Friday, April 25, 2008
9:58 pm
Stefan Swiat

If the Suns are going to make a comeback, they are going to have to do so with contributions from their main three role players: Barbosa, Bell and Diaw.

When two out of the three of those guys score 15 points or more, the Suns are 17-2. LB has hit for 20 points already, whereas Diaw only has six and Bell has two. One of those guys are going to have to get hot and make the defense pay for when they collapse on STAT, Shaq and Nash.

Nash, who was quiet the first half, became more aggressive in the third before going out of the game for his usual fourth-quarter rest. Look for him to attack voraciously when he re-enters the contest.

It’s do or die time Suns fans…

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
9:42 pm
Stefan Swiat

The Spurs have really done an excellent job of chasing the Suns off of the 3-point line. The Suns, who are the best 3-point shooting team in the league, have only four 3-point bombs attempts at the end of the third quarter.
Nash’s pet shot, which is to dribble up in transition and pull up and drain a 3-ball before the other team has time to react has been completely taken away by the Spurs, who have quite mindful of Nash on the break.
The Suns, who are fifth in the league in 3-point attempts, are going to have to push the tempo and launch a few to start cracking up the Spurs. The Spurs are retreating to the lane and feel no threat right now from Suns from the outside.
Right now, the Suns are doing better on the Parker on the screen-and-roll as Hill has been able to bother him with his length. Unfortunately, Duncan is hitting every 17-foot jumper that comes his way. Let’s see if the Suns can make a run here…

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:38 pm
Daniel Banks

The Suns are finding their identity again in front of a nationwide audience. The Spurs may have done a good job of befuddling them in San Antonio but here in this second quarter they are back to do doing what they did so well down the stretch in the season. Shaq is a beast in the paint against Tim Duncan making him work for every inch he gets toward the basket and Raja, Barbosa, and Nash have only one thing on their minds: Push It. And so far they’re pushing it real good. It’s slow going putting on a comeback against a team with this much poise, but they’re chipping away at San Antonio one hustle play at a time.

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:29 pm
Jeramie McPeek

It was great to see Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo in the locker room before the game. I still wish the Suns could have won a championship for him last season before he moved out of his fourth floor office at US Airways Center last summer, and transitioned to more of a consultant role for the franchise. But he says he is still as big a fan as when he was the team’s first GM and longtime owner.

“I don’t think I’ll ever, ever disassociate myself,” he told me. “You can’t give birth to something and watch it grow and mature, and not be deeply, passionately involved. So, whether I’m here or with the team or not, I’m watching and nothing has changed in terms of my emotions. They run the full gamut with how the team is doing, so the first two games were gut-wrenching to say the least.”

Although the Suns find themselves down 0-2 to the defending champion Spurs, Colangelo said he was still confident that they could come back and win this series.

“After 40 years, I’ve seen a lot of those games and circumstances just like this. Now it’s time to turn things around and make it a series, and go from there.”

 


 

 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:06 pm
Josh Greene

With Grant Hill still nursing the strained groin, Leandro Barbosa got the nod for his first start of the playoffs tonight. Before the game, LB’s brother Arturo was hanging out courtside, awaiting his tickets (yes, he was on the list) and all but guaranteed a great night for his little brother. A frequent visitor at Suns practices this postseason, the elder Barbosa (who I’ve heard is a sergeant and paratrooper in the Brazilian military) is quick with a smile and handshake, which really makes me wonder if all those “horror” stories about how he motivated Leandro basketball-wise with a stick years ago were really true.

LB was held scoreless for the first time all season in Game 2. The first quarter tonight was nothing to write home about either, but the Brazilian Blur really found his groove in the second quarter, racking up a quick 10 points in the first five minutes. And he just hit a three-pointer to close the gap to six with just under eight to play in the half.

It almost makes me wish my parents used a stick to motivate me growing up. Almost.

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:17 pm
Daniel Banks

This is the first home playoff game of the year for the suns.com crew and we have taken over a room high up in the US Airways Center with a very unique view of the game. There ain’t nobody else seeing the game the way we are tonight. I can honestly say we’re on top of the action and this view affords us a great look at how the teams operate as a unit – moving, sliding in unison. The Suns are collapsing on lane penetration but so far tonight it wasn’t been enough to keep their guards from scoring. Meanwhile, the Spurs are trained vets who never leave their post (or else they suffer Pop’s fury) … Barbosa makes them pay by streaking down the lane for an easy layup. Nice.

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:14 pm
Stefan Swiat

Ummm. We are getting killed on the screen-and-roll and Coach D’Antoni even asked for suggestions from the press on how you can guard a screen-and-roll against Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

The injury of Grant Hill is really felt here because he guarded Tony Parker during the regular season. Parker is too quick for Nash to fight over the screen on, and Shaq has never been able to hedge out and help his point guards. When he was younger, he was better, but he preferred to retreat to the lane and block shots, while athletic guards like Derek Fisher and Dwyane Wade could fight over the screen.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that option, which leads to Parker drilling jumper after jumper. Or, if Shaq or STAT do help out, they can swing it to Duncan or Thomas, who also coolly nail the mid-range jumpers. Hill provided that knack of being able to guard smaller and quicker guys because he had the length to recover in time to contest Parker’s jumpers. Now, a step slower, he just can’t get out to him.

In addition, with LB at the 2 and Raja Bell and the 3, the Suns can’t try to zone the Spurs because Bell would be the weak-side rebounder. Hill or Diaw would be great on the weak-side, but Hill in injured and D’Antoni rarely plays Boris at the small forward because he gives up a lot on the offensive end when he does that.

We’ll see how they try to solve this…

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:13 pm
Brad G. Faye

Okay the good news after one quarter is we seem to be forcing the Spurs to take jumpers. The bad news is they’re making them… all of them. But that can’t remain the case forever… can it?

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
8:06 pm
Daniel Banks

This has to be a good sign. In Games 1 and 2 the Suns started the game hot and built big leads only to have the Spurs come back in the third quarter to erase all their early work. So now we find ourselves trailing in the first quarter of Game 3 and Tony Parker (who has burned us in the fourth this series) is scorching hot to start the game. So are the fortunes reversed and will the Suns be the ones with the last laugh? Right now the arena is only full of boo’s for Pop’s decision to hack-a-Shaq.

 

 


 

 

Saturday, April 22, 2008
8:05 pm
Jeramie McPeek

My wife is not a Spurs fan.

Now she probably wouldn’t be too upset if the Suns didn’t advance past this round, as it would mean I would be home more at night and on weekends. But she does enjoy attending games this time of year.

This may be the last game I let her go to, though. For the second time in a row (April 1st was the first), she wore black and white clothes to a Suns-Spurs matchup. Now whether it was a sub-conscious decision or she just chose her favorite Old Navy outfit, I don’t know. But it doesn’t look good. I think she’s the only fan sitting in section 109 wearing black. I just hope she makes it through the game without getting beer poured on her.

Heck, with the Spurs currently leading by 12 points, she may be lucky to make it through the first quarter without some Bud Light shampoo.

 


 

 

Saturday, April 25, 2008
7:45 pm
Brad G. Faye

Wow. Popovich talked before the game about what a difference maker Kurt Thomas has been for this ballclub and you can certainly see why. There may not be a guy better in the league at setting screens and when given the jumper he just doesn’t miss…. Although right now, none of the Spurs seem to be missing much of anything.

 

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
7:30 pm
Jeramie McPeek

I don’t know if you saw it on the TV broadcast, but Grant Hill was just presented with the Joe Dumars Trophy at center court, as the 2007-08 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner.

The annual award doesn’t get nearly the attention that the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, or Sixth Man does, of course, but it is a pretty awesome recognition if you think about it.

Grant was singled out from the more than 400 players in the Association for demonstrating “ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.” Even more impressive is the fact that he became the first player ever to win the award twice.

”It was a bit of a shock,” Hill admitted prior to the game. “It definitely feels good, especially knowing that your colleagues, fellow players in the league voted on. It’s a great honor.

“I try to go out and be professional, and play the right way, be competitive but also respect the game and have respect for my opponent.”

 


 

 

Saturday, April 25, 2008
7:30 pm
Brad G. Faye

With the Mavericks game now in the books, it appears home cooking has been a factor this postseason (ironically for everybody but PMah). Here’s hoping the home team can go to 3-0 on the night.

 

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
7:30 pm
Stefan Swiat

The deck is already stacked against the Suns being down 0-2, but it would be near impossible to come back from losing three straight. The two advantages that the Suns have is that they are playing at the Purple Palace and that they are the only NBA club that hasn’t lost three consecutive games all season.

Leandro Barbosa is going to start in place of Grant Hill, who is laboring with a strained groin. Coach Mike D’Antoni considered starting Boris Diaw, but if one of his bigs got tired, he wanted to be able to sub in Boris to provide some relief.

Last game LB was 0-of-7, so let’s hope the start will get him going…

Let the game begin!

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
7:20 pm
Jeramie McPeek

It’s been just about a year since I’ve been up here.

Game 3 is a little over 10 minutes from tip-off as I type my first entry in our official game-night blog way up above Section 203. And when I say “way up,” I mean way, way up. We’re in a converted balcony up in the rafters that was, in a previous life, the organ loft for the Phoenix Coyotes back when they were still tenants at US Airways Center. Talk about nose-bleed seats.

But these are our nose-bleed seats and we’re darn proud of them. We discovered our own little paradise in the spring of 2007 while searching through a long-deserted storage room up here on level 6. And although it took a makeover that would make Ty Pennington proud, we were able to successfully convert it into a private press lounge we affectionately call the “Suns.com Skybox.”

So if I make any comments about the game tonight that seem a little “off,” or give credit to the wrong player for a big bucket or hard foul, forgive me. It’s not easy typing and looking through binoculars at the same time.

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
6:45 pm
Dan Hilton

I’m nervous. Is anyone else nervous?

I’m not nervous that we’ll lose. It’s just that pre-game jitters I seem to get before all playoff games the Suns participate in. In my previous job, I always had to travel during the first few rounds of the playoffs so I would watch the games in my hotel room. A couple of years ago I happened to be in Los Angeles during the Suns/Lakers series. Unfortunately, the games were taking place in Phoenix. So I would save all of my “per diem” money and eat as little as possible during the day so I could splurge on dinner when I ordered room service. It wasn’t great for my weight but it sure was fun! Ceaser salad, hamburger, french fries, rolls, some kind of dessert and lots and lots of water. For some reason watching the Suns makes me thirsty.

When I ordered room service one time, the guy who delivered it saw me in my Suns gear (Suns shorts, shirt, hat) and immediately started giving me a hard time. I reminded him I hadn’t tipped him yet and that stopped him from talking for awhile. But he did take a break for a few minutes and watched the game with me. He was bad luck for the Suns and the Lakers started going on a run so I signed the receipt and told him he better leave. I can’t remember that game very well but I do remember I ate way too much because I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating. I was too nervous during the game!

Last year, I was on the road for the infamous game 5 of the Suns/Spurs series. I think I’ve written about this before but just to recap: It was a frustrating game. I couldn’t help but whoop and holler when the Suns did well or groan and throw rolls at the TV when the Spurs did well. When the Suns finally lost that game, I’m sure I probably made the people in the room next to me think I was crazy as I kept banging the back of my head against the wall.

I have great memories of watching the games on the road, even if it was by myself in a place far, far away from Phoenix. But I sure am glad to be at the arena tonight cheering on the Suns! GO SUNS!!

 


 

 

Friday, April 25, 2008
6:50 pm
Brad G. Faye

I just left the Spurs lockerroom and definitely need to cleanse myself of their bad vibes. Just a quick rundown – Tim Duncan was watching game film of he and Shaq throughout this series, Manu Ginobili jetted to go shoot around as soon as the media entered and Gregg Popovich (as usual) didn’t appear to approve of the questions he was asked.

You would swear being around those guys they were the ones down 0-2 in the series but that’s how Popovich runs his ship and with the results they’ve had over the years, it’s hard to argue. I still like the scenario where the good guys can win doing things the right way and was thrilled to see Tony Dungy do it in the Super Bowl with Indianapolis a couple of years back (it might also have something to do with me being a Colts fan). But that’s what the Suns-Spurs rivalry reminds me of is Colts-Patriots. One is media friendly and great to be around, the other… not so much. But I can honestly say I’d rather win one championship with integrity and acting like a civilized human being than three or four by conducting myself in a manner everybody in the outside world had a problem with.

That’s just me though, people are free to make their own decisions. I’m deciding now what kind of ice cream I will be grabbing at halftime but that’s still a good amount of time away.