P.J. Tucker loves the Pistons. Get in on the FanDuel tournament with promo code SBSUNS.
SB Nation FanDuel tournament number four is on tap for tonight. I've made totally sure that you will be in contention for the big dollars so join using this link, read the tasty tidbits below, pick your team, and leave your lineup in the comments. Then brag your ass off on Twitter using #FanDuelSBN. Extra points for extra obnoxiousness.
Time for the Suns to get back on track. Phoenix has dropped three straight, but the week ahead looks promising. The Suns have five consecutive games against opponents with sub .500 records. First up though is Detroit, who took the purple and orange to the wire on November 19th.
P.J. Tucker. Last time the Pistons and Suns tangled, Tucker shot 6 of 8 from the field and hit 2 of 4 from behind the arc for 16 points to go with 7 rebounds. He also did not commit a turnover in 30 minutes.
Isaiah Thomas. Yikes. In 23 minutes of play, Thomas shot a frigid 1 of 9 from the field and totaled just 5 points against Detroit.
Gerald Green. Oklahoma City and Phoenix met three times last season. In those three games, Green averaged better than 28 points a contest, shot 55% from the field, and hit a blistering 18 of 30 three pointers.
Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe hit 43% of his shots last season against Oklahoma City, falling short of his 51% average for the season. He also had two of his top ten turnover totals against OKC, including a season high of 8 on November 3rd.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP hit a number of big shots to keep the Pistons close in the last matchup. In total he hit 6 of 13 shots, including 3 of 7 treys for 15 points in 28 minutes.
Russell Westbrook. Two of Westbrook's top three scoring performances last season came against the Suns. On March 6th, he had his best night of the season, scoring 36 to go with 9 assists and 9 boards. A month later he scored 33, with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.
Andre Drummond. Ripping down 13 boards, good. Shooting 2 of 10 from the field for 4 points in 25 minutes, not very good.
Reggie Jackson. For the 2013-14 season, Jackson shot 44% from the field. In three matchups against the Suns, Jackson shot a combined 35%, bottoming out with a 2 of 8, 4 point performance on March 6th.
Got it? I've given you the winners and losers. The rest is on you. To recap: #FanDuelSBN, leave your lineup below, and of course the link to make it all happen. I'd say "good luck" but you don't need it.
"The Big O."
As if the Chuckster's head wasn't big enough already. Frame is plastic. Bidding starts at 8 bucks, shipping runs another $5.75.
Worn by The Matrix in 2005. Here's the catch: they're also signed and personalized. So if your name is Walter, this could be a really good get. You can pick these up, shipping included, for $250. If that's too steep, the seller will hear offers so take a shot.
An important reminder to never let your faith get in the way of your allegiance for the Suns. Take care of both for about $25 after shipping.
According to the seller this was a giveaway when the sports bar opened in December of 1992. New, never used, this can be yours for $10-$12 after shipping.
This can't be from our planet. It is unisex though! Celebrate the 1993 Western Conference championship team for $26-$40 after shipping.
These are so weird but I'm fascinated by them. You can pick up the five of clubs featuring Vinsanity for $12.75 after shipping. At that rate you can have a set together for 663 bucks.
You don't have to read between the lines here. Oliver was a big boy. I assume he still is. The price is right, four bucks after shipping and it's yours.
Very cool item here. Painting includes the signatures of Dennis Johnson, Walter Davis, Alvan Adams, Jeff Cook, Truck Robinson and John MacLeod. Buy it now for $189 plus $18.50 shipping.
36 of these beauties should last you a week. Assorted brands, all include the Suns logo. Bidding starts at $30, shipping is free.
From that infamous preseason night when the Spurs literally did not show up. Heads up, by the time this article posts there will only be a few hours left in the auction, so move quick. Redeemable for tickets, merchandise, or food at any US Airways (pardon me, Talking Stick Resort) Arena event through June 30th, 2015. Not convinced yet? You also get the letter that came with the card and a coupon for a free Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. Bidding is currently at less than 20 bucks.
Today the Suns held their first actual practice since embarking on their road trip last week. Here is what happened.
The Phoenix Suns took a day off after Monday's heart-wrenching home loss against the Miami Heat, which happened on the second night of a back-to-back, and after a very late overtime loss to Blake Griffin, and the rest of Los Angeles Clippers the night before.
The team wasn't their usual selves for that game. Although they shot the ball effectively, and didn't seem to be suffering from the normal tell-tale signs of tired legs, namely front-rimming the ball, they were noticeably less energetic, scoring only seven fast break points (they average 26), especially on defense.
This not only accounted for Chris Bosh having an outstanding night (34 points), but also hampered their ability to get out in transition after those missed shots, which rarely came, and score in transition...which is undoubtedly the greatest strength of this team.
The good news is, the Suns had a day of rest, and will be ready to play again tomorrow night, at home, vs. the Detroit Pistons.
In addition, the Suns will, in all likelihood, receive a boost from the return of Isaiah Thomas, their prolific scorer, and third point guard, whom the team has sorely missed over the past eight games.
Here's what the coach, and Isaiah himself had to say after today's practice:
"He should be ready (to play Friday), He went through the practice, and he didn't say it bothered him, so he should be ok."
On difference it makes not having Isaiah:
"Four games in five nights, and if we can have that other guy who can give Goran and Eric some rest, then maybe we won't have some turnovers late in the game when they're tired. When you have to play guys a lot of minutes, it wears them down. If we get Isaiah back then we can kind of limit some minutes." He continued, "We want to be able to give them a break and still be able to push the ball, and (Isaiah's) got to be able to come back from this injury and be able to push the ball, he can't walk it up, so we'll see how he does."
On today's practice after not practicing for so long.
"It was one of those days where we had yesterday off, after playing four games in five nights, and it was a little rusty today with guys getting back in the groove. But do you want to kill them when they have another game tomorrow night? So we wanted to go short and quick and do a few things, but it's tough during the year, and guys have to learn from watching tape. We try to get on the court as much as we can, but there's always that balance."
If we just make the simple passes...and it's everyone...but if you start playing around with the ball and going one on one, and if you don't get by the defender and he's doing a good job, that's when you have a tendency to turn it over. So, maybe a little less one-on-one by all out guys. Catch it, and if it's your shot, shoot it, if it's not, take one or two dribbles and kick it to someone else and let them do it. He continued, If you look at the good teams, like San Antonio and Golden State, nobody really holds the ball. If you have a tendency to want to pump fake, and then you want to make a move, by then the defense adjusts."
On other players off the ball not moving enough:
"You have to time it. You can't be up there early, because then your man knows where you're at and they're going to deny it. You have to be away from it, and then when the ball is swung to a particular player, you're in your set-up motion to pop open." He continued, "We're sitting in the corner a little too much in some of those situations."
On what happened against Miami:
"Miami slowed the game down on us, and shot with the clock down to three or four most of the time. Indiana did that too but they missed the shots and we were able to fast break. Miami made those shots and we weren't able to run." He continued, "Miami did a good job of executing with the shot clock down, and they got back on defense, and we didn't have the energy with the fourth game in five nights, and we just didn't have the energy we needed to push the ball after a make."
On his ankle and status:
I feel a lot better, this is probably the best day. This is the best it's felt since I got injured. Today I did the most I've done in two weeks. If it responds good, I'm going to play. Once I can tolerate the pain, and I can move out there a little bit, I'm going to play." He continued, "I've been trying to rest the past few days...it felt the best it has since I injured it. There are still some cuts, like when I'm going left that hurt, but if it responds well tomorrow I'm going to definitely be out there playing...I'm tired of sitting behind the bench and watching. If I can move as well as I did today I'll be out there"
On what he can do to help the team:
"Just orchestrating the team as a point guard and getting the guys in the right spots...not saying Eric or Goran aren't doing a great job of that, but sometimes we have lulls in the game when we don't know what play we're in, or we don't know what we're doing. So I think I can help in that manner, and just be another guy out there that can create for others, and myself."
On what he's seen since being injured:
"Just being a student of the game. Not just sitting behind the bench, but cheering guys on and telling guys what you're seeing when you're out there. When you're out there on the floor, sometimes you don't see what the coaches see, so I was just trying to maintain being a leader and helping out as much as I can when I wasn't out there with the guys."
On frustration of being injured:
"Last year I sat out 10 games due to injury, and it was the first time in my life that I had to sit out due to injury...this is the second time. It's tough, but at the end of the day you can only focus on what you can control, and I was in there every day getting treatment, trying to get right. When you're injured and sitting out, that's tough anyway, but on top of that it's knowing you want to play and help your team win."
On if he can help bring more energy:
"I can help with energy...that's what I do, that's my game. If I'm not playing with energy then I'm not that good of a basketball player. I think I can help, actually, I know I can help. We've played pretty well but we haven't been able to close games, and I think I can help in that aspect as well."
So I'll leave you with Green doing what he does best, for your viewing pleasure: