| || |
|8:30PM Mountain / 10:30 PM Eastern|
|TV: FSNAZ HD, ESPN|
|Steve Nash||PG||Jason Kidd|
|JRich||SG||Antoine Wright (who?) |
| Grant Hill ||SF||Josh "Dude" Howard|
|A'm'a'r'e' S't'o'u'd'e'm'i'r'e' ||PF||The Dirk |
|@The_Real_Shaq||C||Erick Dampier |
After getting stabbed in the eye in the final second of a game (again) the Suns have an opportunity to come back tonight and show some Big Heart and bounce back.
Making the game even more meaningful is the pitiful performance the Suns put up when these two teams last played in a game that prompted The Big Twitter to tweet this question to all Suns fans:
Whatthe hell is wrong wit da suns - @The_Real_Shaq
This last game between the Suns and Mavs (which I somewhere generously described the Suns performance as warmed over dog poo) represented the absolute rock bottom of the Suns season (we hope) and the Valley of the Sun Boyz went on to beat the Jazz and the Bucks before trading Bell and Diaw for Richardson and Dudley.
The 8 and 4 record since that December 4th massacre isn't stellar but let's remember that those loses came to the Lakers, Blazers, Spurs and Pacers and each one was a close and winnable game.
As painful as it is to lose those games, let's use this opportunity to reflect back on just how pathetic our team was playing before this stretch. Remember this and this? Now we are talking about our 13th man and fine tuning the piano. We've come a long way in a month.
Hey, they don't call this the "Bright Side of the Sun" for nothing....oh, and as Blogger Ben points out it's not as if we are failing to meet expectations. Neither of these former title contenders were expected to do much better then Nets or Nuggets and both are scraping for a playoff spot in the crowded West making this game all the more meaningful.
Let's hope Shaq plays and shows some of that will to win that we seem to (still) be lacking when he's not in uniform.
No Pregame Podcast for this one. I was unable to get someone from Mavs Moneyball lined up in time despite some serious cyber stalking on my part. I guess some people are just too busy with their so-called lives to talk to me. Go figure.
Actual Thoughts on the Basketball Game that Will be Played
- I don't watch the Mavs enough to know if they are still playing that iso game or if their offense has become more dynamic with J-Kidd. Anyone know?
I would have asked the Mavs Moneyball this question on the pregame podcast if they have shown up but I guess the mavericky thing to do was to avoid the filter of the non-mainstream media. Of course the double reverse mavericky thing would have been to call me. Sad Grandpa it is then.
I do know that there are very few players as unguardable as Dirk. Amare is one of them but on a much less consistent basis. Hopefully, his shot will return and his head will be screwed on tight for this game and he can play Dirk to a draw.
This game will likely come down to bench production. Terry, Barea, Bass versus Barbosa, Barnes and Amundson (or Dudley or Lopez or...no, I was going to say Dragic but you all would laugh me off the Internets).
One reason this is a tough match up for the Suns is that the Mavs primary attack comes at our weakest defensive points. Terry and Dirk can really abuse Nash and Amare and there is no other team in the leauge that I've seen run a 4 / 5 high pick and roll pulling Shaq all the way out to the arc.
- They also run a 4 / 2 pick and roll with Dirk and Terry that is equally deadly because you can't switch it or you end up with Raja Bell staring at Dirk's belly button as he elevates for an easy jump shot. At least JRich can jump higher but that will still only give him a nipple eye view which isn't going to bother Dirkelhoff.
- Oh, and that 4 / 2 pick and roll also makes Amare have to make good defensive decisions. Enough said.
- The Suns wing players (JRich, Hill and Barnes) are going to have to have their heads on a swivel and be prepared to rotate over and help. Fortunately, defensive rotations and help defense are a Suns strong suit (I was reading the other day about the power of positive thinking and that if you say your wishes out loud they are more likely to happen)
- Nash at times has had a tendancy to leave his man too much to help giving great shooters wide open looks. Giving J Kidd wide open looks however is a solid game plan.
- On the other end though the Suns have also proven to be an unstoppable offensive machine so it's not as if the Mavs will have an easy time of it either. They do however have two big and experienced bodies to throw at Shaq so hopefully the Big Back Spasm is ready to go because you KNOW Ericka is going to be pounding that lumbar with some serious elbows.
- Mostly though the Suns just need to grab eachother's balls and bounce back with a vengence. This is a statement game not so much to the Mavs but to themselves.
And to me.
Make me proud!
Or else I might type something mean!
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 01/09/09 12:59 PM PST ]
As you've probably heard by now, Shaq's back is back. What you might not know is the specific medical issue that caused his spasms. Listen to this and find out. Then go visit your chiropractor and get yourself adjusted.
You can also hear by clicking this very link right here Shaq talk about how the Suns have blown 12 games so far this season. Considering they have 13 loses I am just curious which one wasn't blown.
Again though, I do appreciate Shaq's attitude here. He wants to win and he's in a full blown no-excuses mode. No excuses. No acceptable loses.
As for the Coach, Terry has a clear message for Amare when it comes to defending Dirk. Man up.
Audio provided by Sports 620 KTAR