Just back from Suns practice which was scheduled for 10am this morning. Or at least it was scheduled for 10am this morning.
No practice, although a few of the younger guys did get some gym time in before the 12:30 bus ride to the airport to board the big ole jet airliner to carry them far away...down the road they've been down before.....you know you've got to go through hell before you get to heaven...
Oops, sorry about that. I got carried away with a Steve Miller Band moment. It happens.
While I was waiting I had time to exercise my mobile media research capabilities and come up with what I thought were some pretty solid questions for Coach and the team prior to the Big Game in Big D. The intended recipients weren't there but lets not let that little fact get in the away of hearing what they had to say.
The following is a dramatization of interviews with Phoenix Suns personnel. At no time were the answers portrayed actually provided by any member of the Phoenix Suns organization, the NBA or any of it's affiliates. In other words. This is fake.
Coach Gentry (dramatization)
Q. Coach, how you doing today. Any thought on how you might play the Mavericks different this time?
A. You know guys, they are a great offensive team. Dirk is as good as anyone and we just have to go out there and compete and fight hard.
Q. In the last game against the Mavericks JJ Barea had a big impact in the first half scoring 14 points and picking up the load while Dirk was still cold. What adjustments are you considering?
A. That was last season. We're thinking about this season. No seriously guys, we've got to get better at stopping dribble penetration. We've got towork harder at that but you know guys, JJ is a great player and it is what it is.
Shaq (not really Shaq)
Note to reader: This will be much more effective if you read the made up fake responses using your made up fake Shaq voice in your head. I know you have one. Everyone has a fake Shaq voice in their head.
Q.Shaq what do you think the key is to having a different outcome against the Mavs this time around?
A. Play consistent. Don't let too many of their guys get off. Play defense. Make them work on offense. Make our shots. If we do that we'll be fine.
Q. Robin Lopez might see some minutes against your old friend Erick Dampier. What advise will you give him?
A. He need to establish himself. Let people know that he's in this league. That he not a punk. He should knock him on his ass and then bend over his prone body and scream in his face and then he can drop his drawers and stick his ass down there and ask Ericka how it tastes. Nah, man. I'm just kidding he just needs to play hard and he'll be fine.
Nash (except it's not really Nash)
Q. Last night Grant Hill said the way to slow down Dirk is for you to take him out tonight and tire him out. Do you have any plans to meet with Dirk and perhaps wear him out a bit?
A. Yeah. Dirk and I are old friends. We had some great times together. We are great friends. It's unfortunate it had to end that way but I guess that's just how this business is. There's been a lot of change this season and that's frustrating. I do plan on seeing Dirk tonight but we aren't going to party or anything. We are going to have a nice meal and discuss that state of global affairs and let the best team win.
Q. In the last game against the Mavs on the 10th the Suns had a stretch in the 3rd quarter where the offense went cold. What can you do to prevent that?
A. We just need to play together and bring the spirit and energy and find the balance we need to support each other and just play our game and find the open man and be aggressive and not turn the ball over.
Dragic (this time it really is Dragic from last night!)
Q. Tell me about how your game is going right now?
A. It was last two, three games I have not really good games so today it was a little bit better. At first it was ok but then in the second half I was like running with the ball and pass to the team mates and I get how you say hot and my confidence so it was much easier...with LB, I like to play with LB is much easier for me. Sometimes he take the ball sometimes I take the ball. So he's helping me with organization and everything so...
Q. He (Beno Udrih) only had three points, you going to give him a hard time about that next time you see him?
A. Yeah, yeah of course (chuckles)...I'm not such a person. I'm quiet and I just play my game and be concentrate on my own game.
So there you have it. I considered doing an audio dramatization but I don't have the voice skilz to pull that off.
Here's my own keys to the game tomorrow:
1. If LB continues to feel well and plays good and negates Terry the Suns will have a good chance at winning this game. It's hard to say how LB responded to last night's 15 minutes (I was going to ask about that too) . Sometimes guys come back from an injury and play well the first game back but then in the next game is where it catches up to them. Let's hope that's not the case hear because Terry is really the guy that worries me most.
2. Dirk is going to get his. In the last game, Barnes did as well as you can do on Dirk 1 v 1 forcing him into tough outside shots. The Mavs do a very good job getting Dirk the ball in position where it is tough to double him. They ran him off a screen from Damp so he could catch right around the free throw line. You can't really switch Shaq on that screen so even with Matt doing well to get there quickly, Dirk is still in position to catch the ball from Kidd at the top of the arc. The rest of the Mavs then clear out all the way to the baseline except Kidd and in the last game when LB doubled off him to help with Dirk Kidd hit two big open three's.
So, there aren't too many good options with Dirk. Kind of like Kobe. The best you can do is contest his shots and using a quicker guy bait him into shooting jumpers over you as opposed to putting a bigger slower guy that he can beat off the dribble and get to the foul line. I would run a bit more at him as soon as he hits one or two and then mix up when the double comes.
3. Stopping JJ Barea. Against the Suns this little guy has has just under 14 point which is about double his season average. He seems to like to push the ball quickly up the sideline and then slash in once he's by his man who is almost alway slower. Even when he's not scoring he creates problems once he's blown by his man.
I am no defensive wizard so I don't know what the answer is. Steve clearly can't stay in front of him in the open court. He's a smaller guy so maybe you bring a trap around mid court and try and seal him on the sideline. If JRich or Hill came over and they were able to pin him to the line, perhaps we get a couple of turn overs. Or perhaps he pass out of it and Dirk or Wright end up with wide open shots.
Whatever it is, keep this guy in check is important. You can live with Dirk's 35 points but not is Barea has 15 and Terry as 25 as well.