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Suns Stuff't - A Phoenix Suns Blog | Page 8

Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 28 December 2010

We are still smarting from the Suns unexpected 108 - 103 loss at the hands of the LA Clippers back on Dec. 26th and sure hope no one lost a mortgage payment off of our collective wisdom going into that disappointing contest.
Sadly - if you did - we can only offer our sympathy - no cash or checks. Cry
Frankly - we just didn't foresee a Suns offense that would sputter so badly that it would score just 19 points in the first quarter - their slowest scoring pace in any quarter all season. And we also didn't expect another in a long list of big man implosions by the uninspiring Robin Lopez as he garnered 2 fouls and a turnover within the first 3:30 minutes of the game.
That disasterous beginning made it very clear early on that Lopez wasn't up to the task - once again - and he would not be playing a constructive role on either end of the court. It gave Coach Alvin Gentry no choice but to leave the 7-footer sweltering on the bench for almost the entire game as Blake Griffin dismantled the Suns defense while scoring 28 points against our veteran squad.   
But the Suns loss came with a few collective bright spots including a 60 - 46 Suns advantage if you isolate the 2nd and 3rd period scoring. That's how a Suns team that had been the highest scoring offense in the NBA nearly overcame a 15-point deficit that piled-up in just the first 12 minutes of play. 
The brightest spot of all on the offensive side of the ledger for Phoenix was a big-time contribution from Steve Nash who hit for 21 points while leading the offense with 15 assists.
But the top scorer was Mickael Pietrus who nailed five 3-point shots from beyond the arc in scoring a total of 25 points during little over 27 minutes on the court. Pietrus did it all while just turning the ball over twice.
Pretty impressive work by the newby from Orlando and it really opened our eyes.
Can Pietrus become the latest 'Big Gun' to be added to the Suns' offensive arsenal? Will his high scoring antics make a real difference to Phoenix as they struggle to grab a play-off berth?
Those questions and more remain to be answered about the 28-year old native of Guadeloupe and - here at www.sunsstufft.com - we've included a new poll to caputre your thoughts on Pietrus and the impact he'll have on the Suns between now and the regular season's close in April.
Don't forget to let your voice be heard.
See ya' 

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 26 December 2010

Last season we put a lot of hype into pushing for Jared Dudley to be a full-time member of the Suns starting line-up. We did so because of his incredibly fast-handed defense, solid rebounding, and flashes of point scoring brilliance that helped spread the floor when Phoenix was going for those big offensive numbers.
We envisioned a front three that included Jared, Grant Hill and Amar'e Stoudemire as one of the best all-around in the Western Conference.
That dream line-up never came to pass but we didn't hold any grudges as the Suns went on to the conference finals.
But that doesn't mean the 'Jared Dudley Project' has been fogotten here at www.sunsstufft.com and we really appreciate the two early Christmas presents J-Duds sent us via the hardwood in the days leading up to the big holiday.Surprised
Namely a 27-point, 2-steal game against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 20th and a 33-point, 12-rebound, 3-steal games against the Miami Heat on Dec. 23rd.
Sadly the Suns went down to defeat in both of these contests against NBA giants - but Dudley showed the basketball brilliance that proves he can be an apt replacement for Jason Richardson atop the Suns leader board of scorers this season. 
Part of what makes Dudley a killer asset is his effectiveness on the defensive end as well as the scoring side of the ledger. His average of one steal per game - while playing about 22 minutes per contest - is the highest on the team. The only Sun with higher numbers in that category was J-Rich and he played nearly ten more minutes per game before being dispatched to the Orlando Magic in 'The Big Trade' two weeks ago.  
That steal stat - and his ability to damage teams like Miami by combining big scoring numbers with stingy defense and disruptive steals - should make Dudley the Suns 'go to' guy the rest of this season.
Sure we have heralded the arrival of Vince Carter as a dramatic step forward for the struggling Suns  - and we will be welcoming him to the hardwood when the Suns take the court against the LA Clippers at noon West Coast time today. But Dudley is a diamond in the rough who is already starting to shine and he fills a critical gap in the line-up with quality minutes that can't be ignored. 
The Vegas/ Reno oddsmakers are not giving us much love today and they have the Suns (13-15) as one point underdogs against the LA Clippers (8-22). 
Well this time we say - they are way off the mark. 
This should be the Suns game and we would race over to Circus Circus - Reno or Vegas - and put down a big hefty wad of greenbacks because the Suns are ready, rested and raring to go.
And Dudley may be ready to put a little post-Christmas action under the tree. 
See ya'  

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 23 December 2010

The new and improved - think optimistically - Phoenix Suns are set to take to the home court this evening against one of the toughest teams in the NBA. The match-up against the the tougher-than-nails Miami Heat is a reprise of an earlier season blow-out that saw the Suns fall big time 123 - 96 on Nov. 17.

But the Vegas/ Reno oddsmakers have shoved that loss aside and have the Heat as mere 6-point favorites going into tonight's showdown. Who'da figured??

One reason why the bet stters are expecting such a tight score comes in the form of Marcin Gortat - the 6-11 recent acquisition from the Orlando Magic who is expected to don a Suns uniform for the first time tonight. Gortat has been playing a strong second fiddle to Dwight Howard for years but has been a solid performer in games when he has starter-style minutes. 

Marcin has been averaging 9.2 ppg and 9.9 rpg for each game he's played 27 minutes or more in his career. Move over Robin Lopez - the Suns have a real center now!!Wink 

We believe that his steady hands will prove to be the secret in turning the less than .500 Suns around this season and giving them a shot at a quallity play-off berth. That's especially true once Vince Carter's knee mends and the 8-time All-Star begins taking the court for Phoenix next week.

The new Suns will still rely on the omnipresent Steve Nash to drive the offense and be on center stage as an all-around team leader. It will also see Goran Dragic as Nash's wing man - with starting minutes all but assured for the markedly improved guard now that Jason Richardson has been sent to Orlando. 

That said - despite the home court advantage going to Phoenix - we don't expect this new squad to keep the game as close as the Vegas guys do and we aren't putting a dime on this one.
Keep the cash and find a cheap seat or just watch it on TNT when the Suns hit the floor a little before 8:pm West Coast time.

See ya'.   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 19 December 2010

Those of you who follow this site probably know that we are smiling through our tears of joy at the prospect that Robin Lopez may be headed toward the exit with the Suns acquisition of Marcin Gortat - a solid center coming to us from the Orlando Magic. 
If you think we are overjoyed - well - you are right.Cool
Despite coming from the home of Dwight Howard and Mickey Mouse - Gortat is not a big headliner on anyone's list of fantasy stand outs. But he has shown some real workman-like qualities that will give Phoenix a much-needed reliable Big Man. And the stats available over at ESPN.go.com show that he is coming through the door with the right kind of cred. 
So far this season that has meant Gortat knocking down an average of 4 points per game and snagging about 4.7 rebounds per game while playing an average of just 15.8 minutes per game. That puts him basically on par with Lopez who has averaged the same number of rebounds per contest and slightly better scoring (6 ppg) while playing nearly three more minutes per game (18.7).   
But when you pull back the layers and look a little further down the stat sheet - you find data on Gortat's production after a 3-day rest this season - and those numbers place him several notches above the often erratic RoLo. 
Yep - the 3+ days rest stat for this season has Gortat hitting for 12 points and snagging 7 boards during an average of 24 minutes on the court per game. In addition, Marcin knocked back an average of 3 blocks - clearly a production level that would steady the Suns on both ends of the court. 
Sure - now that Gortat is out of Dwight Howard's shadow - he is going to face a steep learning curve as he seeks to fit into a Suns team with the highest scoring offense in the NBA and - due to our notoriously weak inside D - his defensive skills may be more needed than his ball handling and scoring. But Gortat does have a well-deserved reputation as a professional who can command respect on the court - something Lopez has struggled to achieve since arriving in the NBA.
With RoLo expected to be sidelined tonight when Phoenix takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder - Gortat faces a daunting first test in a Suns uniform. But we're looking for Gortat and the other new additions out of Orlando (Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus) to make the 7:00pm EST game interesting. 
Virtually every betting parlor in Vegas/Reno is carrying the Suns as 9.5-point underdogs and those who make a habit of betting the spread already know that Oklahoma City has covered the points four games in a row. 
But after sitting on our wallets as the Suns went down to defeat against Dallas in their last outing - we are pretty optimistic about how this game will turn out. Largely because we are absolutely thrilled to have the freshly minted Grant Hill/ Vince Carter combo in the Suns front court and a steady center - Gortat - ready to add to both ends of the court. 
So if you can make it to that betting window - put a small wager on Phoenix to beat the spread. And cross your fingers. 
See ya'               

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 18 December 2010

For months we've been pleading for a shake-up that would ease Robin Lopez out of the Suns line-up and finally identify a big man who can actually hang in the NBA. We were happy to see Mr. Barron brought in at center when RoLo was off court but - frankly - his numbers haven't been as eye-popping as advertised.
So the question was still lingering in the air - what will the Suns front office do to bring this franchise back to the level of last year or even better??
Well folks - we now have the answer.
It involves a startling shake-up that jettisons our highest scoring player - that's right - bye bye Jason Richardson. It also includes sending the failed Hedo experiment back to Orlando - making the veteran import one of the fastest boomerangs in NBA history. (Orlando - Toronto - Phoenix - Orlando)
In return - Phoenix is getting Vince Carter (Yeh!!!!), Mickael Pietrus, and a seasoned center named Marcin Gortat.
The Suns also get some cash - we always seem to be hard-up for that green stuff - and a decent draft choice.
While no one should argue with the Suns ditching Hedo - he was always doomed to be a bad fit with the uptempo offense Phoenix is famous for - the trade really comes down to exchanging a great shooting guard in J-Rich for a potentially Hall-of-Fame forward in Vince Carter. 
Let there be no doubt - we will be crying for days about the end of Richardson in a Suns uniform - but we are true believers when it comes to Vince Carter. 
So from where we are sitting in the cheap seats Carter's strength, power and season average 15.1 ppg make him a real asset who should be welcomed with open arms. 
Imagine an offensive arsenal with two veteran forwards - sure we know that means aging - in Grant Hill and Vince Carter, Channing Frye hitting from long range, and Steve Nash with Goran Dragic handling the back court.Wink 
That's one hell of a starting line-up and - along with increasing the Ws - it should be a lot of fun to watch.
So in short order - Vince welcome to the Suns. We should have made this move when Amar'e was still powering through the front court - you would have been unstoppable. 
To J-Rich - your a great player and we're still looking forward to your gracing the court at the All-Star game.
As for the others coming in from Orlando - please impress us because we sorely need it. 
See ya'   

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 17 December 2010

Scrambling to go beyond their .500 record - and hopefully stay there - the high flyin' Phoenix Suns are getting ready to take to the court for another national TV appearance tonight as they face the tough Dallas Mavericks. 
While Dallas is only a 7-point favorite against the Suns - who have the highest scoring offense in the NBA - we ARE NOT recommending that even the most erstwhile Phoenix partisans take the points and run with it tonight. 
No - this is definitely a game to watch from the sidelines as you clutch your mortgage money tightly in your hands. Sure - those guys at the betting window in Circus Circus Reno are a friendly bunch - but it just doesn't look like it will be the Suns night and we don't want you crying in your beer.  
While Phoenix pulled-off an incredible high scoring 128 - 122 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday evening, that win came only after a bevy of fourth quarter 3-pointers from Channing Frye and Jared Dudley propelled the Suns back into the lead with about 5 minutes left in the game. 
Frye closed out the night with 21 points after knocking down an awe-inspiring seven 3-point shots.
Talk about being back in rare form!!
And let's not forget Jason Richardson hitting for 29 points and Grant Hill putting those old legs to work as he put his own 21 points on the board.    
But getting back to tonight's hardwood challenges - it won't be so easy to nail long distance threes against a Dallas team that knows how to play defense. Remember the Maveriks have the second best 'points against' defense in the entire Western Conference allowing opposing teams to score an average of just 93.2 ppg so far this season.
The stingy D has enabled them to wrack-up a sizzling 20 wins in just 25 games and will be an extremely tough hill for the Suns to climb if they are going to keep this game within reach. 
So even though the Suns have a smokin' offense that averages 109 ppg in scoring - we advise you to be careful to avoid the betting itch on this one.
Sure cheer hard and loud for the Suns to upset the Dallas apple cart when the game hits the airwaves at 6:30pm West Coast time (9:30pm EST for all you out-of-towners back in New York). But don't risk the rent money - especially when junior is looking forward to a big Christmas.
See ya'     

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 02 December 2010

Looking towards the prospect of this evening's hardwood shoot-out between our Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors - we can't wait to see how Earl Barron performs. The first big move in revamping the line-up that had not yet adjusted to the gap left by the departure of Amar'e Stoudemire, the addition of Barron deserves to be celebrated in its full glory.

Barron's brief appearance during the Denver game back on Nov. 28 included just 10 minutes of court time but the forceful veteran knocked down 4 points, snagged 7 rebounds and slammed back a block. The only downside was the piling-up of fouls at an atrocious rate - nearly one every three minutes.

That's real court dominance - a trait that has been missing from the Suns inside game so far this season. And tonight will tell the tale of whether the new Big Man in town has what it takes to be a consistent force to be reckoned with.

Despite Barron joining what has been the highest flying offense in the NBA so far this season - remember Phoenix averages 109.35 ppg - the sharpies in Vegas/Reno are still rating the Suns as an underdog against the Warriors. Sure they are only talking about Golden State as a 2.5 point fav - but we still think they are on the wrong side of this one.

The Suns should have 'game' tonight - don't bet the ranch - but forget to lay something down. 

Instead we're looking for the Suns to take this one away from their surprisingly strong Western Conference rivals and actually reach .500 on the season. We also see the game blowing past that over/under of 228.5.

See ya'

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 26 November 2010

With our Pheonix Suns hovering at a 7 - 8 mark for the season and hoping to reach .500 ball, the oddsmakers just over the state line in Vegas have the Suns as 9-point favorites against the LA Clippers as we prepare for this evening's 6pm West Coast time tip-off. 

 In a nod to the cynics out there, we're sure that the odds are a least partly a factor of the Clippers having just played last night - they beat the Sacramento Kings 100-82 - and the expectation that even their star player Blake Griffin won't be able to quickly acclimate to such back-to-back action. So much for snagging double digit rebounds in this game young man!

But for the hardcore Suns fanatics - and we include ourselves in that roster - this could be a sign that those in the know are starting to see some real potential in this season's squad since our recent win against the defending NBA champ LA Lakers and the hard fought double OT loss at the hands of a truly solid Chicago Bulls team. We can only hope that the oddsmakers are on the mark and that the Suns are ready to use a big win tonight as the launching pad for strong post-Thanksgiving push into play-off contention.

Sure it is early yet - but seeing them with only  the 9th best record in the Western Conference is a little unnerving after last season's spectacular Suns play-off run.

As you know, the Suns have had a rocky year so far with a dirth of offensive presence close to the basket (sans Amar'e) and a defense that is allowing opponents to knock down an average of more than 110 points per game. But the point production that we're seeing in Phoenix is a thing of beauty with five players scoring in double digits. (Jason Richardson, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Hakim Warrick and Hedo Turkoglu)

J-Rich and Hedo have also been doing their part to spread the opposing D thin by hitting more than 42% of their 3-point shots.

That's lifted Phoenix to a team average of 36.7% from beyond the arc - a couple of notches above the Clippers 30.4% from long range. That said - the Suns should bust the point spread and win big against the Clippers tonight. 

 So it is time to get into that old Ford - or Honda for those of you inclined toward imports - and rush across the state line to put a few bucks down on the Suns winning big. The proceeds will help pay that annoying mortgage - or at least defray some of that nasty cell phone bill. Then it will be time for some real nail biting and a few religious moments as hardcore fandom hopes for a win against the Denver Nuggets.

But that's a prayer for another day.

See ya'

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 08 November 2010

Overcoming even our best expectations - the Suns beat one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference by stopping the previously undefeated Atlanta Hawks dead in their tracks 123-118. The win resulted from a signature offensive game that saw six Phoenix players scoring in the double digits as the team hit nearly 56% of their shots.

The offensive fireworks were once again led by Jason Richardson as he nailed 9 of 15 for 21 points. Part of that scoring barrage included going about 45% from beyond the 3-point line. J-Rich also put his fast hands to work snagging two crucial steals in the hardfought hardwood duel. And let'snot forget Steve Nash who passed for 15 assists and hit for 19 points as well.

Despite that unexpected win - we didn't even think they could come close to Atlanta - tonight's rematch against the Memphis Grizzlies has the Suns coming in as  5-point underdogs. In Vegas only the Wynn in Vegas is showing the Suns a modicum of respect and betting window there stillhas memphis favored by 4.5.

Sure - Phoenix is known for struggling in the second game of a back-to-back. But with Steve Nash, J-Rich, and Hedo Turkoglu hitting their collective strides - this isn't the time to walk away from Phoenix. In fact the only glaring flaw in the starting line-up in recent games has been the big fumbler - Robin Lopez.

An abysmal performer who has had a miserable season so far - the only exception being an 18-point game against the LA Lakers - Lopez was a non-entity in the previous game against the Grizzlies back on Nov.5th. In that contest RoLo failed to score during 13 minutes of playing and succeeded in getting hit with three fouls. Meanwhile his counterpart on Memphis - Marc Gasol - burned up the court with 26 points for the Grizzlies.

Well - the rematch is about to start and Aunt Millie is hoping for the best.

See ya'.    

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Written by Jamie D. Gilkey | 07 November 2010

Struggling to recapture the glory of last season's epic run for a Western Conference title - the Phoenix Suns are hoping to overtake the high flying Atlanta Hawks for a victory on the road. The underdog by a 5.5-point spread over at Circus Circus Reno - the friendliest betting window in all of Nevada - the Suns are coming off of an exhausting double overtime win that saw them snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

That hardwood nail biter went to the Suns 123-118 after Jason Richardson showed himself to be one of the NBA's premier scoring machines as he knocked down 38 points during just(?) 43 minutes of playing time. Richardson also grabbed 8 rebounds - second on the team behind the stunning performance of Channing Frye and his 11 boards.

When was the last time Frye had double digits in that category???  

And let's not forget Richardson's team-leading four steals!! Yes - he can score - snag a ridiculous number of rebounds - and has the fastest hands on the court. Aunt Millie is still going "Whoa Baby" about that performance..

Sure J-Rich has always been a great asset to have but this season his explosive scoring and frequent clutch rebounding has risen to a - dare we say it... All-Star level. Surprised(We were tempted to call it a 'Hall-of-Fame level' but that last time we started singing that song a guy named Amar'e Stoudemire broke our hearts by fleeing to the bright lights of New York City. As a result, such effusive praise will be limited to Steve Nash until further notice.)      

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