Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
I think that this is the first time this season that the Suns have finished higher then .500 for the week.
Excuse me for not caring about the ramifications to our draft pick but the Suns are playing very good and exciting basketball right now which has me very hyped about the future. Tyle Ulis is starting to look like the steal of last year's draft and frankly I'd rather have him than IT. Why? I believe he's a better distributor and a better defender which is what the Suns really need rather than a score first PG that doesn't play very good defense. Ulis is also starting to make me believe that getting another PG in this year's draft shouldn't be our highest priority. But taking the best player available should always be SOP regardless of position.
Big Sauce has played big this week too! You have to love Big Sauce. And the entire team has been playing good, fun and watchable ball since the AS break.
This is what we signed up for when we all became Suns fans and I'm loving it.
18.6 vs 24.8 assists per game
For the entire season Phoenix has averaged 19.2 assists per game which ranks 29th in the NBA. Before the break the Suns assists per game average was a putrid 18.6 which was dead last in the NBA. But following the All-Star break the Suns have been averaging 24.8 apg which ties them with Denver for 5th in the NBA during that time period.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com
Quote of the Week
"Young teams struggle winning in the fourth quarter. We've now done it in the last two games." - Jared Dudley discussing the progress of the younger players after the OKC game.
And now they've done it in the last three games.
Marquese Chriss - 26.6 mpg, 11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.8 bpg
Tyler Ulis - 23.4 mpg, 12.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 6.8 apg, 1.8 spg
Derrick Jones Jr. - 14.7 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.0 bpg
Dragan Bender - OUT INDEFINITELY
Stats courtesy of NBA.com
1. Brooklyn Nets (10-51)
2. LA Lakers (19-44), 8.0 GB
3. Phoenix Suns (21-42), 10.0 GB
4. Orlando Magic (23-40), 12.0 GB
5. Philadelphia 76ers (23-39), 12.5 GB
6. New Orleans Pelicans (25-38), 14.0 GB
7. New York Knicks (25-38), 14.0 GB
8. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-37), 14.5 GB
9. Sacramento Kings (25-37), 14.5 GB
10. Dallas Mavericks (26-36), 15.5 GB
11. Portland Trail Blazers (26-35), 16.0 GB
12. Charlotte Hornets (27-35), 16.5 GB
13. Milwaukee Bucks (28-33), 18.0 GB
14. Miami Heat (29-34), 18.0 GB
The Boston has the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this year. The Lakers’ pick goes to Philadelphia if it falls out of the top 3. Philadelphia also has the right to swap picks with Sacramento this year as long as that pick falls within the top 10. If Sacramento's pick falls out of the top 10 it goes to Chicago. New Orleans' pick goes to Sacramento if it fall out of the top 3.
These numbers are courtesy of Hoops Rumors.
News & Notes
Tyler Ulis rises to the occasion with another Phoenix Suns' buzzer-beater. ESPN
Horry Scale: Phoenix Suns rookie Tyler Ulis stuns Boston Celtics. NBA.com
Big Sauce makes #9 in Zach Lowe's weekly "Ten things I like and don't like". ESPN
Solar Panel: Are the Suns Headed in Right Direction? Greg Esposito/Sports 360 AZ
Welcome the Suns’ new 2-man game, featuring Tyler Ulis and Alan Williams. Arizona Sports
Earl Watson upset after Memphis loss as foes continue bullying Suns. AZCentral Sports
Eric Bledsoe: Suns teammate Brandon Knight remains positive after benching. Arizona Sports
Suns' Tyson Chandler 'still kicking their ass' in practice. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports
Suns notes: Dragan Bender working back from injury. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports
Undrafted in 2015, Alan Williams had his second career 15-point/15-rebound performance in his 35th career game at Milwaukee on Feb. 26. Big Sauce is just the 10th NBA player with multiple 15/15 games in his first 35 career games (Julius Randle, Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Oden, Emeka Okafor, Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Elton Brand, Raef LaFrentz) in the past 19 seasons. Each of the other nine was drafted with a top-seven pick and four were selected No. 1 overall.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
This Week in Suns History
On March 7, 2001 the Phoenix Suns retired the No. 7 jersey worn by Kevin Johnson. KJ played for the team for 12 seasons and retired sixth on the NBA's all-time assists list with 6711 career assists.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Tuesday, March 7th vs Washington Wizards (37-24)
Thursday, March 9th vs Los Angeles Lakers (19-44)
Saturday, March 11th @ Dallas Mavericks (26-36)
Sunday, March 12th vs Portland Trailblazers (26-35)
Another four game week for the Suns with three at home and one on the road in Dallas. Considering how the Suns have played since the All-Star break I wouldn't consider any of these games un-winnable.
On Tuesday the Washington Wizards come to Phoenix. The Wizards are presently 3rd in the Eastern Conference and have been playing well lately... but the Suns have also been playing very well lately. In the Wiz's last game they were 17 points down at one point and had to come from behind to get a 115-114 win in Orlando. Anything could happen in this game but I'm giving the edge to the Wizards.
On Thursday night the LA Lakers' tank rumbles into town. Everything that the Lakers did before the trade deadline pointed toward them tanking the rest of the season to attempt to retain their pick in this year's draft (which goes to Philly if it falls out of the top 3). They are presently on a seven game losing streak (the longest current losing streak in the NBA) and I see no reason that the Suns won't help them extend that streak to eight.
On Saturday the Suns head to Dallas to play the Mavericks. Dallas made some good moves at the trade deadline and have been 4-2 since then. They are still chasing that eighth seed in the West and I expect this too be a tough game for the young Suns. I think that the Mavs will get the win in this one.
And finally after the Suns take the red-eye home to Phoenix after the Dallas game they take on the Portland Trailblazers on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland is also still chasing that eighth seed but will also be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Both teams will probably have tired legs but I believe that the Suns have a good chance at winning this one at home.
I expect the Suns to go 2-2 this week but as we've all seen anything is possible lately.
How do you think the Suns will fare this week?