The Chuckster has riled up Suns fans for awhile now with his criticism of his former team. Last night on TNT he changed his tune a bit:
Barkley on why he has stopped criticizing the Phoenix Suns lately: "I criticized that little sissy ball (the Suns have) been playing for the last few years where you just try to outscore people. That's never going to work. I want to take my hat off to Alvin Gentry, he's changed their mindset. He brought in (Robin) Lopez and I love watching Lopez, he's just plays defense and rebounds.
If I'm going to look at a stat after every game for a good team, it's turnovers and rebounds. The Suns turn the ball over way too much and they don't rebound the ball. They went to a conventional lineup so Amar'e can cheat a little on rebounding. Lopez does a great job on the board. When you try to play small, you give up a lot of shots and a lot of shots around the basket. But the main thing you can't do is you can't rebound the ball.
I take my hat off to Alvin, it's about time he stopped playing girlie ball. The toughest team in Phoenix was the (WNBA's) Mercury, but not anymore!"
I totally agree with Chuck and for you long-time readers you know I am not a fan of the small ball, offense-only approach. The Suns are playing (or trying to play) better defense and the insertion of Robin into the line-up has made a huge impact on the boards as we've documented.
Here's a few other quotes from the TNT crew.
They send me an email with these by the way. Don't think I am sitting up at 3am transcribing from my Tivo...
Collins on Suns guard Steve Nash's off court conditioning: "Steve really prides himself on his conditioning, no one works harder off the court on his conditioning. The core strength of his back, he has a condition in his back that he had to be very careful if he gets a little bit out of synch, he gets muscle pain and pain his hips. These Suns doctors and strength and conditioning coaches have done a wonderful job with him. If you could just go and see the things he does off the court with this strength and his balance and that's a really big part of his game."
Webber on how to shut down the Phoenix Suns: "As great as Steve Nash is, if he doesn't get you the ball, these guys aren't one-on-one players. When teams recognize that, they can shut them down late in the game."