with the current state of events, nor can he be thrilled with the prospect of adding a ton of payroll again unless it's a sure-fire return to glory.

Bah humbug.

Ghosts of Christmas Future

Maybe Robert is envisioning a great future for the Suns, but it is unclear what "great" means to him. He thoroughly enjoyed the Phoenix Mercury's championships over the last several years, and I know he is a competitive guy who wants his team to win. He still attends all Suns games too.

Hopefully, someone visits him today to show him the grave of the Suns future unless the tide is turned and momentum is shifted. The Suns need a star or two or three in a BIG way.

Let's hope Robert's Christmas is a filled distaste for his empty arena and a resolve to rectify the situation very quickly.

In the meantime, let's enjoy the lives we have and recognize that misery does love company so we all really do love each other. A lot.

Happy, whatever-you-celebrate, Suns fans!


When all the dust settled last night the glaring tone of the game ended up being technical fouls. Two in particular as Phoenix Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry was ejected in the first half. Did he do enough to get called for a T? Yes, but that quick trigger ejection was rather Grinch like less than 48 hours before Christmas.

"First of all I told the team I had to apologize," said Gentry after the game. "I have to do a better job of keeping my cool in that situation right there."

Here is the full article on SB Nation Arizona.

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