Saturday, February 22, 2014

SUNS UPDATE


The Suns basically beat down the Spurs 106-85 on a sold out FridayNight. Each side was still without their starting point guard: Bledsoe for Suns and Parker for Spurs.Spurs were also without Leonard. The Suns defense was huge in tonight’s win; allowing a season low of only 35 first half points for the Spurs. Both Frye (17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals) and Green (13 points and 6 rebounds) had nice games, but the Suns bench made all the difference. 2 for 21 three-point shooting from the Spurs helped as well.
Ish Smith really stepped it up after Goran Dragic (8 points and 5 assists) was shaken up after being tripped byManu Ginobli. Smith basically ran the Spurs into the ground especially in the second quarter, where he led the Suns on an amazing 19-0 run. Suns only gave up 12 points in this quarter as well due to some amazing defense and a very fast paced offense. The Spurs were simply not able to keep up. It didn’t help that back end of a very long road trip. This was the Spurs 9th and final game in this road trip, and the Suns took advantage of this, led by a huge night by the bench. Markieff put up 21 points on 8 for 10 shooting, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and three steals while his brother, Marcus, put up 13 points. Smith had a career high and put up 15 points on 7 for 9 shooting (all in the paint), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots. We saw some nice playtime from Archie Goodwin who is fresh off his d-league assignment. Goodwin put up 9 points in 14 minutes off the bench. The Suns have won 11 of their last 15, including three straight.  
Beating the Spurs is great but blowing them out is better. With this win, the Suns move to 33-21 on the season and are sitting 6th place in the West. Next up, they face the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are 3.5 games ahead of the Suns in the standings and may be without their superstarJames Harden. Harden hyperextended his right elbow during the Rocket’s loss to the Warriors. The injuryoccurred after an accidental collision with his teammate, Jeremy Lin. As of now, Harden is listed as probable for Sunday’s game. He was scheduled to get an MRI in Phoenix on Friday.
John Richard (senior feature writer)

Monday, February 3, 2014

SUNS BULLS PREDICTION

Game 48 Preview: Bulls (23-23) @ Suns (29-18)

The Suns look for their 6th straight win against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. Often times have a long road trip, the first game back at home can be a letdown for teams, but the Suns didn’t fall victim to that axiom as they were able to win against the Bobcatson Saturday night. On the other hand, the Bulls find themselves in a 3 game in 4 day road trip coming off a game with the Kings on Monday night. Here are the keys to the game:

Joakim Noah
Off the announcement of his 2nd all-star appearance, Noah has been playing at an unconscious level over the last month, averaging 13.4 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. The Suns will have to use both Miles Plumlee and Alex Len (as well as the 12 fouls between them) to help slow down Noah. During the game last month in Chicago, Noah went for 14/16/6 (including 5 offensive boards) in a game the Bulls eventually went on to win by 5, so it will need to be a team effort by the Suns to prevent Noah from affecting the game without scoring.

3 Point Shooting
Despite being known as one of the best defenses teams in the league largely due to the philosophy of their coach Tom Thibodeau, one aspect of their defense that the Bulls have struggled with is defending the 3. Bulls are currently ranked 19th (36.6%) when defending the shot from long distance and the Suns only shot 6-23 (26.1%) from 3 vs the Bulls last month. One of the issues in the contest from January is that Taj Gibson played 42 minutes and actually is probably one of the most underrated defenders in the league as he’s tall and quick enough to defend shooters and as well as a pick and roll or pop. The Bulls playing Carlos Boozer should actually help the Suns and hopefully allow Frye and the Morris twins some space to get their shots off.

Getting to the Free Throw Line
Probably one of the most impressive aspects of the Bulls defense is their ability to play tight and physical while also limiting fouls. Chicago is 3rd in the league in limiting team free throw attempts at 19.5 per game. During the game in January, Suns were right at that number with 19 attempts. Especially with the Bulls playing in Sacramento on Monday, it will be important for the Suns to get to the line for easy points and the best way to do that is to get out in transition. Chicago is a notorious slow paced team, so being able to control the pace and the foul line will be integral to a Suns’ victory.

Prediction
Suns are just playing so well right now and the Bulls should be tired from their recent trip. Suns 98 Bulls 86

Don Williamson (senior staff writer)

PHX. WANTS GASOL TO SELL TIX

Our sources are telling us that the Suns are talking with the Lakers about Gasol trade for two reasons.
1) Suns attendance is one of the worst in the league. Signing Pau will add star power for additional ticket sales with the added bonus of if they go further in the play offs their revenue streams increase.
2) He is the perfect mentor for Alex Len and Miles Plumlee.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phoenix Suns: OUTPACED THE PACERS


I knew that the Phoenix Suns vs. the Indiana Pacers was going to be something special. It did not disappoint. The number one team in fast break defense (Pacers) faced off against the number one team in fast break points (Suns) on live television. The Suns continue to prove skeptics wrong as they were going up against the number one team in the league without Bledsoe. This was a very important game for the Suns; even more so to both Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green who was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Suns during the offseason for Luisa Scola. The duo combined for 34 points and 13 rebounds while Scola put up 5 points and 5 rebounds. As a Suns fan, thank you very much, Indiana Pacers!
The game was very fast paced from the beginning. The Suns were running hard on both ends of the floor and attacking the basket whenever they touched the ball. This is what I love to see from the Phoenix Suns! They are a very quick team and need to use that more to their advantage. The Suns do have some shooters, but I do not want them to try to win games by making threes alone. Attacking the basket hard gets opponents in foul trouble and gives teammates open looks at the basket. Suns did this very successfully earning themselves 44 points in the paint, 28 fast break points and 32 free throw opportunities. Unfortunately they missed 9 of those. They also got good looks from distance, connecting on 11 of 16 shots.
Suns never stopped hustling and only turned the ball over 9 times. No Suns player played more than 31 minutes against the Pacers. Plumlee played 30 minutes and put up 11 points and 7 rebounds; compared to last season with the Pacers where he played 55 minutes total. Green put up 23 points and 6 rebound and had some very flashy dunks in the process. Roy Hibbert was neutralized due to the Suns fast pace. He was limited to only 6 points and fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Pacers completely emptied their bench with about 6 minutes left in the game.
The Suns were up by 20 points in the fourth quarter with about 7 minutes left and half the fans left. I understand that it was a late game but hope that this changes in the future. They are playing hard every night and are up by 20 to the best team in the league. What more do you want?! It was an amazing game…stay and finish it. The Suns will once again play the Pacers on January 30th, but they won’t have their home court to their advantage. On Friday, they will face Gortat and the Wizards. I expect Plumlee to have another great game.

John Richard, senior staff writer 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SUNS / NUGGETS PREVIEW

Suns (22-17) vs. Nuggets (20-19): Game 40 Preview

Suns look to bounce back from their loss to Dallas on Friday as the Denver Nuggets come to town off a loss at home against the Cavaliers. Suns are 2-0 in the season series this year beating the Nuggets one time in November and December. The Nuggets have been the most inconsistent team in the league, having a 5 game winning streak 2 weeks ago, but have lost to lowly Utah as well as the aforementioned Cavs loss. Here are the keys to the game:

Markieff Morris
In the two games against the Nuggets this year, Morris is averaging 26 points and 8 boards. Playing at the PF position against the Nuggets gives the Suns an advantage as the Nuggets don’t have a good matchup defensively for him other than Wilson Chandler, who missed the first matchup between the two teams. This will also be the first time the Suns will be playing the Nuggets without Eric Bledsoe so it will important for both Markieff and Marcus to play well.  

Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried’s win/loss splits are as follows: 12 pts-9 in wins and 8-6 in losses. Being thrown into trade rumors while also not being the traditional PF head coach Brian Shaw wants, Faried might be at the heart of the Nuggets’ inconsistency this season. While a flawed player due to his size and limited offensive ability, his energy and hustle plays are great for easy buckets and team morale. Even though the difference between wins and losses is only 4 points and 3 rebounds, that can be enough to swing momentum and the Suns will have to limit classic Faried type plays if they want to go 3-0 against the Nuggets.

Channing Frye
Despite being 2 wins against Denver, Frye has combined to shoot 3-16 in those 2 games, including 1-6 from beyond the arc. The Nuggets have been playing much better and they’ll need Channing to be the player that has been such a huge part of the reason they are in the playoff picture. The Nuggets have used lineups at times that allow Wilson Chandler at the PF position, which is a tough matchup for Frye. That’s partly the reason why Markieff has been so successful this season against the Nuggets, but they’ll need a solid performance from Frye to win this game.

Prediction: Suns will bounce back from their loss to the Mavs on Friday who are sneakily playing really good basketball as of late. Phoenix should get good performances from both Frye and Markieff: Suns 107 Nuggets 99
Don Williamson

Monday, January 13, 2014

KNICKS KICK SUNS IN OVER TIME

The Suns went into the big apple still not knowing who they are since Bledsoe went down. Its that time of year so trade rumors are swirling every where and lots of them involve the Suns. That was the back drop as they took the court. The Knicks took a fourteen point lead and Markieff Morris got ejected in the first half. Suns went in to the locker down 43-52.

At half time I went over to the POSTING AND TOASTING site for the Knicks and read their comments and an article from Seth. This may be the best site under the SB NATION  umbrella. Very funny comments.

In the third quarter the Suns came out with effort and went on a 7-0 run to tie the game but as usual playing catch up on the road late in games is a recipe for disaster. The Knicks tightened up and took a ten point lead with three minutes left in the quarter. The Knicks had won four in a row and it looks like they want it to be five. Knicks end third up  75-68.

In the first six minutes of the fourth the Suns came storming back and took a one point lead behind the fantastic play of Dragic and Barbosa.  The Suns built the lead to five but the Knicks  had an answer and went on a mini run to take a two point lead with ten seconds to go. Barbosa to this point of the game is playing the way we hope Bledsoe becomes, Slashing to the hoop over and over and making them. He got fouled with one second to go and made them both. Tie game.

This is the fifth game of a five game road trip for the Suns. In over time the fresher Knick legs took a quick four point lead.  Dragic missed shot after shot. He was spent and the game ended with the Knicks winning 98-96.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

PATHETIC LOSS

The Phoenix Suns aren't sure who they are since Eric Bledsoe went down, The only thing they are getting an inkling about is that they shouldn't let Barbosa on the court. Its pretty obvious that they need to become an engaged defensive team but they just don't seem to have the heart for that type of effort on this road trip. They still haven't recovered from getting into Chicago late to start this road trip. This is the first time they have strung together effortless games. In the past this season if they had an off game they bounced back and showed they do care about winning. That was then and this is now. Playing the Pistons should at least be competitive but through three quarters the Suns were down ten points? Can they summon effort for the final frame?

In the fourth quarter the Suns started playing the exact opposite of what is written in the first paragraph and tied the game with seven minutes to go. Even Barbosa finally looked like a keeper. The Pistons were on a four game home losing streak and didn't want it to go to five so they put up seven quick unanswered points. The problem with waiting until the fourth quarter to care while on the road is you run out of energy to stay competitive. The Suns found their energy and tied the game again with a three pointer by Tucker with fifty eight seconds left. Josh Smith hit a clutch three pointer as the shot clock buzzed. Gerald Green got fouled on a three pointer. He made them all and the game was tied with four seconds to go. Josh Smith raced to the basket and scored. The Suns lose 110-108  and still don't know who they are.

I went over to THE DETROIT BAD BOYS site they have great writers and their commenters are really funny. I suggest you checking them out.