Saturday, April 22, 2008
10:52 pm
Jeramie McPeek

The locker room is never a fun place to be after demoralizing losses like tonight’s. The last thing the players feel like doing after getting soundly beaten is answer questions asking why?

Why did you collapse in the third quarter after such a strong first half?

Why did Parker and Ginobili go off?

Why were you struggling with your shot, Leandro?

Why did you not play down the stretch, Grant?

It’s not easy or fun asking those sorts of questions, and its got to be even less fun to be asked them.

Understandably, the Suns didnt have many answers tonight. There were a lot of IDKs, or I Don’t Knows. No one had an answer for the 3rd quarter scoring drought. No one knew how or why the Spurs guards were able to explode for 61 points. LB offered no excuse for his 0-7 shooting night. And Grant didn’t know why he didn’t play late in the game. Well, maybe he did know, as he admitted he wasn’t sure if he even could have helped with his groing strain slowing him down once again.

No one had any answers, but everyone to a man said they’ll be ready for Game 3 on Friday in Phoenix.

Yes, winning four out of the next five games against the defending champs will be tough. But if the Suns can hold serve on their home court they’ll be back here next week all tied up.

Don’t forget, all the Suns need is one win here in San Antonio. I dont know about you, but I think they’ll get it. And I look forward to going into the locker room after that one.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
9:20 pm
Brad G. Faye

Anyone who knows basketball knows a playoff series doesn’t begin until a team wins on the road. We’ll see you on Friday night Suns fans.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:49 pm
Daniel Banks

It has been a while since I’ve seen a defense this aggressive. Bruce Bowen is treating Steve Nash like they’re on the dancefloor of a crowded Scottsdale nightclub and so far tonight they have been doing it without picking up unintentional fouls.

Steve Nash’s ability to operate has been thwarted by missed shots by the Suns perimeter players, allowing the spurs to suffocate the paint and focus on stopping the Steve-STAT connection.

It’s difficult to find something that’s going right for the Suns in this second half, but there’s still 10 minutes to turn things around.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:45 pm
Daniel Banks

Would you believe me if I told you that the at the end of the third quarter the Suns are outshooting the Spurs?

Are you calling me a liar??

The Suns enter the fourth hitting 48.4% of their shots while the Spurs are hitting 47.7%. The Suns’ biggest problem wasn’t missing shots…it was getting shots off. The Spurs were successful in disrupting their offense, occupying their passing lanes, and getting under their skin.

Step 1 of a comeback is to protect the ball. And Step 2 is score more points than your opponent. It’s just a two-step process I guess.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:40 pm
Stefan Swiat

One thing I’ve learned over the last few years from watching the Suns is that they always let teams back into games. Phoenix has only had a few blowouts this season. The Suns routinely let teams like Memphis or Minnesota creep back into contests, let alone clubs like the Spurs.

And I am going to do some research on this, or maybe ask our “By the Numbers” blogger Dan Hilton to do it, but I would guess that most teams always come back on Phoenix during the third quarter.

Now I’ve never played in the NBA, but every good team I’ve ever played on was very mindful of starting quarters well. If you set the tone, the other team has to respond. Right now, the Spurs are setting the tone, and the Suns are the team that’s reacting. And without doing research, from the games I’ve seen, I’d guess the Spurs are one of the top teams in the league at starting the third period.

So what is the difference between the two teams? Mentality. Phoenix has the talent, and position by position is probably individually better. But the Spurs are really adept at locking in mentally during crucial points of the game, and collectively focusing on the goal at hand. Great teams look at the big picture of a game, but they play it in small increments (ie. First few minutes of the second half, when a key player heads to the bench).

Having guys that are winners like Shaq and Grant Hill really help the Suns become the type of team that can be successful in having that mentality. We shall see if they can put it together during this last quarter…

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:22 pm
Daniel Banks

This third quarter has been kind of like a bad movie that you can’t walk out of… but the Suns can learn a thing or two from the Spurs Game 1 performance. They managed to keep their poise (remember Steve Kerr’s five keys to victory blog??) and and climb back into the game by doing the little things – the hustle plays.

So far this quarter the Spurs have cornered the market on hustle, but the Suns are now the team that remains within striking distance. No excuses now, it’s a comeback tonight or come back home 0-2.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:27 pm
Jeramie McPeek

Wow! Have we really only scored two points in the first 9 minutes of the third quarter?!

I am not a Spurs fan by any stretch, but you’ve got to give them credit as a great defensive team and they are demonstrating that loud and clear right now.

How do we score 35 points in the opening quarter and only 2 in the last 9 minutes? This could go down as a record low quarter for us.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:22 pm
Daniel Banks

The Suns have just been through five minutes of Finely’s Inferno. The Spurs #4 has eight points already in the quarter after going scoreless in the first half. The Spurs defense has also clamped down – Phoenix has yet to score a point in this quarter.

San Antonio’s defense is aggressive and physical, forcing Nash to move with the ball and so far the Suns haven’t been able to adjust – leading to a batch of frustrating turnovers here in the quarter.

Who will find the weakness in their armor? I’m hoping Grant Hill has a little “Magic” left in him tonight…

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:20 pm
Jeramie McPeek

Even the Spurs’ fans are dirty!

My press seat is about halfway up the lower bowl tonight, right in front of the “Baseline Bums,” San Antonio’s roudiest fans. I’m not sure why I didn’t get my corner court seat again. Maybe because of the “People’s Eyebrow” I shot at Duncan when he almost bowled me over last game?

Anyway, when Shaq was just fouled across the face by Kurt Thomas, the Bums started chanting “Hit him again! Hit him again! Harder! Harder!”

That’s just cold.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:10 pm
Daniel Banks

Somebody change the channel. I’ve seen this episode before. The Suns came out strong out of the gate but the Spurs are still within striking distance to start the second half. The Suns are hot tonight, shooting over 60% but the Spurs are also much improved from Game 1 and are hitting 50% of their attempts.

The Spurs have been feeding off of momentum and their fans sense blood in the water in this third quarter – the Suns need a big three pointer to force a Pop timeout and bring a little silence to this center.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
7:52 pm
Dan Hilton

It’s halftime and the Suns are up 61-54. With it being halftime, I figured I would surf around the web a bit and see what people were saying about the game.

The most interesting thing I found was on the ESPN Suns/Spurs series page.

Even with the Suns up by seven and leading nearly the entire game, the ESPN Accuscore Projections are showing the Spurs have a 62% chance of winning the game. They don’t say exactly why they have it going that way but I imagine has something to do with the runs the teams have been on and who is scoring for each team.

The Spurs “Big 3″ have scored 51 of their 54 points. I’m curious to see if they can keep that up in the second half or whether they’ll start getting tired.

If you want to discuss the game live, you can also go to PlanetOrange Live. You can talk to fans in real time.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
7:40 pm
Stefan Swiat

I think a lot of Suns fans were wondering after Game 1 why Amaré
Stoudemire was guarding Tim Duncan so much, especially since Duncan had himself a 40-point outing. The question was, didn’t we acquire Shaq so he could guard guys like Duncan and the Lakers’ Pau Gasol?

Well, it looks like whatever plan Head Coach Mike D’Antoni had for playing STAT on Duncan has been quickly scrapped. In fact, D’Antoni is responding to the Spurs’ substitution pattern by taking Shaq out when Duncan comes out. He has Shaq on him like flies on a rib roast.

It seems to be working, and I think it will be effective just as long as Shaq stays out of foul trouble. Although, the intelligence of Shaq cannot be underestimated in that department either. Shaq is excellent even with foul trouble. Flashback to last game, when Shaq not only blocked Duncan, but forced an airball and bothered him repeatedly late in the game, despite playing with five fouls.

Shaq is so vital on defense that the Spurs elected not to call a timeout before Manu Ginobili’s game-winning shot because they didn’t want him to re-enter the game. People just don’ understand what a presence he is out there, even when he isn’t putting up the numbers he used to post in the past. You can’t teach 7-feet, smart and agile…

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
7:10 pm
Brad G. Faye

I know Suns loyalists may have a problem with this, but I had to sneak away from the game to watch the closing moments of Orlando-Toronto. What a finish! The two teams went back and forth the final two minutes with the Magic thankfully pulling out the win. No offense to Chris Bosh and the Raptors, but I’m pulling for Shaq’s former ballclub in this one. In my eyes, the more Orlando advances and the more we get to watch Dwight Howard, the better.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
7:00 pm
Dan Hilton

There are three minutes left in the 1st quarter and the Suns are up 26-12. Amare Stoudemire only has one foul and Shaq has none.

I have been nervous all day for this game. I can’t remember if this was how I was like in previous playoffs or not. This is my first playoffs working for the Suns and I don’t know if I’m more nervous for the actual game or for all of the things I need to do during the game!

I have to update a lot of the small things that happen on the site during the 2nd half and I don’t want to mess anything up to the point where you guys can’t get to the site. It’s really hard to watch the game and work on the site at the same time because I’m not sure where to focus my eyes.

Well, since I’ve been typing this there are now 1:30 seconds left in the 1st quarter and the Suns are up 31-17. GO SUNS!

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
5:40 pm
Jeramie McPeek

Eddie Johnson sat behind me on the bus to the arena, wondering aloud why the city has never bothered to clean the river.

“This is a tourist attraction. Why not drain it and put in some pebbleteck or something? I wouldn’t even want to eat next to that water!”

I didn’t mind eating by the river personally — the breeze and sounds of flowing water makes for a relaxing combination — but the catfish that the Spurs served in the press room tasted like it came out of the river. To say the least, I was not a fan. As David Griffin and I used to say back when were interns and the press dining was bad: “Hot dog night!”

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
4:00 pm
Jeramie McPeek

The “orange” fans are still outside the hotel, but changed jersys after Boris Diaw autographed the ones they were wearing. Talk about serious fans. These guys have been standing out here in the San Antonio humidity all day.

The bus just pulled up and Coach D’Antoni was the first one out of the hotel doors ready to board. I talked to him for a moment or two in the lobby and he didnt seem as tense as he did last game at this point, but he admitted to being nervous. Cant blame him. I am too and I’m not responsible for the gameplan.

 


 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
3:30 pm
Jeramie McPeek

My dirty clothes are all packed and my bags are by my hotel room door.

When you travel with the team, your luggage is delivered to your room upon check-in and picked up for you at check-out. I’m always nervous, though, that in the hustle of collecting Shaq, STAT and Bell’s suitcases, mine are going to be forgotten. And you know Raja’s gotta have a lot of bags, being the fashion fan he is.

I actually wouldn’t be too heart broken if i lost my bag, although my kids might be upset if I didn’t bring home gifts (pink cowgirl hat and an X-Men Juggenaut figure, in case you’re wondering).

I went and did a little souvenir shopping this afternoon after some shooting some video of the Alamo and Riverwalk. Outside the hotel there were a couple of die-hard Suns fans decked out head-to-toe in orange gear, bodypaint and wigs, carrying “scorch the spurs” signs and bells to ring for Raja. They told me they’d just gotten kicked out of the Alamo for “advertising” and were even threatened with tresspassing charges. Could San Antonio fans be nervous or even stressed about tonight’s game?

Watching TNT last night and ESPN today, I’ve heard the term “must win” thrown around a lot in regards to tonight’s Game 2. I’m not sure I agree, as I could easily see the Suns winning the next two games at US Airways Center, but boy would a win be reassuring.