The Suns had a full practice today after taking their second day off this week due to the light schedule. Leandro was in attendance but as Alvin Gentry put it, "he can't do anything from a practicing or conditioning standpoint."
He's expected to be out out 1-3 weeks with a left tibial bone bruise.
Coach Gentry said that Dragic, Tucker and Nash would all see more minutes as a result of the injury. He's looking for Tucker to bring it defensively and make open shots while playing within himself. This shouldn't be a problem for Tucker who since last summer in Vegas has shown good floor awareness and does not force many shots. If anything, he might not be aggressive enough.
Asked if Tucker's post-up game might be featured, Gentry responded that the Suns are not a post up team other then Shaq. He described the Suns as a "slashing team" that likes to keep the lanes open.
On the Philly game, he said that the 26 - 8 advantage in second chance points were the result of a "good night". I tried to ask if the 76ers might have been hesitant to attack the offensive glass to hard and leave themselves exposed to the Suns fast break but I didn't quite get the question out right. Gentry responded by talking about how great a running team the Sixers are and consider them better then the Suns at running the break.
On Matt Barnes, Coach talked about all the little things he does even when his shot isn't falling and how fans don't always understand that. Of course, he chuckled when asked about Barnes' tendency to turn the ball over and said "that was a whole other matter."
Finally, when asked about being short one assistant coach Gentry reported that they've split the scouting duties three ways instead of four and that Mark West has been helping out as well. He also talked about the old days when it was just the coach and one assistant and the coach had to do everything including taping ankles. That could explain Bill Walton's short career.
When Shaq was asked about missing Barbosa he showed his frustration with the course of the season so far saying, "We had a lot of opportunities not to be in the position we are in so it's not time for excuses now. Right now we got 9, 10 guys. We just got to suck it up and keep fighting."
I couldn't agree more.
A few notes from Sports 620 KTAR's Johnny V on the Wizards game:
- The Suns have won five of the last seven against the Wizards, including a sweep of the season series in 2007/08 and a win in the first meeting this season on Jan 26 in our Nations Capital(103-87).
- Phoenix has won 29 of the last 39 contest against Washington.
- The Suns own a 33-20 advantage in games played in Phoenix.
- Phoenix sits 3.5 games behind the Mavericks for the eight and final playoff spot. Since Dallas had a 6 game lead they've lost 3 of 4 and the Suns have won 3 straight.
- The Mavericks, who lost to the Hawks in the ATL last night, are in Indiana to face the Pacers tonight, Indy has lost 4 straight and 5 of 6.
- Meanwhile the Wizards are wrapping up a 4 game road swing as they're in Denver tonight to face the Nuggets. They're 0-2 on the trip and have lost 11 of their last 14 games.
- Washington could have Caron Butler back tonight, he's missed the last 3 games with a left hamstring injury. Butler led the Wiz with 28 points in the first meeting against the Suns.
Audio first of Shaq talking about missing LB and then from Gentry talking about lots of other things.