The Suns held a full practice today and by full I mean they went at it. Hard. The intensity level seemed to be just a little bit higher in the gym today in preparation for Friday's BIG GAME with the UTAH JAZZ.
By full I don't mean that everyone was on the court. Amare was held out again with a blister on his toe which he's had for the past two games. It certainly didn't impact his performance in either of those contests and it is not expected to slow him down on Friday.
Big game Friday?
Is it really a big game? Steve Nash thinks so, "It's a big game. It would be a big win for us. It would be a tough loss."
But at the same time, Steve being Steve hedged a bit as well, "But when it's over, it's over and we keep playing."
In the last two meetings with the Jazz, the Suns were able to build big leads but gave them back. In the first game on the road, the Jazz were able to seize the momentum and come back late and in the last game in Phoenix the Suns ran out of gas. It was the 4th game in 5 nights.
So while the record against the Jazz is 0-2, the Suns feel like they can win if they play hard, play smart and bring a full 48 minute effort. And there's no excuse for not doing that this time.
Playoff time / Playoff chances
"The weather is getting warmer and the stretch is upon us so it is starting to feel like the playoffs are right around the corner," Nash explained. "We want to go in to the playoffs and beat some one. If we can win the first round I think hope springs eternal. Give ourselves a crack to beat someone else."
He then elobrated on the point (in response to some idiot asking basically the same question again)...
"We definitely aren't going to walk into the playoffs going,'thanks for inviting us' and we'll just play it out and go home. We're going to come out and try to beat somebody in the first round and if we're able to do that we're going to try and beat someone in the second round. I don't know what our prospects are in reality but I feel pretty good about our team and think that we've got a chance to win a first round series and then like I said, after you do that you move on and you're positive energy and optomism can carry you."
- On the Jazz. They're a real physical team, they continue to pound away, pound away. Important for Suns to be in the open floor and make good hard cuts
- Gentry repeated what he said post game that it wasn't so much "what we didn't do", they made 7 of 11 three's and only one was wide open. The plan was to try and keep the ball out of Boozer's hands and the Suns for the most part did that. The Jazz hit their shots and they deserve credit for that
- The Suns would like to play zero precent but the Jazz do such a good job executing that you have to give them different looks in different situation. Also using the zone will help Steve with Deron Williams
- D Will is a tough match-up against everyone. Physical player with quickness. Great player
- The Jazz play big shooting guards so you can't move Nash off Williams
- The Jazz do the exact same thing when they had Stockton and Malone or Mark Eaton. They run all the same plays they've always run
- Gentry joke that it's not a big game if the other teams lose...He still thinks the Suns control their own destiny. If we keep winning and so do they then they deserve to be where they are
- LB showed some good signs in his first outing back. His shooting will be inconsistent because the surgery was on his shooting hand. Gentry will continue to give him minutes
- The goal is to be playing best your basketball in the last three weeks of the season so you go into the playoffs on a run
- Earl Clark played 45 minutes and almost dropped dead. It was good for him to play in Iowa and be the focal point of an offense. He was happy that he was able to play
Other Notable Stuff
The Utah Jazz tweeted that Deron Williams had an MRI on his bruised shoulder and also had an ankle sprain. He is a game time decision as is Wesley Matthews (knee) and Andrie Kirilenko (calf). It would be shame if those guys couldn't play... :(
For those interested in keeping up with Mike D...
Mike D'Antoni says up-tempo play style can work for New York Knicks like it did for Phoenix Suns
"But people think its all offense and that's not the case. But we're not a defensive juggernaut and walk the ball down." D'Antoni is ultra-sensitive to the criticism that his teams are weak defensively.
Former and current players have said that D'Antoni spends little time coaching defense, which is why there is growing sentiment in the organization that D'Antoni needs to add a defensive coach to his staff.