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The Madhouse: Week of 2/21 - Suns face puissant challenge to kick off second half

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Puissant. Very, very tough, even.

NBA: Preseason-Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Suns Stuff

EDIT: This is what Keith originally wrote before The Madhouse was PUSHED BACK so The Man could schedule his Toronto Raptors game preview.

WELL I’M NOT CHANGING MY MADHOUSE.

Note: If this is still up Dave didn’t make me change The Madhouse.

The Suns have not played basketball since we last spoke. What do you expect me to say?

I have high hopes for the latter half of the season. The Suns will play four times before we converse next week. And......

Damn it.

A trio on the road before your Suns return to Phoenix for a February 26th date with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Here’s how those teams closed out the first half of the 2019-20 season:

Friday, February 21st - @Toronto

The Raptors enter the second half of the season as LOSERS. In their final test before the All-Star Break Toronto was run out of the gym by the New Jersey Nets of Brooklyn 101-91.

That 91 points was the fourth worst offensive output of the Raptors’ first half. They only turned the ball over seven times, their lowest total of the season, but still, just a very underwhelming performance against the Nets. Not impressive. At all.

Before that they won 15 straight.

Saturday, February 22nd - @ Chicago

If Phoenix is going to win one of these four, and they’re not, they’re going to win two, they’re going to win Saturday’s game against the Bulls.

Chicago is trending in the wrong direction. Like we used to. When we were historically bad instead of forgettably bad.

The Bulls lost their final six games of the NBA’s opening stanza, the final loss coming against the, meh, Wizards.

They have Charlotte tonight, scratch that, last night. Sorry, they had the Charlotte Hornets last night and the final score was (fill in final score here).

It’s an injury thing. The Bulls have a great many players who have missed a great many games. Their biggest loss is Lauri Markkanen, whose return is right around the corner but probably will not happen before the Suns’ game.

Phoenix by 60.

Monday, February 24th - @Utah

The Jazz are good. I’ve found myself hating the Jazz more recently. Have you experienced that phenomenon? For the first three decades of my life I didn’t think much of the organization. But now, for no good reason whatsoever, I think I really sports hate them.

They won four straight heading into the break, BUT before that they lost five straight, BUT before that they won four straight.

This is the second of three times these two will meet this season. I’m pretty sure this is the game early in the season when Phoenix got screwed. Right?

Yeah it is.

Revenge game, and again I hate Utah for reasons I don’t totally understand. The Jazz will clearly be looking past Phoenix towards Wednesday’s game against Boston. Trap game potential. TRAP GAME.

Wednesday, February 26th - vs. Los Angeles

Or maybe the Suns will look past the Jazz towards the Clippers. I’m unsure of how these things work.

The Clips lost three of their final four before the break, so clearly they have decided to give up on this season.

They’re all set up for an extended losing streak. Nevermind that 21-point Los Angeles win in mid-December.

You know who didn’t play in that game? First time All-Star Devin Armani Booker. Book scores more points, grabs more rebounds, and dishes out more assists in the second half of the season. That’s bad news for Clippers fans.

I hope you learned nothing. Suns take a pair. Next Friday they’ll be 24-35. That’s just SIX wins from hitting the over on your betting slip. Good luck.

NBA Stuff

Devin Booker is selling his house. If you have north of four million dollars, you can buy Devin Booker’s house. (spoiler alert: he already bought another house twice as big, in the Phoenix area)

Looks like the ‘Elam Ending’ will be sticking around for future NBA All-Star games.

The John Beilein era in Cleveland has come to an end after 54 games.

We are nearing the premiere event of the sporting year and Wizards District Gaming will make the number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.

Some NBA “experts” think Giannis Antetokounmpo will re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. I’ll bet if you try hard enough you can find some NBA “experts” who disagree.

Check out this interesting video on grading professional sports leagues in the United States on coaching diversity.

For a slightly different tone, give a listen to this interview with Dan Majerle.

For a much different tone, listen to Kevin Garnett talk about the time he talked trash to Michael Jordan.

A federal judge has reached a conclusion regarding Charles Oakley’s beef with Madison Square Garden.

My Stuff

What I’m reading: After the Flood, Kassandra Montag. Remind me in the comment section to renew this one, it’s due Sunday I think.

What I’m playing: PS4 - DariusBurst Chronicle Saviours. Also, I opened a Steam account on Thursday. I’ve not used Steam before.

What I’m listening to: Nothing.

What I’m watching: True to my word, which can be rare, I got around to Joker and Not For Resale. Both were very, very good. Both were very, very different.

What I’m Thinking

All the things have been said that can be said about the All-Star Game on Sunday. I haven’t said anything but I don’t write this thing until late in the week, so it’s my turn.

Like most, I loved it. If you didn’t, this is a really weird blog for you to be reading.

I thought it was going to be intense. Go back. Read it. I SAID IT. But not for the reason I thought.

I thought the intensity would be ratcheted up following the passing of Kobe Bryant. And no doubt that played a factor, but that’s not why we saw hustle we’ve never seen before in an All-Star game.

It was the kids.

It sounds like the NBA is going to keep the ‘Elam Ending.’ And they should. It’s awesome. But having those players competing for charity and having the kids present, that’s what really got the house buzzing. That is a trend that MUST continue moving forward.

And I think that could play in other sports. Football and hockey, maybe not. That has more to do with proximity and barriers to the playing surface than anything else, I think. Baseball I feel like it could work. If kids are still watching baseball, and from what I am told, they are not.

Ultimately, the NBA has long been more progressive than other professional sports leagues. And while we wait on the moving backboards, this is some good stuff. Keep it coming.

Next Week

Will Keith ever get started gardening? Also, is he dumb enough to pay $500 for the upcoming PS5 just to play $10 indie games that require hardware no more sophisticated than the orginal PlayStation? Stay tuned.