Merry Christmas Eve from all of us at Bright Side of the Sun!
Two losses and one win this week. At halftime of the Philly game I was convinced the the Suns were going to finish the week 0-3 but the Suns delivered an early Christmas present in the second half by coming back to get the win. According to Eric Bledsoe the difference in the way the Suns played in the first and second halves was due to Eral Watson "cussing us out" during the halftime break. "He did what he should have done," Bledsoe said. "We played like crap and he came out and did what a great coach should do: tell us what we did wrong, chew us out about it. Everybody got pumped up for the second half and it made a big difference." If that's what it takes to get this team going I say, get nasty more often, Earl!
T.J. Warren seems to finally be back to his old self. In the past two games he has averaged 19 points, 5 rebs and 1 steal. Thanks for another early Christmas present, T.J.!
.444 field goal percentage
That's what the Suns are shooting as a team. That ranks 21st in the NBA. Their effective FG percentage is 49.2% which ranks 24th in the NBA. Their true shooting percentage is 105.9% which ranks 22nd in the NBA. The Suns have just not been a good shooting team this season by any measure. Breaking it down into shot types, the Suns rank 23rd in jump shooting at 36.65%. Shockingly the Suns are 22nd in the NBA at making layups (56.08%) and 26th in making dunks (87.39%)! The only "shot" that the Suns actually do well is the tip-in. They rank 2nd in the NBA in tip-ins (62.69%).
All stats courtesy of Team Rankings.com and NBA Miner.com.
Quote of the Week
“For us, what I do not want to happen is I never want Dragan Bender to consistently know what it feels like to not play. That can’t happen.” - Earl Watson
Bender’s two games since that quote: two minutes of mop-up duty, DNP-CD
Marquese Chriss - 16.7 mpg, 6.7ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg
Dragan Bender - 10.7 mpg, 2.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.2 spg, 0.4 bpg
Tyler Ulis - 9.3 mpg, 3.2 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg
All stats courtesy of Real GM.
News & Notes
Five adjustments the Suns need to make. Hoops Habit
Zach Lowe's "10 things I like and don't like". Check out #8.
The Suns are not sure who they want to be. Fox Sports
Why sending Dragan Bender to the D-League might be a bad move. Arizona Sports
The Suns have the third brightest future among lottery teams.
Devin Booker gives back to the community by taking a bunch of kids Christmas shopping.
Wooden or Riley? Who should Earl Watson try to emulate according to Greg Popovich?
Earl Watson discusses finding court time for Dragan Bender. Arizona Sports
Earl Watson calls on the Suns to be tougher.
Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker each have five 30-point games this season with Booker reaching his fifth in the team’s 27th game on Dec. 17 at OKC. The last time two Suns teammates each reached five 30-point games this early into a season was in 1985-86 when Walter Davis and Larry Nance each had five through 27 games.
Four current Suns are in the Suns' Top 50 for career points scored during the regular season as Suns. Leandro Barbosa is 15th (6,204), Jared Dudley is 33rd (3,728), Eric Bledsoe is 38th (3,372) and P.J. Tucker is 46th (2,823).
This Week in Suns Christmas History
The Suns have played in a total 18 Christmas day games since they joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1968 and the Suns have an overall .667 record (12-6) on Christmas day. Their very first Christmas day game was in their first season. They lost to the LA Lakers 119-99. The Original Sun, Dick Van Arsdale, led all scorers with 27 points. Jerry West led the Lakers with 26.
The Suns last Chrismas day game was in 2009. The Suns won that one 124-93 over the LA Clippers.
The Ghost of (Dionte) Christmas Past
Former Sun Dionte Christmas (now with the Delaware 87ers) hits a loooong 3 against the Canton Charge.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Monday, December 26th @ Houston Rockets (22-9)
Wednesday, December 28th @ San Antonio Spurs (24-6)
Thursday, December 29th vs Toronto Raptors (21-8)
Saturday December 31st @ Utah Jazz (18-13)
The Suns have four very difficult games this week and three of the four are on the road.
On Monday the Suns head to Houston for a rematch with the Rockets. The Suns hung with them pretty well in their last meeting... before falling apart quickly in the fourth quarter. I don't expect a different result this time around.
Wednesday night the Suns take on the Spurs in San Antonio. Unless Pop decides to rest almost everyone in this game I expect another loss.
Thursday the Suns come home for a game with the Toronto Raptors. On the second night of a back-to-back with the first game on the road I don't see how this one doesn't turn out to be another loss.
And finally, after a couple of days off, the Suns travel to Utah to take on the Jazz on New Years Eve. The Jazz lost one at home against the Kings last week so there might be a tiny bit of hope for a win in this one but I'm still predicting a not so happy New Years eve for the Suns.
With this schedule it hard not to believe that the Suns will go 0-4 this week.
How do you think the Suns will fare?
What's on your Phoenix Suns Christmas wish list?
Since it's Christmas eve I'd like to end by asking everyone, what's on your wish list for the Suns? Turn the season around and try for the playoffs or tank hard for a high draft pick? More court time for Bender and Ulis? Trade the vets? Trade specific players? Trade for specific players?
Have a Merry Christmas everyone!