1 Total Update since December 31, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Something lingered in the air in the Suns' locker room on New Years Eve. Not the obvious, sweat.
Two things, actually. A win, which they hadn't had of late, and smoke from some sort of smoke-bomb device, the by-product of a mini-New Year's celebration.
The Suns had enough to celebrate Friday night after a 92-75 win over the Detroit Pistons, who were missing their leading scorer and aren't very good anyway. Phoenix snapped a four-game losing streak and did with defense and a second unit that was so effective in the second quarter, point guard Steve Nash played the second-fewest minutes he has in a game all season, 19.
Jared Dudley and Vince Carter scored 19 points each, Carter adding eight rebounds. Goran Dragic hit a couple of big threes in the second quarter, when the Suns broke open the game with a 22-4 run and never looked back. But defense was the key.
The Pistons shot 40.8 percent from the field, looked lost in their half-court offense and couldn't do much with something Suns fans haven't heard good things about in a while: a trap on defense.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Where are you celebrating New Year's Eve? The Suns will be partying in downtown Phoenix at the arena as they play host to the Detroit Pistons. Hopefully, the visitors will oblige by missing shots and giving up a much-needed win to the Suns who are winless in their last four games.
Detroit has one of the weirdest rosters in the NBA with their combination of Ben Gordon coming off the bench and Ben Wallace starting at the center position. Of course, we are no position to say anything as the Pistons (11-21) have just two fewer wins than the Suns (13-17).
For the Suns though, this game have become very important.
"We need to get a win. All the problems you have, it's nothing that a win can't cure," Coach Alvin Gentry said after morning shootaround.
It's an important game for several reasons that go beyond the record and the four-game losing streak. Gentry is a firm believer in protecting home court and isn't happy with his team's 7-7 record at US Airways Center.
"It bothers me a lot (that we've not protected home court). It's really difficult to win on the road. At the end of the year you look up and there's six teams that have winning records on the road regardless of how many teams have 50 wins," he said.
Perhaps even more critical for the team is to see some improvement on the defensive end. After earning the dubious honor of being the worst defensive team in the league, Gentry has simplified his system. The hope is that by having fewer responsibilities to worry about the players will be freed to play harder and will be able to be more accountable for their actions on the court.
"I wouldn't say frustrating. I would say I'm a little bit disappointed," Gentry said about his team's inability to play good defense so far this season.
"But in defense of the guys too, we've tried to change a few things and do something differently because with the personnel that we originally had here we thought that would work best. That didn't work out so now we're going back to what we did originally with different personnel. So it's been a little bit of a trying time for them too."
The team had a good long practice yesterday instilling the new (old) defensive system that left the coach happy with the focus and effort. But as he said, that now needs to translate to the game.
The Pistons are a team without a star which is reflected in their having five guys averaging in double figures. The closest thing to a "star" player is Tracy McGrady who can still be dangerous as evidenced by 21 points he scored in the the Pistons' win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
McGrady is former teammates and close friends with his third cousin, Vince Carter.
"Just watching him the last couple of days he looks pretty good so he's back to his old self. I'm sure there's going to be some trash talking out there tonight," Carter said. "I'm just glad to see him back out there."
The game tips off at 7 p.m. local time and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona. If you are not out partying, you can follow along with the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.