It won't go in the record books, but tonight the Phoenix Suns will finally win their first game since April 4 when they face the Phoenix Suns, who will most certainly continue their losing streak for at least another three days.
Clever, I know.
The Suns play their annual Intrasquad Scrimmage for the fans tonight, this time at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in downtown Phoenix. The "Madhouse on McDowell" was the Suns home from 1968 to 1992, when they moved into the bigger and more plush America West Arena.
Back then, the Madhouse was the place to be in Phoenix. In those days, the Suns were the only pro game in town. The St. Louis Cardinals had just moved in 1988, but more resembled the bad News Bears than a competitive football team. And they played half their games in scorching temperatures of Sun Devil Stadium. Baseball and hockey didn't come to Phoenix until much later.
Combine a winning team with the lack of pro competition and a dearth of alternate viewing opportunities, the Madhouse was always packed to the gills.
Coach Hornacek remembers that the Coliseum would regularly reverberate with cheering fans, something we don't see too much these days at Suns games. The arena holds 14,870 seats but those who have been there know the place is best described as "intimate". The roof is low-slung, the seats are smaller. Sound bounces right back at you, creating an exciting din.
These days, the Coliseum hosts the Fair and various B-level concerts, and is used as a practice arena for A-level visiting bands and concert performers to check their sound and equipment for before heading to Cricket Pavilion or the Dodge or whatever those places are called these days. You can also, like I did, walk around the arena while the State Fair is going on and try to remember how awesome the place was 30 years ago.
I can't wait to get back there tonight for the scrimmage. And I hope to see you there too.
The Phoenix Suns are asking all fans to enter the grounds off of 19th Ave. OR Encanto Blvd. Complimentary parking will be available on the north side of the building.
The event itself is also FREE and open to the public.
A Fan Festival will begin at 3 p.m., featuring a variety of activities and attractions including a live DJ, inflatables, food trucks and more. Autographs with Suns Ring of Honor Members Alvan Adams, Jerry Colangelo, Walter Davis, Connie Hawkins and Joe Proski, as well as legends Eddie Johnson, Al McCoy, Mark West and others, will begin at 4:30 p.m.
Doors to the Coliseum will open at 4 p.m., with the scrimmage slated to begin at 6 p.m.
What to expect
The scrimmage won't tell us a lot about the Suns. They are simply playing each other, so there's no hard fouls, no bad blood, and frankly not much defense being played at all.
The idea is to show the fans a good time, and that's usually involving dunks and three-pointers. So expect a lot of that, and don't worry about whether the Suns are rotating well on D or not.
Two years ago, the scrimmage was a revelation. In 2013, we all saw the emergence of Miles Plumlee, who went on to have a great 2013-14 season as the team's starting center from out of nowhere. We also saw glimpses of how fun Gerald Green can be, and how talented Eric Bledsoe really was.
Last year's scrimmage didn't tell us a whole lot, though. The highlight was Shavlik Randolph's three-point shooting range, and Markieff Morris' ability to shoot from distance as well. We know how those turned out. Oh, and Miles Plumlee showed off a new hook shot.
What to watch today
Whether we learn anything today that carries into the season is an unknown.
But here's what I'm going to focus on:
- Will Devin Booker continue to look like a boy among men, but play like a man among boys?
- Will Tyson Chandler remind us what a real rebounding center looks like?
- Will T.J. Warren show us glimpses of a breakout season?
- What does Sonny Weems offer besides hops?
- Can Mirza Teletovic overcome the flu to make a few jumpers?
- Does Markieff Morris smile at the fans?
What are you going to focus on?