Tonight, the Suns play the second night of back-to-back games against the Golden State Warriors. To say Don Nelson's squad has had a rough go of it is an understatement. Here's Golden State's current medical report:
- C Ronny Turiaf (sore left knee) is day-to-day
- F Vladimir Radmanovic (sore right Achilles tendon) is day-to-day.
- C Andris Biedrins (torn abdominal muscle) had surgery and is out for the season.
- F Anthony Randolph (torn ligaments, left ankle) will miss the rest of the season.
- G Raja Bell (torn wrist ligament) was waived.
- F Brandan Wright (torn labrum) had surgery and is out for the season.
- F Kelenna Azubuike (torn patella tendon) had surgery and is out for the season.
Ouch. And I mean that respectfully. Here is another ouch for the Warriors of the 147 point variety. And to top it off, the team is for sale, which may be a good thing for Golden State, as would a new team name. I'm not talking about the Warriors, that's fine, but Golden State? How about picking a city or something?
Wonder how it feels to owe the Federal Government $160 million? Just ask Chris Cohan.
So Golden State, losers of 8 of their last 10 are set to take on the Suns tonight at home. Jason Richardson predicts:
"Might be 300 points on the board...definitely a track meet."
I urge one and all to check Golden State Of Mind for their preview, which, by the way predicts a 1 point GS victory (albeit tongue-in-cheek). It's enough to almost make you feel sorry for these guys. But not totally. Tonight that is.
The Suns are 2-1 against GS this season, averaging 120.7 ppg while yielding 112.0 to Nellie's squad. But what are the chances that this doesn't turn out to be the "track meet" J-Rich is talking about? What if Los Suns show up, ready to dominate the boards and grind out a 85-60 barn burner? OK, that won't happen. But it would be fun if it did.
The big question in this one is how the Suns react to the back-to-back. The Suns are 6-10 in the second game of back-to-backs thus far. Last night MAX played 42 minutes, while Grant Hill played 37. Nash and J-Rich put in 31 and 30 minutes of work respectively.
I'm expecting paint dominance from the Suns tonight. Obviously it's not too much of a stretch to expect Lopez to pick up 10-12 rebounds over the 6' 9'' Anthony Tolliver, while MAX should be able to dominate Corey Maggette, that is, unless 42 minutes has left him fatigued. Of course a potential MAX money guy shouldn't get tired, so let's man up Amare and hit 50 tonight. Yes?
This may be one that the Suns have a difficult time getting up for. The Warriors squad is in shambles, and recently waiving (or int he midst of waiving) the finally healthy Raja Bell in order to bring up a D-Leaguer Reggie Williams to take his spot. (I get there were financial implications in that move), but perhaps we can win this one for a former Suns favorite Raja, who took this one in stride:
"I completely understand. If nothing else, I consider myself a professional. I never want to come off as a spoiled, coddled, NBA player. The fact is, I'm not playing this year. ... I can't expect you to hold on to me for my Bird rights when you're playing with eight players."
I'm expecting big things from Robin Lopez who should be able to run, score and rebound like a beast tonight over the undersized Bay City front line. I'd also like to see the Suns jump out to a comfortable lead and let the bench take over. Perhaps get Leandro some extended minutes and see what he can do. Of course picking up a W is the most important thing, and losing tonight would be...Unacceptable.
Western Conference Playoff Picture:
1. Lakers -
2. Dallas 5 GB
3. Denver 5.5 GB
4. Utah 7 GB
5. LOS SUNS 8 GB
6. Oklahoma City 9 GB
7. San Antonio 10 GB
8. Portland 10.5 GB
So Long Raja: "Bell has been nothing but professional during his short stay with the Warriors..."
Paul Coro's Game Chat: Mike D'Antoni: "I don't play rookies? I don't like to play bad rookies..."
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Bullet points, hitting on everything from the Blazer's game, zone defense, Suns and NBA records, Coach Sloan and Michigan State's buzzer beater to advance to the Sweet 16.
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Not sure whether Dwight's trying his hand at a rap career or not, but this quote was good: "I'm not going to change who I am. I'm an emotional player. You should have the right to be emotional. And when I get called for fouls that shouldn't be fouls, I get emotional.''