If you are a glass half full Bright Sider you will focus on the 115-113 win. The come from behind win actually as the Suns were down 1 point with one minute to go before Dan Dickau hit something like 27 free throws to win the game for Phoenix.
Ok, it really was closer to 12 free throws but who's counting at that point anyway.
If you tend to look at the negative parts of life - because that's the only way to get better - then you might notice that the Suns bench which is supposedly going to be known for it's defense, gave up 41 points in the fourth quarter and blew an 18 point lead in the span of 7 minutes.
Pretty impressive stuff right there and you can bet that the Suns Head Coach who generally is known for being a pretty cool customer was not pleased.
Not in the slightest.
Listen for yourself to his post game "press conference". All 50 seconds of it.
Getting back the Bright Side, the building was pretty quiet all night so from my second row vantage point I was able to clearly hear Gentry berate various officials and players. He's pretty funny when he's mad.
At one point after his team gave up an offensive rebound (one of 19 on the night) he yelled, "come on guys, lets go!" which I am fair sure was the loudest noise in the building.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 10/17/09 9:12 AM MST ]
The point here btw, is that I love Gentry getting pissed about his team playing poorly even in a pre-season game. I sense more fight in this team already this season and from Gentry more holding guys accountable and not just being a "player's coach". The locker room was not a happy place. Partly b/c they were not looking forward to the game in Mexico but also b/c they were not happy with blowing the big lead. I like that. That's a good thing. Don't be satisfied.
At least it was until they gave away T-shirts at a time out.
Free T-shirts got the place rocking! Then the Free T-Shirts went away and it was back to our nice cozy and quiet setting to enjoy a leisurely game of basketball.
good best news is the starters played really great against the 76er's starters who looked like they couldn't wait to get on a plane and go to Mexico for Sunday's game.
What we learned was that Steve Nash can still create open looks (10 assists) and Channing Frye can convert on open looks (7-10 for 17 points). Especially, against a team that's not even going to bother to pretend to try and play any defense. That's good to know. That's a positive right there.
Those bench guys? Not so much tonight.
Dragic was absolutely horrible. 0-7 and back to looking lost. Clark did have some impressive defensive plays including a nice block that ignited a fast break. On the other end however, he was 2 for 7 and was far too impressed with his jump shot. Earl, please just work on playing good defense and getting the occasional layup. Save the jump shot for next season.
I have to say that Richardson did play some solid defense on Iguodala and Amare does look, "engaged" as Gentry describes it. In fact Amare was very engaged on the glass, finishing with 12 boards and saying this, "It's a matter of getting the feel again. Tonight I got the feel out there, I'm slowly starting to get my rhythm, you know, offensively and defensively."
He might be getting his rhythm offensively on his jump shot but he is nowhere near to being back to his old explosive self. At one point he got wide open on a famous Nash/Amare side pick and roll. In the past he would have elevated and thrown down. In this game he had to take an extra dribble or two and had the ball striped by a guard who came over from the weak side. Part of that is timing, but he's definitely not exploding to the rim like we are used to. He also missed an alley ooop from Nash. It will really be sad if that explosiveness doesn't come back. I think it will though but it's going to take some time.
Before the game, Gentry said Stoudemire was 60% back as far as conditioning and "game shape". Amare disagreed with that saying he feels great but the evidence from this game seems to side with the Coach.
The brightest spot in the game was my man JD who had 5 steals (which should be enough to keep him as the NBA spg leader). Dudley also put up 11 points on 3 of 6 and had a wicked finish at the rim after getting hammered and looked impressive driving baseline after pump faking on a corner three.
It was just a pre-season game and (alleged) 15,791 people who (allegedly) attended at least got to cheer for the final couple of minutes thanks to the blown lead.
How you take that will say more about you and your attitude toward this team and life in general than anything I could possible write.
Next up. The Philadelphia 76ers redux only this time in Mexico only a few hundred miles from the birthplace of the Swine Flu. A fact several Suns players mentioned today. Look for a lot of "high fives" to be conducted with forearms, elbows and backs of hands as the team tries to stave off the inevitable zombification long enough for the vaccine to come out.
And that's your sports and medical report. This is Phoenix Stan signing off.
Highlights via NBA.com