One Hour Before Game: On the court an hour before the game. Dan Majerle, in his Suns warmup t-shirt, was on the court with his son within five feet of former foe Reggie Miller, who was in his shirt and tie for TNT. When I asked him who would win in a 3-point shoot out right now he said “Me, because he’s wearing a long sleeve shirt.” Got to love Thunder’s sense of humor.
Minutes Before Tipoff: Packed crowd and all on their feet for the starting lineups. The song “Work Hard. Play Hard” is in the intro video. Sums up this team and probably most of the people spending their money to be in the building tonight.
11:32: Satisfaction guaranteed? Yeah, that’s a great start with the alley-oop from Beasley to Gortat. Which may be the first and only time that phrase is ever said in the NBA.
9:29: For a good time Alvin Gentry has called on Markieff Morris and Michael Beasley so far. Keef has four points and four rebounds and Bease has three points and two assists of his own.
4:57: What can Brown do for you? Deliver a huge one-handed jam to put you up 15-10 and more importantly bring everyone in attendance to their feet like nothing has this season.
2:37: O.J. and Mayo. Sounds like an awful meal. Also sounds like someone who is giving the Suns defense a little trouble right now. he has four points in the first quarter. Suns lead 19-14.
1:47: Jared Dudley just took a 3-pointer from Glendale and made it. This team looks happy to be home for the first time in 13 days after traveling more than a rental car in that short of a time (6,301 miles).
End of 1st: They say a tie is like kissing your sister. That’s not the case here at US Airways Center. It’s tied 23-23 after one but fans are fired up thanks to some exciting moments and six points and nine rebounds from Markieff “the Wizard of Awes” Morris. (He’s from Kansas you know.)
9:50: So Jared Dudley and Jermaine O’Neal, two guys with little to no hair, are wearing headbands while Luis Scola, who has hair that belongs on romance novel doesn’t have one on? Things that make you go “hmmmm.” Oh, Suns lead 27-26.
7:57: It’s so easy a Kaman can do it right now. Chris has eight points (on 4-of-6 shooting) with four rebounds to lead the Mavericks. Suns have the lead though 29-28.
7:41 Timeout here at the arena and Suns Vision just showed Hairy the inflatable gorilla scarring people at a shopping mall. Fans laughed so hard they almost wet themselves. Which ironically is what half the people Hairy scared almost did too.
6:39: Aaron Nelson and his staff are working their magic once again. (That or they truly do have the fountain of youth hidden in the arena.) They’re so good Reggie Miller is going to start to thinking he’s seeing the Jermaine O’Neal he shared a court with in Indiana. He has a nice put back to give your Suns the 34-28 lead.
2:06: Disappointed. Just saw Craig Sager and think I’m wearing a stranger outfit than him. My purple paisley bow tie beats his peach suit and tie. Suns and Mavs tied at 38-38 but I lead Sager 1-0.
End of the 2nd quarter: The Suns were running in the first half like they stole something. That’s because they did. Six different passes from the Mavericks. They lead 44-40. Keef Morris gets the game ball at the half. He has nine points and 10 rebounds so far.
Halftime: We have the Red Panda Acrobat in the building while TNT has Charles Barkley. So we have all the bowls and they have the guy who ate everything out of them. (Sorry Chuck, low blow. Love you man.)
Here’s your Obscure Halftime Jersey from around US Airways Center. Today’s is a classic Antonio McDyess black jersey. Still can’t believe they let him wear No. 34 after Chuck (McDyess, not this guy).
10:18: Kaman and Gortat do battle to start the second half down low. The thing with the best tan in that equation is the orange lane. Suns lead 46-42.
6:34: Goran Dragic just asked the rim for about four points back because he isn’t satisfied with the way it’s treating him. Not friendly last two trips down the court. Suns trail 54-47.
4:43: Another slow third quarter. They seem to be plaguing the Suns the way finding a hair piece for Nic Cage must have plagued Hollywood directors for decades. Down 59-48 but still time for another patented Suns comeback.
2:18: Markieff Morris put on his big boy pants before the game. Nah, forget that, he put on his man pants. He gets the rebound, scores the bucket and is fouled to give him 11 points and 13 rebounds. Suns trail 65-54.
1:01: The Garbage Man, P.J. Tucker, strikes again. He hits the long 2-point jumper to cut the lead to 67-60. He’s usually one of the guys who leads the late game charge.
End of the 3rd quarter: Strong finish. Sets the stage once again for a comeback. Defibrillators available or your money back. Excitement guaranteed. Mavs lead 69-61.
10:54: What did I tell you? Excitement has ensued here at US Airways Center. Suns have cut the lead to 71-67 with back-to-back buckets to start the quarter. They’re like a boxer. They take some hits in the early rounds but keep swinging.
9:18: Luis Scola has a nose for the ball and looks for a Russel Brand movie. He cuts into the Mavs lead making it 73-69.
8:18: If the Suns are going to complete the comeback they’ll have to do it without the guy who Coach Gentry said “epitomizes what we want our entire team to be.” P.J. Tucker sprained his right MCL and isn’t going to return. 77-69 Mavericks.
5:45: Brandan Wright is just wrong if you’re a Suns fan. He keeps hitting shots for the Mavs.
4:36: Luis Scola and Goran Dragic doing the dirty work with P.J. Tucker out. They’ve helped cut the lead to 81-75.
3:40: Coach Gentry going with the Bassy and Dragic back court. What they lack for in size, they make up for in feistiness and close hair cuts.
2:48: Luis Scola takes a huge charge. He’s doing it all. Defense is keeping Suns in the game. They trail 83-78.
Timeout: If someone came in and threw free t-shirts into the seats at your office would people begin to scream? Oh, so it’s just where I work that that happens? No one can complain about t-shirts.
2:22: Gentry has been preaching the gospel of offensive rebounds for weeks. Sebastian Telfair is a convert. He gets a huge one and finds Shannon Brown for the jumper. Suns within three 83-80.
1:58: Suns fans wave Thunder Sticks while Mavericks hit two free throws to give them the 85-80 lead. Sidebar: In Phoenix shouldn’t they have a picture of Dan Majerle on them?
1:01: Morris can do it inside and out. Not only does he have a career-high in rebounds but he hit a huge 3-pointer to cut it to 87-85 Mavericks.
:48.6: Mavericks turn the ball over. Shannon Brown gets it, gets fouled and make the two free throws to tie it at 87-87. As Maximus said in Gladiator “Are you not entertained?”
:34.6: Have to hold the Mayo, or at least stop him. O.J. hits the jumper and the Mavs move back ahead 89-87. One last comeback left?
:24.0: Dragic gets the look but can’t make the bucket.
:19.0: Darren Collison hits two free throws. Mavs up 91-87
:15.0: The Dragon gets his revenge on the rim. He makes the layup to make it 91-89.
:13.6: Suns and Mavs trade free throws. It’s 93-91 Dallas. Can’t say there isn’t suspense. That’s for sure.
:12.0: Vince Carter does what Suns fans wished he would have, make a big shot or free throws that is. Mavs up 95-91.
:4.0: Brown delivers even late night. Suns within one 95-94.
:0.0 Collison makes his two free throws to extend the lead to 97-94 with three seconds to go and Shannon Brown couldn’t come up huge from half court to end the game.
An interesting moment during Alvin Gentry’s postgame press conference. There was a white table cloth that had been left the podium. Coach picked it up and without missing a beat said “We’re not ready to wave the white flag” before tossing it to the ground.
It’s that kind of attitude that you have to believe in. Gentry’s squads have never given up and you’d expect this season to be no different. No matter the deficit, they’ve battled back. Now, as the coach acknowledged, it’s just time for them to figure out how to finish off an opponent.
So that’s it. Thanks for following along with me tonight. I guarantee if you didn’t enjoy this, I’ll question your sense of humor.