FanPost

27. Rack 'Em: The View from Phoenix

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It's kind of funny how NBA games ebb and flow.

I suppose that the backwards and forwards waves of scoring have something to do with the fact that points are accumulated by 2s and 3s. If a team manages to put a couple of makes together, the first thing ya know it's a 7-0 run and momentum is completely altered.

I reckon that the old adage that "basketball is a game of runs" is probably just another way of saying that in the course of a 48 point evening, teams are apt to score several times in a row now and again. The key is keeping your opponents' scoring runs minimized and getting hot down the stretch, when games are actually decided.

When one is playing the Phoenix Suns, the ebb and flow of scoring runs is even more pronounced. If Portland is down 9 to a healthy Houston Rockets team late in the 3rd Quarter, they're probably toast. Down the same 9 to Phoenix or the New York Knicks or Orlando any one of those ultra-offensive 3-point raining teams — less of an issue, for sure.

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The gunning teams might drop 3 or 4 treys on your skull in quick succession, or they might just as easily clank 5 in a row and let ya back in it. A little luck, a little defense, who knows? Just get those rebounds, that's key.

I figure you look at the lead in a Suns game and divide by 2 and that's the approximate situation in real terms. The Blazers were down FIFTEEN POINTS pretty late in the 3rd Quarter on Thursday night and it looked grim. The raw magnitude of the lead was clearly something that clearly could be surmounted (7.5 "real" points), but I was convinced the Blazers had stopped hustling and given it up. This perception was short-lived, thankfully. Then the long jumpers stopped falling for Phoenix and Portland unleashed a new secret weapon...

All hail Jerrydus Rex! Sixteen points, 3 rebounds, and an assist in the 4th Quarter!

Phoenix has been snakebit during their appearances on TNT. Their 105-102 loss to Portland marked the 17th straight time they earned the big L in the bright lights — a Nets-like clip for a team that is anything but Nets-like. It is pretty weird, if you think about it, that a team that good can lose that many in a row. Bad luck? No. There has to be a reason, does there not?

Well, allow me to advance a theory. I think that Phoenix's abysmal performance on TNT probably relates to the fact that pressure intensifies for marquee television games. Teams close on open perimeter shooters a half second quicker, they rebound just a little bit harder, they hustle just a little bit more — and jumpshooters get just a little bit tighter. They think more and flow less.

Something else happened in the second half of the Blazers-Suns game, however. Portland started taking and making a bunch more 3s themselves. I believe Portland opened the game 2-for-4 behind the arc in the first half; Phoenix made a bunch, like 8 or something like that. By the time the game was over, Portland was 10-for-20 and Phoenix was 10-for-21 from downtown. In short: the Blazers gave the Suns a taste of their own medicine.

There were mismatches, to be sure. Portland had no answer for Amar'e Stoudamire in the paint, true, but by the same token, Phoenix had no way to keep Roy or Bayless from driving and finishing. Portland wound up shooting 35 foul shots, making 25. Phoenix shot 22 and made 16. Easy money. Winning basketball involves getting to the rack.

It's good to have another guy other than Brandon who can do it.

 

Here's an interview with The Rex and his brother just before the NBA draft...

 

Now a little local love for the Chan Man...

 

We can all agree that squeezably soft Charmin Frye is a swell guy and it's great for him to be home playing for a team that loves him and appreciates him and uses him in an appropriate manner — floating around the 3-point circle and hoisting away on offense, playing a few minutes of fairly fluffy D in the key once in a while on the other end of the floor..

Of course, my own view is that Centers who don't bang in the paint on both ends are temperamentally unsuited for employment in the National Basketball Association. Jumpshooting "Centers" don't like the contact, they don't want to take the chance of feeling pain, they don't want to get hurt — which is logical and fine for a wrecking yard operator or a butcher or a librarian — but not so good for an NBA Big.

Here's why. By taking the path of least resistance, fluttering around the perimeter instead of mashing in the pit, jumpshooting "Centers" (not just Channing Frye, but also the others of his ilk, of which there are a few) thereby put themselves out of position for rebounds and out of position for high-percentage putback shots and out of position to take passes and work the offense down low, where the shots are close and the chances of success good.

Furthermore weak Center play reduces a team's chances in the gritty post-season — when defense tightens up and high percentage scoring chances determine everything — to zip, zilch, ZERO. And this all because when it comes right down to it these perimeter-oriented bigs (for all the bogus rationalizations made on their behalf about "pulling out the defense") are........................... CHICKENS!!!

Yes, CHICKENS!!!

 

Welcome to the Festival of Corny Eldrick Woods Jokes!

 

Time to steal some Eldrick Woods jokes from the internets... Here are some of the not-too-naughty ones...

  • A recent survey shows that 43% of Americans disapprove of Tiger Woods' behavior. The other 57% are still dating him.
  • What's the difference between a golf ball and a caddy? Tiger Woods can drive a golf ball 400 yards.
  • Elin Woods has a twin sister named Josephine. Know how to tell them apart? Elin is the one holding the bent 5-iron.Elin_medium
  • Congratulations to Tiger Woods, named Player of the Decade by the Associated Press. He's not bad at golf either...
  • Word is that Eldrick is gonna change his nickname as part of a major makeover. His wife is encouraging him to start calling himself "Cheetah" but the Florida traffic cops who now know him just as intimately are officially advocating "Lion."
  • He may have lost his endorsement deal with Accenture™®, but it sounds like Tiger has something in the works with Hostess.™®
  • How is Tiger like a baby seal? They both are in constant danger of being clubbed to death by Scandinavians.
  • Why is Steve Williams so upset? He heard that Tiger is in the market for a new Caddy.
  • What does Tiger Woods have in common with a duffer? Neither one can drive straight.
  • What is Tiger Woods' handicap? Cocktail waitresses.
  • One from England: "What a waste... I just spent £25 on Tiger Woods' 18 Favourite Holes. Turns out it was about golf!"
  • Why did Phil Mickelson call Elin Woods yesterday? He wanted to pick up some tips on how to beat Tiger.
  • Contrary to media reports, GM is looking forward to continuing its sponsorship agreement with Tiger. They're even unveiling a new car for him to promote, the Buick Rendezvous.™®
  • Tiger and Elin couldn't agree what to do the other night. He wanted to go for a drive and she wanted to go clubbing.
  • Tiger said the other day that fixing his marriage will be a lot like improving his golf game... He just needs to have better control of his putz.
  • Elin Woods is going to tell her story in a magazine article next month in hopes that teenage girls will learn from her experience. It's gonna appear in the January issue of Tiger Beat.
  • Tiger's other women aren't mistresses — they're provisionals.
  • Good thing Tiger can putt, because he sure can't drive worth a damn.
  • The cops asked Elin how many times she hit her husband. Elin replied, "Sheesh, I don't know, just put me down for 5."

 

Channel Surfing.

Wednesday, Dec. 16.

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Los Angeles Lakers (19-4) at Milwaukee Bucks (11-11).

Are you a Lakers fan or a Bucks fan? Depending on which way you swing, this overtime spectacular may either headlined as "The Shot" or "The Call." With the home Bucks in control by 6 points in the last minute of overtime, a missed charge call turned into a 3 point play, starting a decisive Laker run — made possible when the Turkish dude with the Slavic chicks' name (Ilyasova) bricked a pair. Kobe's buzzer-beater intentionally replicated the EXACT shot he had missed at the end of regulation. He's funny that way. The Milwaukee faithful were in no mood for irony, however, and they departed feeling swindled.

Fun fact: the Lakers have played exactly 7 road games thus far this season. Of these they have lost one in Utah, won 3 in regulation, and won 3 in overtime. In other words, the line between outstanding road success and mediocrity in the NBA is a thin one.

When the Blazers played Milwaukee a week ago, I was ready to come unglued when they lost in double overtime. "Bottom feeders," I called the Bucks — and it's true that in the Western Conference they'd probably be something like the 11 seed or some such. Still, they're not a bad home team at all, with the crazed, horn-honking drunken loonies of "Section 6" raising a ruckus. I still don't like the fact that Portland flushed a winnable game in Buckville, but at least a feel a little less bad about the Blazers when the back-to-backing Lakers had the same exact trouble there.

One correct call by the officials at the end and this game would have went the other way. It sucks to lose like that, but the Bucks did. Lakers 107, Bucks 106 (OT).

 

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Washington Wizards (7-15) at Sacramento Kings (10-13).

I really enjoy watching the Sacramento Kings. They're very young and they play very, very hard. No attitudes. They're scrappy. They work together. Tyreke Evans is gonna be a superstar. Fun team.

The Kings also kind of funny to watch. They suit up gobs of Caucasians — and I'm not just talking about unathletic big doofs at the end of the bench, but players who are actually integral to the success of the team. Don't be offended, haole friends, I would have used the P.C. term "European-Americans," but that's not really accurate either... At one point towards the end of the 3rd Quarter of this game the Kings had on the floor: PG Sergio Rodriguez (Spain), SG Beno Udrih [Δ→ SLOVENIA] , SF Omri Casspi (Israel), PF Andres Nocioni [Δ→ ARGENTINA], C Spencer Hawes (USA). This was essentially the squad who put Sacramento on a 12-2 run that won this game for their team, incidentally...

Gilbert Arenas did his best, god knows... He got to the rack again and again in crunch time as the 12 point lead of the Kings shrank and shrank and shrank. Gil put 13 of his game-high 33 points up in the 4th Quarter, but they needed a few more. Kings 112, Wizards 109.

 

Thursday, Dec. 17.

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Phoenix Suns (17-8) at Portland Trail Blazers (15-11).

Well, I sort of spent the first part of this thang blathering about playing the Suns, so let's just get to brass tacks, shall we? Blazers came from 15 back and won by the skin of their teeth when a Phoenix 3-ball by Nash clangs off at the horn. Yaay. Blazers 105, Suns 102.

Let's take a peak at the Popcorn machine GAME FLOW SUMMARY, shall we? Please give that link a little clicky-wicky, if you would...

Observation 1: Don't be so harsh about single game +/-, just use it correctly to point you towards hidden truths. Game high for the Blazers? Martell Webster at Plus-18. Why? He's the one healthy SF on the Blazers' roster and he was able to step up the intensity, pretty clearly. He scored 15 points, too, by the way.

Observation 2: Phoenix really had this game until the Blazers went on a 16-2 run in the 4th Quarter. Superheroes on the court: Roy carrying the ball as the de facto PG, Rex as the de facto SG, Blake playing the Portland, Marty as the de facto Power Forward, and LMA as so-called "Center." Score one for Nate pulling the goalie and playing small ball.

Observation 3: Blazers turned in a 35 point quarter to finish the game, which is what they needed to do.

Observation 4: Jerryd Bayless: 29 points in 29 minutes. Steve Blake: 12 points in 38 minutes, all 3-point shots. Hmmmm. The economist in me sees a disoptimum utilization of resources...

Observation 5: Brandon Roy had 19 points in the second half. That's what superstars do...

Observation 6: LMA had ZERO points in the 4th Quarter. That's what superstars do not do...

 

Now, break out your pink Snuggie™® and make yourself a warm mug of cocoa (with marshmellows) and join me in watching the latest installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD:

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And just in case you missed it, here's Thursday's episode...

 

Time to take a spin around the desert and see what the Phoenix fold are reading and writing about the good ol' Blazer game...

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(1)

Suns Can't Hold Lead Against Trail Blazers

by Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic

*  *  *
...The Suns are encountering all sorts of firsts.

They blew a double-digit lead for the first time Saturday at Denver. They were going without both of their regular shooting guards, Jason Richardson and Leandro Barbosa, for the first time Thursday at Portland. It was then and there that they lost for the first time this season when entering the fourth quarter with a lead too.

They can get every first but for their first win on TNT since the 2007-08 regular season and their first road win in December. The TNT curse lives on, growing to 17 on Thursday night when the Suns blew a 15-point second-half lead and an 81-70 one entering the fourth in a 105-102 loss at Portland. It was the Suns' sixth consecutive road loss. 

Phoenix was beat by its town's own, second-year guard Jerryd Bayless, who stepped into the opportunity to score a career-high 29 points that went well with 27 points from Brandon Roy, who got his 11 biggest points during the fourth-quarter comeback. * * *

 

(2)

Welcome to Prime Time, Jerryd Bayless

by Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic

* * *

If it was not for Portland's rash of injuries, Bayless' playing time would be as inconsistent as ever. But Portland leaned on him against his hometown's team, the Suns, and he answered the call with a career-high 29 points (previous high was 23) on 9-for-15 shooting. He made two 3-pointers in a game for the first time in his career. He had 16 points in the decisive fourth quarter, often taking over the ballhandling from Brandon Roy so that Roy could rest instead of coming out of the game. Roy played the entire second half.

"It felt great," Bayless said. "I can't even like. You know, this last year and a half has been tough for me. Coach (Nate McMillan) has given me an opportunity now and I'm just trying to make the best of it so I don't have to go through that again."  * * *

"Me and Brandon talked about it a lot," said Bayless, still only 21 after spending one year at University of Arizona. "We feel kind of like he's the LeBron (James) and I can be the Mo Williams off of him because Mo's not really just a pure point. He's kind of just a guy that can make plays. That's what I was trying to do tonight and just make plays for myself and everybody else." * * *

 

(3)

Blazers 105, Suns 102 - Bayless, TNT down Suns

by Mike Schmitz, Valley of the Suns (TrueHoop)

After three quarters at the Rose Garden in Portland tonight, a Suns win was almost a guarantee. Coming into tonight's game against the Trail Blazers the Suns were 11-0 when Steve Nash handed out 11 or more helpers — he had 11 at the end of three. The Suns were 11-0 when leading after three quarters - they led by nine after through 36 minutes.

But despite Phoenix's prospects after three quarters of play, the TNT curse went into effect and former Arizona Wildcat and St. Mary's High School standout Jerryd Bayless went to work, propelling the Trail Blazers past the Suns, 105-102.

"We can't play good for 36 minutes," Suns coach Alvin Gentry told the Associated Press. "We have to play well for 48 minutes. That's the only way you win on the road." * * *

 

(4)

Blazers Down Suns: TNT Curse Continues

by Phoenix Stan, Bright Side of the Sun (SBN)

* * *
The Suns played a fantastic game for the 1st three quarters. The offense moved well and the team was making quick decisions reacting to the Blazers switching defense. On the other end the Suns were winning the battle of the boards and were active and aggressive on D holding the Blazers below 41% shooting before two things happened...

The tank ran dry and the starters couldn't sustain the effort and Jerryd Bayless went nuts. Perhaps more importantly, the Blazers coaching staff benched Andre Miller in favor of Bayless and they finally turned the kid loose.

Throw in Brandon Roy's normal fourth quarter big time play and there was simply no way the Suns were able to stop those two guards from getting deep penetration. When they stayed home on the shooters Roy and Bayless scored at the rim or got to the line. When the Suns collapsed in the paint the Blazers hit their shots. Frustrating, but also a case of great players making great plays at home. * * *

 

(5)

Those Crazy Bedgers

posted to the Bright Side of the Sun open thread

phew
just hoped over to the BE thread...that place is jumping. Almost too much to keep up with.

by Phoenix Stan on Dec 17, 2009 8:11 PM PST


those crazy bedgers
i love the enthusiasm they have, but its too hard to do that and watch the game at the same time, the comments are always overflowing haha. BSoTS is manageable :P

by azmanian_devil on Dec 17, 2009 8:15 PM PST


watch three seconds of the game, miss 20 comments
It's unreal.

by Steve Weinman on Dec 17, 2009 8:16 PM PST

 

(6)

Calm Down!

posted by "Yanyanman2" to Bright Side of the Sun open thread

calm down

it was a bad, bad loss. i am dissapointed. third road game in a row we should have won. but please, everybody, calm down.

jerryd bayless had a huge game. so we learn from that, ok? gratned, we should have learned from that about 2 quarters ago. but we will learn.

suns D was great for 3 quarters. but portland found its 3-ball in the fourth and we didnt cover it. they started getting hot and the home crowd got into it.

so many people here get absolutely ridiculous after every loss. its fine to be upset, but you have to be reasonable as well. seems like whenever we lose everybody has the same reaction:

     1) BLAME AMARE
     2) DESPAIR
     3) START COMING UP WITH CRAZY TRADE SCENARIOS (i don't think we've gotten to this yet tonight, but it will probably come)

let's all calm down and look at what actually went wrong: OUR BENCH. clark was bad and alando was bad. i dont think our bench is ready to cover the offensive load placed on them tonight without LB and JRich. blazers, on the other hand, were ready and prepared to dig deep into their bench to find offense because of the injuries. thats the way it rolled. priorities should be finding Earl's potential. and covering the damn 3 point line.

 

(7)

Suns Look Great Early, But Fall Late to Injury-Ravaged Blazers

by Jim Neveau, Suns Spot (Fanball)

* * *
Unfortunately, as has been the case recently, the fourth quarter spelled their doom. The Suns couldn't buy a bucket, and the Blazers completed a great comeback to win the game. Jerryd Bayless was a driving force behind the Portland win, with a career high 29 points in 29 minutes off of the bench to send the Suns to their 17th straight defeat on TNT.

Portland outscored Phoenix 41-23 over the last 14 minutes of the contest to take it.

In the closing seconds, the Blazers were clinging to a three point lead, and the Suns were inbounding the ball with four seconds left, and they were unable to get a good shot off as Nash bricked a fall-away three. * * *

 

(8)

Worst Play Ever

posted by "12-21-2012" to Real GM Suns message board

Gentry with the worst inbound play of all time. Nash had to work like a maniac for the ball. Frye getting the ball from Amare was worthless and cost us a couple seconds to at least get off a better shot.

Bayless looked like D-Wade when oviously he is a bench warming scrub. Won't have another game like this the rest of his life.

 

(9)

Tough Way to Lose

posted by "ChrisCringle95" to Real GM Suns message board

Tough way to lose as the Suns were killing Portland the whole game. I think the Suns need to send in Collins to take a cheap shot on Bayless and let him know no more layups.

You can't just let the dude come down the lane time and again. Then he has the nerve to smirk at the bench like he does this all the time. He would have been on his face hurting if I were the coach no question.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda sums up this game...

 

(10)

Our Achilles Heel

posted by "Garrick" to Real GM Suns message board

Fast guards that can penetrate have been killing us for a number of years now so it's not surprising to hear that Bayless had a really good game tonight.

That is our achilles heel.

 

The Bottom Line:

1. We had that game — HAD IT!!!

2. The TNT Curse is a very real thing. Next time we aren't watching...

3. If somebody's gonna beat us, it's good that at least it was a Phoenix kid.

 

More classic chicken dancing...

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