Suns Beat Mavs, 98-90, Under The Dark Desert Sky

The Suns are no longer unbeaten this preseason or at Indian Wells and move to 1-2 for both as they down the Dallas Mavericks under a warm, moonless night.

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Phoenix Suns Down Dallas Mavericks In Indian Wells Outdoor Game, 98-90

With the Suns starters logging mid-20's minutes and more time together as a unit, Phoenix was able to withstand a cold-shooting first half under the warm and moonless Indian Wells sky and put this game comfortably into garbage time at the end of three quarters. Phoenix was up by 22 points going into the fourth quarter before the end of the bench guys came in and let the lead slip a bit.

It should go without saying, that defending the Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry is a much easier task, but credit is still due the second unit who showed a glimpse of being the kind of lock-down group their potential suggests.

Of Note ...

  • Robin Lopez looked pretty good on both ends of the floor. He controlled the paint defensively and was enough of an offensive threat on the pick and roll with Nash that the Mavericks had to collapse their defense. 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 foul in just 20 minutes is an impressive stat line.
  • Hedo Turkoglu is obviously still adjusting to his new team and them to him. It's just too soon to make any kind of judgments about him and how he's going to work out for the Suns.
  • Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Jason Richardson all looked just fine. Nary a worry in the world about those three. Just an hour before the game I asked Gentry if Jason would play due to his sore shoulder. The answer was no. Richardson was obviously inspired by his Michigan State Spartans win over rival Michigan and forced his way into the lineup. He had 15 points in 23 minutes.
  • Channing missed pretty much every three he shot in the first half but played hard otherwise and his shot started falling in the second half. He finished with 12 points.
  • Warrick and Childress looked exactly like you would hope at this point. Josh was active defensively, aggressive with the ball and always in motion without it. He and Dragic seem to be in the early stages of developing a little chemistry. Goran found J-Chill cutting a few times. Warrick is a smart player who doesn't do more than he should. He did have a silly offensive foul on a drive he should have held up but overall his perimeter defense and finishing were a plus. Rebounding and defending bigger forwards is still an issue.
  • Gani Lawal, Matt Janning and Earl Clark didn't get into the game until the fourth quarter. Only Zabian Dowdell got a few minutes off the deep bench before the Gentry called it a night. Garret Siler didn't play at all.
  • The garbage time group of Janning, Dowdell, Atkins, Lawal and Clark almost gave up the lead. It doesn't matter since those five guys will never be on an NBA court together in the regular season.
  • There was no wind to speak of.

Link off

SMPGQ, Preseason Ed. (The sun was in my eyes, Coach) - Mavs Moneyball
Marion postgame: (Do your recognize your old team, the Suns, anymore?) "We know Steve is going to get that ball up the floor.But they’ve got a lot of new faces over there. They’re going to get up-and-down and shoot a lot of threes and they’re going to be the Suns. The same feel but different faces."

Phoenix Suns win first preseason game by defeating the Mavericks | Valley of the Suns
Perhaps that’s because I already know what J-Rich and Hill can do in this offense, but with Warrick it’s still somewhat of a mystery. He brought excitement to the game, coming up with a steal and a dunk in one sequence and overall proving to be an able pick-and-roll partner for Nash.

Phoenix Suns win outdoor preseason game against Dallas Mavericks
"I told Hedo it took me two weeks into the regular season before I got comfortable with everything," said Suns forward Grant Hill, who led the Suns with 16 points. "He'll figure it out. We have a comfort zone and we just have to continue to work with Turk and it'll come."

Suns shine at night | mydesert.com | The Desert Sun
So when asked if the victory meant anything, Gentry was blunt. “Not really, not unless we get a new car or golf every time we get there. If we get golf for free for a year, then it does,” Gentry said. “I think they were missing a couple players, I'm not sure. I saw some tall blond guy sitting over there, and he had some short black guy sitting next to him (on the bench).”

NBA outdoor game notes | mydesert.com | The Desert Sun
WENDY HECKMANN: For the third consecutive year, Wendy Heckmann sang the national anthem in what is a tradition for the third annual game. Heckmann is the wife of Richard Heckmann, the Rancho Mirage resident who is part of the Suns ownership group

Meet Kip Helt, the Phoenix Suns' man with the plan | mydesert.com | The Desert Sun
“Like a television show or a newscast, what I basically do is direct everything,” said Helt, who breaks down the production to the minute.

SUNS: Suns Top Mavs Under the Stars in 2011 AutoTrader.com Open
As opposed to the previous two preseason outings, Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry elected to give the lion’s share of minutes to the starters in the first half. Although both teams shot the ball poorly in the first half (40 percent for the Suns and 31 percent for the Mavs), the Suns moved out to an eight-point lead at halftime

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Phoenix Suns Tighten Rotations For Preseason Game In Indian Wells Against Dirk-less Mavericks

Third game of the preseason and so far the Suns have been woeful. No worries, right?

Well, Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry is certainly not pleased and has vowed to tighten up his rotations and focus on his first priority, getting the key players used to playing together. That will likely mean fewer minutes for Chucky Atkins, Garret Siler, Dwayne Jones, Gani Lawal and Matt Janning.

The Suns will have Channing Frye back in the lineup after he took the first two games off to be with his wife after the birth of their first child early last week. Congrats, Channing. Welcome back.

The Suns will be without Jason Richardson who has limited mobility in his shoulder after bruising it early in the preseason game against the Raptors in Vancouver. I would expect Josh Childress to get the start in his place but Gentry could go with Jared Dudley as well.

The Mavericks will be without their coach, Rich Carlisle, who collapsed during practice yesterday and was taken to the hospital. He returned to work that afternoon and by all accounts is fine although he didn't travel for this game.

Star Dirk Nowitzki will also sit out this game. It seems that he's not fond if the wind. 

"Outdoors, you know, I wasn't really great outdoors growing up,'' he said. "If you depend on a jump shot, if it's a windy night, I might as well stay home.''

SB Nation Arizona will be covering this game live from the Indian Wells Tennis Center. You can watch live in your living room on TNT where former Suns GM Steve Kerr will be on the mic.

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