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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 ...
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
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.
The Suns lost to Sacramento by 14 on Tuesday and to Toronto by 51 points on Wednesday in an ejection-and-turnover-fest. Forward Grant Hill didn't seem to be too worried, though, slapping backsides in jest after being ejected for that very offense on Wednesday.
"They (the league and officials) want to clean up the cosmetics of the game," Gentry said. "Cosmetically, they think it looks terrible the way everybody whines and complains, so they don't want that anymore, and I don't think anyone else does. So you have to make an adjustment to that and understand that if you do, you're not going to be in the game."
Gentry wouldn't comment on the booty-slapping. He joked with reporters about missing "a hell of a game."
"We rallied the last two minutes to cut it to 51," Gentry said.
Gentry lamented his team's 32 turnovers.
"We know what we have to clean up, and we've got to be better in our execution and then we've got to be better defensively. Obviously, rebounding the basketball. Those things, they're a combination of things. We have to correct all those at once."
Meanwhile, guard Jason Richardson did not practice, staying loose by running and riding a stationary bike. Richardson has a shoulder bruise that limited him Wednesday, and Gentry all but said Richardson won't play in the team's next game Saturday.
"It's doing good. Just got a limited range of motion," Richardson said. He added that he sat out Friday as a precaution and that he expects to be out a few days, but is feeling better every day.
The Suns are off to the Palm Springs area for tomorrow night's game against the Dallas Mavericks under the stars. The nationally-televised (TNT) 6:30 p.m. game will take place outdoors at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"It's actually kind of fun. It brings you back to those days as a kid playing in the park," Richardson said.
"I really don't see the difference. The way the seats are and the way everything is situated, to me, unless you look up and see the moon, it still feels like you're in an arena," Gentry said. "Last year, I thought it was just a basketball game in an arena that just so happened to not have a roof on it ... It was great, the weather was good."
Gentry would like to see the players he figures will be in the playing rotation get more minutes, starting Saturday. He wants to see different combinations on the floor with Hill and Steve Nash.
The Suns continue to show interest in big man Erick Dampier, who reportedly was in Phoenix Thursday and Friday to meet with club officials.
"It's just a process," Gentry said, refreshingly stopping his train of thought with the realization that he was feeding the media the standard line. "Obviously, he's evaluating us and some other things, and at some point in the near future, I'm sure I think he'll make a decision."
"When you look at a team like the Lakers and they run (Andrew) Bynum and Pau (Gasol) and Lamar (Odom) and a bunch of seven-foot guys, and they added Theo Ratliff, I just think you can't ever have too much size on a team," Gentry said.