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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns start off the New Year 2-2

A near comeback against the Cavs was the real highlight of the week

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NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ LA Clippers L (109-98) Full Recap

vs Miami Heat W (99-90) Full Recap

@ Dallas Mavericks W (102-95) Full Recap

vs Cleveland Cavaliers L (120-116) Full Recap

Wow. Even though it was a loss the game against Cleveland was probably the most exciting game the Suns have played this season. Just wow. I was hoping that the Suns would finish the past week 2-2 and they fulfilled my wish. Sorry tank fans but I still hope for wins. They don't help in getting a high pick in this year's draft but I still love it when the Suns add a W to the win/loss column.

Sue me.

The Suns are now 12-26 for the season and sixth in the reverse standings. But tank fans shouldn't freak out too much over this since the Suns are only three games out of the number one spot with a little more than half of the season left to play. And fans who want to see wins and maybe even make the playoffs need not despair either as the Suns are only 3.5 games behind Portland for that eighth seed. It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the rest of the season. Do the Suns make a trade or two to boost their chances to get that eighth seed or to boost their chances at getting a top 5 pick in the draft? The only thing that I don't want them to do is nothing or next to nothing and tread water for the rest of the season.

Key Stat

22.8 ppg, 8.2 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 spg, FG percentage - 50.0%, 3 point percentage - 41.4%, FT percentage - 87.1%

Those are Eric Bledsoe's numbers over the past six games. 8.2 assists per game! His lowest total for assists during this time was 7 and his highest was 10 (vs Toronto). One of the knocks against Eric as a PG was that he was a score first player that didn't look to dish out assists. This may be an anomaly or perhaps Eric is finally figuring out how to get his teammates the ball in good positions to score. Time will tell.

Stats courtesy of ESPN.

Quote of the Week

"For us, we have to go from a me-team to a we-team. So the me-team is, 'I'm good enough to change the game offensively. I'm good enough to score enough points to stay in the game, have an impact.' The we-team is, 'I have to give everything I have defensively. When we get to offense, I have to move the ball and share the ball to regain some wind and some stamina.' We have to change that mindset and that action." - Earl Watson

Rookie Watch

Marquese Chriss - 17.8 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.6 bpg

Dragan Bender - 12.2 mpg, 3.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.5 bpg

Tyler Ulis - 9.2 mpg, 3.2 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.7 spg

All stats courtesy of Real GM.

NBA Trade Rumors

25 players who could be traded before the deadline. CBS Sports

Hoops Rumors details trade rumors from ESPN's Marc Stein.

Denver Nuggets Shopping Nurkic, Faried And Gallinari. Fox Sports

Is Portland interested in trading for Tyson Chandler?

Are the Knicks interested in a trade for P.J. Tucker? Arizona Sports

News & Notes

Eric Bledsoe is finishing strong. Doug Haller/AZCentral

Suns have slowed the pace, Bled the clock and defended of late. Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports

Suns release John Jenkins.

Seven Days of Suns Trade-mas: The deal to blow it all up. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Seven Days of Suns Trade-mas: Reuniting P.J. Tucker and Jeff Hornacek. Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports

Dragan Bender is growing with experience. USA Today

On Jared Dudley's DNP-CDs. Arizona Sports

Suns Trivia

For the first eleven seasons of their existence in the NBA, the Suns had no official mascot. An early attempt was made involving a sunflower costume, but it never caught on. The Suns' now iconic mascot was born by accident. A messenger for Eastern Onion, a singing telegram service, came to the Coliseum during a home game dressed as a gorilla. As he left, Coliseum security suggested he do a few dances underneath the basket during a timeout and the fans loved it. So did the messenger, who kept coming to games until he was officially invited to be part of the team. And this is how the Suns' mascot was accidentally born. The messenger, a quiet young man named Henry Rojas, was anything but quiet in his costume. Given a Suns warm-up jacket, Rojas shed his shyness, and turned into an entertainment beast, dancing, joking with fans and, in general, enjoying himself to the fullest.

This Week in Suns History

On January 9, 1972 the NBA's 2,000,000th point was scored in either the Baltimore-Phoenix or the Detroit-Buffalo game. (The records from that time aren't accurate enough to know which game it occurred in.)

This one has nothing to do with the Suns but it's a funny bit of NBA history. On January 15, 1957, while attempting a length-of-the-court pass to Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman stunned an NBA All-Star Game audience in Boston Garden when his 70-foot pass swished through the net. After the shot, Cousy asked Sharman, "Don't you ever pass?"

Previewing the Week Ahead

Thursday, January 12th vs Dallas Mavericks (11-26)

Saturday January 14th vs San Antonio Spurs (30-7)

After a two week grind of eight games in 14 day the Suns finally get a break. Three days off and only two games this week! Although both games are technically "home" games they will both be played in Mexico City as the NBA celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first game in Mexico.

Thursday night the Suns face the Dallas Mavericks for the second time this season. The Suns beat the Mavs last week in Dallas 102-95 and this week the two teams are playing in a neutral site. I'm tempted to call this one for the Suns but injured Maverick J.J. Barea - who didn't play in the previous game - returned to the Dallas rotation on Saturday and racked up 7 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes against Atlanta. Will he make a difference in this game? It's too close to call for me so I only give the Suns a 50/50 chance at a win.

After a day off the Suns will face the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs thrashed the Charlotte Hornets in their last meeting 102-85 and I don't expect the Suns to do much better against them. But after how they played in the Cleveland game... who knows.

It looks like a possible but not likely 1-1 week to me.

How do you think the Suns will fare this week?

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