November 2007 - Posts
The Phoenix Suns completed a back-to-back sweep of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night to go into the holiday weekend on a 7 game winning streak. After narrowly winning Tuesday night in Sacramento, the Suns welcomed the Kings to Phoenix with a strong opening statement, scoring 47 points in the first quarter. Phoenix would never let up enroute to a 127-111 victory for their 7th straight and 10th overall (currently 10-2).
The Suns were far enough ahead late in the 3rd quarter for rookies D.J. Strawberry and Alando Tucker to get in the action. Tucker finished with 10 points and Strawberry with 5. All five Suns starters scored in double figures, with Shawn Marion leading the way (25 pts). Phoenix shot extremely well in the game (53%), including 42% from 3-pt land and 19-21 from the charity stripe. The free throws are an improvement over how the team started the season. Marion, Barbosa and Hill were all struggling knock down the gimmies, but each has been getting a little better each game.
The Suns didn't have any player with more than 6 rebounds and got out-rebounded by 18, yet still came away with the win Steve Nash led Phoenix with 15 assists and only 1 TO - the entire team only committed 7 turnovers in the game.
Amare Stoudemire dunks against the Kings
In other NBA news, Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas will be out for 3 months after knee surgery on Wednesday. Lebron scores 45 to get Cavs to .500 basketball. Celtics start a new winnng streak, while the Knicks continue their losing streak (now at 8 games).
The Suns didn't play tonight, but there was a full slate of games on Friday's schedule. Several teams made a statement on this night, while others continued to struggle. I'll try to give a recap of the biggest stories of the night.
Boston Celtics Start Season 8-0
This year's Celtics team has started better than Bird's Celtics and all (Celtics) teams going back to the1973 season. There's no doubt that the trade for Kevin Garnett is the reason for the huge swingaround from last season's disappointmen. Ray Allen has also been solid to start the season and what looked to be a pretty weak bench, has really played decent enough to run off 8 straight wins.
Miami Heat Lose Again
Too bad they had to play the Celtics, but starting 1-8 is hardly something you'd expect from the 2006 champions. Despite the return of Dwyane Wade to the starting lineup tonight, they still came up short at the end, although the final score shows that they might be returning to (competitive) form. Shaq has been a serious disappointment; the Lakers should have held on to him for 1 more yr and then traded him... he's about out of gas.
Kevin Durant Hits Game Winning 3-pt Shot to Win in 2 OT's
Rookie Kevin Durant finally shows some of the reasons why the Sonics selected him #2 in this year's draft. Seattle went toe-to-toe with the up & down Atlanta Hawks, but it was Duran'ts buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the second overtime that gives the Sonices their second win.
Other Quick NBA Notes:
Kevin Martin (who?) scores 43 in win over Knicks
Washington Wizards win 3rd straight
Dwight Howard youngest to reach 3,000 rebounds
Lebron scores 40 in 40 to lead Cavs
Jason Kidd notches 89th career triple double in loss
Stephon Marbury plays, but doesn't start
Philly recovers from 22 pt third quarter deficit to drop Blazers
David West notches 40 pts in OT victory over Grizzlies
Lakers score 41 in the 4th quarter to defeat Pistons
Updated 11/14/07 (8:10 PM)
Stephon Marbury has reportedly flown to LA to rejoin his Knicks as they take on the Clippers at the Staples Center. It's unclear whether Starbury will play in the game, but additional "juice" has come out about the incident.
Apparently, Marbury was told of the benching while in-flight to Phoenix. Unhappy with the situation, he went to the front of the plane and had a 5 min conversation with Isiah Thomas. It sounds like Thomas was firm with his decision and that's where it starts getting interesting.
Stephon apparently made statements to his teammates that he wouldn't play if he wasn't a starter and made a veiled threat that "he's got dirt on Isiah, stuff that nobody knows". It's not clear if he made the same threat to Thomas directly, but I think it's safe to assume that Marbury has dirt on the sexual discrimination case against Thomas - or even more damning evidence of Isiah's indiscretions.
This situation is far from over and you can bet that someone's going to get hurt in the end - careerwise at least.
Updated 11/14/07 (6:30 PM)
Marbury has been fined $180k for missing the game against Phoenix last night. He is also supposed to miss their next game against the Clippers, so his little "jaunt" is a costly one. Here's more:
The New York Knicks fined Stephon Marbury more than $180,000 for skipping Tuesday night's game at Phoenix, the latest clash between the team's star point guard and coach Isiah Thomas.
According to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, players are docked 1/110th of their salaries for a missed game. With Marbury scheduled to earn $20.1 million this season, that would be about $182,800.
Initial Post 11/13/07
Reports out of New York have Stephon Marbury leaving the Knicks because coach Isiah Thomas benched him for tonight's game against Phoenix. Marbury reportedly text messaged the New York Post and told them he had permission to leave from Thomas. Marbury also indicated he would not be in LA for the next New York game.
This is another example of how self-inflated some NBA players are; they're too proud to come off the bench when they've been starters since junior high. Marbury has been making both good (cheap shoes) and bad (defending Isiah during trial) headlines lately; it's too bad he's so ignorant. Marbury has already indicated he wants to play in Italy after his 2-yr contract is over, so you have to wonder if the end of his Knicks career is near...
The Knicks are already without Zach Randolph (personal reasons) and Quentin Richardson (injury), so Fred Jones will be starting. The depleted roster is not helping the Knicks in their efforts to beat the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are leading 58-43 with about 2 minutes left in the first half.
The Suns have had a pretty quiet week, but their matchup Friday against the winless Miami Heat is still a must-watch - at least for the first half. Shaq and Co. have yet to crack the win column, thanks mostly in part to the absence of superstar Dwyane Wade. The trade for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount has helped a bit, but the Heat are still pretty old and are getting beat regularly. After a deflating loss to the Atlanta Hawks and former Suns' player Joe Johnson earlier in the week, I'm sure the Phoenix players are looking forward to running all over (& around) the Heat.
Phoenix, AZ to Host 2009 All-Star Game
Not much to say about this, other than... hell ya!! Hope I can score some tickets and enjoy the weekend festivities. Phoenix is a great city and you know that all the players in the league will enjoy coming here in February for a break. Next to Las Vegas and LA perhaps, Arizona is probably one of the most desirable places to play (during winter months).
Amare Stoudemire Injury Update
While the news out of Suns camp is that Amare's knee is feeling better, we still don't have a definitive update on when he'll return to the court. He's missed 2 games so far and will be missed against a Miami squad on Friday. STAT has been upbeat during his time off the court, even coming up with a new term for how well he'll be playing when he comes back... "Stoude-fire". In addition to the injury news, Stoudemire was named as one of the Suns' captains recently. He joins Steve Nash and Shawn Marion as captains.
It was looking like another loss for the Suns early in the 3rd quarter, but Steve Nash led a resurgence that resulted in Phoenix's second win of the season - 103-92.
Playing the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers without All-Star Amare Stoudemire in the lineup, it appeared for the most of the game that the Suns would simply take the defeat on their home floor. The team struggled from the floor in the first half, but regrouped in the second and moved their record to 2-1.
Amare missed the game due to soreness in his right knee; the same knee he had surgery on before the season started. It was obvious to the Suns' staff in Friday night's blowout loss to the Lakers that something was wrong, so STAT was given the night off to get some rest. It's unknown if Amare will miss any more games or if the knee will be a nagging issue throughout the year. We can only hope that it's short term and that he'll be back on the court soon.
Shawn Marion and Nash both finished with double-doubles to lead the Suns, but Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa also contributed effectively in the victory. For the Cavs, Lebron James led the team in scoring with 27, but shot poorly throughout. Dwight Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had nearly identical box scores on the night, both finishing with 22 pts and 14 & 13 rbs, respectively.
The Suns continued to be a little out of sync and Raja Bell's early season struggles continue. Grant Hill also had problems getting going, but made some great plays towards the end of the game. His real value doesn't show up in the box scores - he's a leader and playmaker - something that will definitely be more evident as the playoffs approach.
Halftime of Sunday's game also featured the induction of Jerry Colangelo into the Suns' ring of honor. Quite a few former Suns players and important members of the organization were on hand to witness the event. Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle gave speeches during the ceremony - others may have too, but I missed them if they did. Jerry has been instrumental in building the city of Phoenix to what it is today; not only from a sports perspective, but also it's national prominence and influence. Colangelo is up there w/ Barry Goldwater and other influential Arizona residents as having the most profound influence on our state.
Less than 24 hrs after their comeback victory over the Seattle Supersonics, the Phoenix Suns didn't have anything left against the LA Lakers in the home opener. It was evident as early as the 2nd quarter... the Suns were off and had no shot at the victory against the conflicted Lakers.
Kobe Bryant played a supporting role, but the other role players on the Lakers stepped up and delivered against a tired Suns team. While the game is not quite over yet, the Suns look to fall by about 30 points in their 2nd game of the year.
Amare Stoudemire struggled throughout the game against the Lakers' big men - not only getting in foul trouble, but he also shot 2 for 10 in the game (20%). This is hardly the effort required to win against a Pacific Division foe. While it's still early in the season and the loss will probably not have a long-standing effect on Phoenix, you have to hope that they pull a 180 like they did last year after starting 1-5 (winning over 60 games overall).
Steve Nash is uncharacteristically turning the ball over (6 per game so far) and the Suns just seem a little out of whack. They were fortunate enough in last night's game that the Sonics folded in the 3rd and 4th quarters, but the Lakers have simply forced the issue and will run away with the victory.
Shawn Marion and Grant Hill played well for the Suns, but it wasn't enough as the Lakers bench torched Phoenix repeatedly. Led by Derek Fisher and Vladimir Radmanovic's outside shooting, the Lakers were particularly effective from the outside, shooting well over 50% from the field.
Next up for the Suns are Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who've started the season 1-1 after a close victory over the New York Knicks tonight. The game is Sunday, November 4th a US Airways Arena in PHX. Get your tickets here.
Despite a hot start by rookie Kevin Durant and a hard fight throughout, the Sonics drop to 0-2 and your Phoenix Suns open the season with a victory.
The Suns started the season pretty slow and a little out of sync - Phoenix guard Steve Nash committed 5 turnovers in the first half and the rest of the team also struggled. A halftime half-court heave from Damien Wilkins put Seattle up by 3 going into halftime, but that's really about as close as they would be the rest of the game.
Phoenix closed the 3rd quarter and opened the 4th on an 11-0 run to recoup the deficit and takeover the lead for good.
Amare Stoudemire led the Suns in scoring (23 pts) in rebounding (11 - tied w/ Marion), but he didn't play his usual minutes due to early foul trouble. New Suns' player Grant Hill got off to a decent start and made his presence known, but he shot an awful lot of 3's for someone who's not normally a 3-point shooter. The game announcers indicated that Hill took only 12 3's last year, but he took 7 last night, making only 1. Raja Bell also struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 2-7, but the Suns did enough to get the win.
Tonight's game: Home opener - the Suns will play the 0-1 Los Angeles Lakers in Phoenix. There will be a lot of talk about Kobe Bryant and Shawn Marion's trade requests, but the game still has to be played... Suns win by 12.