The Suns blew their game in New York, lost in disappointing fashion to the Cavs the next night and have the Lakers tomorrow once again on the wrong end of the back-to-back. I would say that makes getting the W at home against the Kings as close as you can get to a "must win" for a December game.
But that's (not the only) difference between observers of the game and those that have been lacing 'em up for 10+ years.
"I can't think it would be a 'must win' in December. Maybe in April we'll have some but we've just got to keep working and try and get better every day. And whether we lose our next 10 or win our next 10 we're not a contender necessarily yet and we're not out of it yet. This team's going to think long term and try and get better every day. If we're solid we're going to win a lot of games no matter what happens tonight," explained Steve Nash after this morning's shoot-around.
That's very Zen of him but I still think this is a big one from a confidence stand-point but maybe that's more true for the fans than the team although Grant Hill had a slightly different take.
I reminded Grant about his calling a game last season the "Super bowl" and then later another the "World Cup" and asked if this game warranted such respect, "I try not to remember last year," he chuckled and went on, "You know, it's an important game. It's a long season but we've had a tough week and at least finish the week off feeling good about ourselves. So it's not so much about what they do it's more about what we do, what we bring to the table. They're a good team...we've just got to come with a lot of energy and effort today and get out mojo back."
Which just goes to prove if you ask enough people the same question eventually you will get the answer you want to hear but breaking the tie was Coach Gentry who said this about the big game question, "We've got a really tough schedule but at this stage I don't think any game is a 'must win' game. I would say they all at home are (important games). It's very difficult to win on the road in this league and I think all the home games become really important."
So you decide for yourself but while I don't see this as "must win" it is certainly a "big game".
- Coach Gentry said the Suns just need to keep doing their thing against the switches they have been seeing lately. No big adjustments although he did say, "There's things that we can do to compensate for them trying to put a big guy on him (Nash) so we'll do that."
- Channing Frye stayed after and took some extra three's but Goran Dragic was the last one on the court and looked really loose joking around with the assistants and trainers and even got himself into a half-court shooting contest which he won after missing about 5 shots
- Alvin Gentry and David Griffin were talking about Kobe's big shot last night and were thoroughly impressed as they should be...wow
- Gentry was asked about Nate McMillan's blown Achilles Tendon and said that's why he never picks up a ball while the guys are practicing. He relayed a story from back when he was with the Pistons about dunking a ball on his 45th birthday, "I dunked in Washington while we were playing the Bullets when I was with Detroit. I must have pulled every muscle and bone in my back. I told somebody it was the most pain I'd ever been in." So don't look for Alvin to be throwing down anytime soon
- Speaking of injuries, David Griffin had his left hand in a brace. I asked him about it and he just mumbled something about the practice court without given any more detail
- Steve Nash will be supporting England in the World Cup and said this about the draw, "It's great. It's exciting. I don't think any group is necessarily that difficult as far as getting too many tough teams in one group so I think it will make for a really balanced and exciting tournament."
- Nash went on to say that his parent's native England got a good draw but of course nothing's a given in that format. With Goran's Slovenia in the same Group C along with the US I asked if it made for any extra fun on the team, "Yeah of course, it's going to be a lot of fun. Too bad it wasn't during the season." But as he was turning he added, "Maybe we'll be in the finals." So all this talk about not being a contender still hasn't taken that thought from the back of his mind
- Goran Dragic was much more excited about his Slovenian National team even making it to the World Cup for only the second time and said he's already been teased by Nash but added this analysis, "It's gong to be tough but I think so we can win the game against Algeria then if we're going to have some luck we can tie the game against England." But even Goran was chuckling as he said that.
- He's a smart kid and realistic about their chances but like any fan he still holds out hope, "Like I said it's a tough Group but if we're going to play smart and patient and just play hard it could happen, anything."
- I asked Goran to comment on what the NY Post called "a ridiculous away-from-the-play foul on Goran Dragic after Grant Hill scored on a layup." Dragic wasn't too concerned about it and said the game was physical and the foul was hard but he's not mad about it and instead talked about how bad the Suns played against the Knicks and the slow start against the Cavs.
- He added this about tonight's game, "Today we have to win this game so it's going to be a huge game for us. We have to come back and play hard."
- Last week I didn't get a chance to ask Goran about the between the legs move that Jamal Tinsley put on him at the very end of the Memphis game and Goran's response going right back at Jamal.
- "He got me really bad. I didn't expect that," said Dragic and added this about his teammates reaction to his response, "After the game everybody was talking about this because nobody was expecting that I was going to do that. At the time I was pretty mad at myself and on what's his name Jamal so in my mind I have to get him back. So when I do that everyone was, how you say excited and after the game they saying they didn't believe I'm going to do that."
- I asked Goran if he thought it was important for his reputation to go back at Jamal and he agreed that it was. "I was mad and I was a little bit embarrassed what he do to me but I got him back...Next time I'm going to be prepared when we play against Memphis."