This game is being played in Canada with a team from Phoenix, Arizona against a team from Toronto, Canada. Who do you think the Vancouver, British Columbia crowd will be rooting for?
Captain Canada himself, Steve Nash. Of course.
And since we are on a track of asking obvious questions, do you think it was a coincidence that Nash (and Grant Hill) only played six minutes in yesterday's preseason game in Sacramento?
Nope, me either.
Back-to-back preseason games call for resting your aging stars and there was no way that Nash was going to deny his hometown fans a chance at seeing him play. Six minutes on the first night and I would guess a good 20 to 25 minutes tonight.
Nash wouldn't have it any other way.
Last night, the Suns proved in the first half that they can score the ball just fine. Yes, it was "only" the Sacramento Kings, but 58 first half points is plenty impressive for the first preseason game. Especially when you consider that Turkoglu and Nash combined for only four of those 58.
It was Robin Lopez and Jason Richardson who carried the scoring load without the benefit of three-point shooting (1-for-7). Those two racked up 26 in the half. Rebounding was solid early, as well, with the Suns up 20-19 at the break and points in the paint were a solid 24 per side.
It wasn't until the second half when the Suns relied mostly on the bench (plus 14 minutes from Lopez) that the rebounding got out of hand.
DeMarcus Cousins is a beast, but in his first NBA game, Robin can't let him get 16 rebounds. If this rebound by committee thing is going to work, Lopez is going to need to contain his man. It's early; we'll see.
Lopez played the most minutes of any starter (31), so it's reasonable to assume that if Channing Frye is back tonight, he will get more of the time. Certainly against the Toronto Raptors, size will be less of an issue.
The Raptors centers, Andrea Bargnani and David Anderson, are both perimeter type players (like Frye). It will be a much better matchup for the Suns and will probably result in Lopez playing fewer minutes. No need to push him too hard this early in the preseason.
It has to be mentioned that this is the first time Hedo Turkoglu and Leandro Barbosa will be facing their former teams. I am sure LB will share lots of hugs with his ex-mates. Not so sure the same will be true for Hedo.
Links to more Suns coverage:
- Kings Thump Suns in Preseason Opener, 109-95 - Bright Side Of The Sun The good news is this game, like the rest of the pre-season, means nothing. Nothing at all. The bad news is the Phoenix Suns were outscored by 22 points in the second half by the Sacramento Kings en route to a 109-95 defeat. Steve Nash and Grant Hill combined to play 8 minutes while Gani Lawal and Channing Frye did not play at all. If you are pushing the panic button, I recommend Valium, yoga, or some Zen breathing exercises.
- Kings 109, Suns 95: Size Matters - Sactown Royalty While the first half seemed to focus on a more perimeter-oriented game, the Kings forced it inside in the second, which in turn opened up the floor for the rest of the team. Phoenix's offense became a lot sloppier as well without Nash running the point, and Sacramento's guards were really active at trying to disrupt the ballhandler.
Pick and Scroll: Kings 109, Suns 95: Game Recap The Suns started the game beautifully, thanks to the masterful direction of the one and only Steve Nash. It was clear that, unlike the Kings, who are bringing in a lot of new and young players, this team had a lot of experience with each other and in the league in general. The floor spacing and penetration was beautiful to watch, and Hedo Turkoglu helped a lot in that regard.
- Cousins impressive in Kings' exhibition win - Sacramento Sports - Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee "I thought DeMarcus gave us everything we're looking for in the post on both ends of the floor," Kings coach Paul Westphal said after the exhibition opener for both teams. "He showed why we think so highly of him. And if he ever gets in shape, he'll really be able to do a lot."
- Kings Blog and Q&A: Hedo visits his former (Kings) landlord One-time Kings swingman Hedo Turkoglu shared a hug with current Kings president Matina Kolokotronis. For those who might have forgotten, during his rookie season, Hedo lived in the guest house at Kolokotronis' home in Fair Oaks. At the time, Kolokotronis was the attorney who negotiated his release from his former team in Turkey. "I told Hedo, 'I've been so busy, I forgot you were coming to town with the Suns," Kolotronis related. "He said, 'thanks a lot.' "
- Phoenix Suns drop first preseason game in Sacramento | Valley of the Suns Steve Nash and Grant Hill logged just six minutes of time, Hedo Turkoglu 16 and Jason Richardson’s stellar evening ended midway through the third. Meanwhile, many of the King’s regulars played close to their usual minutes, led by Carl Landry (35), Cousins (30) and Evans (28).
- ESPN's feature's name to track LeBron James and Co. fires us up If you haven't heard, the World Wide Leader's Internet platform ESPN.com has assigned a team of reporters and computer geeks to bring all of us daily updates on the exploits of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Miami Heat this season. They plan to call this new feature "The Heat Index." As you can imagine, we're incredulous.
3 in the Key - Raptors' Game-Day Preview vs the Suns - Raptors HQ The match features some interesting subplots considering it marks Hedo Turkoglu's first game against his former team (Leandro Barbosa's as well), the Suns first game without the services of Amar'e Stoudemire, and of course, Toronto's first game without Chris Bosh. With that in mind, instead of our regular season "3 Keys," our pre-season previews will be more akin to "3 Things the HQ will be watching for tonight." Let's kick it off with rotations...