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Bobcats @ Suns - Must Win?

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Charlotte Bobcats
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Your Phoenix Suns
22-34 31-24

7:00 PM Mountain / 9:00 PM Eastern

Sunny 83 F

TV: FSAZ
Probable starters:
Raymond Felton
PG Steve Nash
Raja "Doubting Thomas" Bell
SG Leandro Barbosa
Gerald Wallace
SF Jason Richardson
Boris Diaw
PF Grant Hill

Emeka Okafor

C Shaq

Pregame Coverage: Yahoo! ESPN

Catch the Bobcat fans here: RufusOnFire

Must Win?

Of course not. There's no such thing as a must win game, as the Suns have proven that for 41 years and counting. No one in Bolivia will be executed with sugar-coated bullets tonight if the Suns don't win. My relationship counselor, Dr Phil, is staunchly against such wild fanblog wankery inherent in an ultimatum such as "must win". Besides, we are already passed the trading deadline so it's not like a player will get shipped out following a loss.

The two teams are closer than they appear, since the Diaw/Bell/JRich trade, although ESPN's black box gives the Suns a 78% chance of win here.

Even so, I can't help feeling like a lot is on the line in these early days of 140OB (mad props turs12 for the coinage). The Suns are 2.5 games out of the playoffs right now. With a schizophrenic owner that vacillates widely between his commendable deep rooted fiscal conservatism and his lovably childish "bet-the-farm" fanaticism, and a stone-cold GM whose gutsy moves has him angling for a role as the next Dirty Harry, anything could happen with this team should they falter. Don't think Steve Kerr isn't actively considering who might be next in line as Suns Head Coach.

Speaking of Head Coach Alvin Gentry, here's his thoughts on tonight's game, brought to you by our partners at KTAR Sports 620:

Gentry's first meeting with the Bobcats

Gentry Talks about the Bobcats

Amare - addition by subtraction?

I strongly felt the importance of holding onto Amare in the closing weeks of the trading deadline. He's one of the few talents we have going into his prime.

The recent season ending injury has changed my view. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be. I think about Grant Hill or Tracy MacGrady's tours of duty and how fans and front offices waited so patiently on them. It wasn't meant to be.

Amare has been emasculated by the team's choices on the court, the trade discussions and his injuries. I don't ever see him being a meaningful part of the Suns, now or later, although I fully recognize that he may continue his stardom in another uniform. I wish him the best.

The hardest thing about letting go is to realize we have nothing left behind Amare Stoudemire, except Leandro "Little Kobe" Barbosa. That you smirked shows you know what I mean. Years of draft pick sales are now upon us and beating us up. We will listen for years about those draft picks. Soak it in, it's the price we paid for a good run of 7SOL.

Diaw and Bell - bring the drama?

If one were writing a episode of LOST - Basketball Edition, this would be it. Diaw, rises from a season long funk, injures Amare. Amares swears to wear googles for the rest of his life, plays like a god on the court until he takes off the magic goggles. Diaw gets traded because another bit player doesn't like getting left behind in the "move". Amare's injury comes back in another basketball accident, his season is done and the Suns lack a back up. The Suns, having failed at power ball, go back to small lineups and running and shooting. Incidentally, that Boris Diaw trade netted another run and gunner, driver and drinker in Jason Richardson, for two defensively minded players. It all comes around doesn't it?

I'm looking forward to the Hill/Diaw matchup. Boris has no body, so guarding him with Hill should be fine. Boris' new game: he's shooting 42%+ from 3 on 3 attempts per game. He's still good for 3+ TOs a game. =)

Quotes from our partners at KTAR Sports 620:



"Oh, by the way, Boston is pretty good."
-Suns head coach Alvin Gentry as reporters approached him after shoot-around. The Cetics last night beat the Nuggets in Denver, 114-76.

all present and accounted for at Suns shoot-around this morning....the Bobcasts (for whatever reason) held shoot-around at Brophy....

Gentry said he hasn't just simplified the offense, he has simplified the defense as well. You're seeing more switching when defending the screen-and-roll. Offensively he wants to see them get off at least 90 shots a game, which they did in the first three games after he took over. The Suns got off 84 shots vs. Boston.

Leandro Barbosa will remain in the starting line-up which means sliding Jason Richardson to small forward and Grant Hill to power forward. Gentry said they can always adjust after the fact saying "the game's not going to be lost in the first five or seven minutes of the game anyway, I don't think."

Gentry said Grant Hill (left foot) is good to go this evening.
Hill in his last three games is shooting 4-for-18 and has scored a total of 14 points, including a scoreless contest at the Clippers on 2/18

Gentry said he is thinking about adding Mark West to his staff but added that nothing is "definite. I like having him at practice." Gentry is one assistant short but won't just add anyone.