The following is a running diary of what it’s like to be on the road with the Phoenix Suns and an inside look at how the team interacts on the road.
4:10 p.m.: Just got on the first team bus to Oracle Arena. In pure Steve Albert fashion, jokes his tie is hairy. Steve is the resident stand up comedian on the team bus. Says he has a great joke to tell EJ 30 seconds before going on air to make him lose composure. He wouldn’t tell me what the joke or the subject matter would be.
4:19 p.m.: While stuck in traffic pictures of snow in Scottsdale start coming through on Twitter. The photo gets assistant coach Ralph Sampson to laugh before asking “it’s not going to be like that tomorrow is it?” I assure him it’s suppose to be nice again in Phoenix. Disaster averted.
4:36 p.m.: After the talk about the weather passes, attention shifts to NBA trade rumors. The entire bus, including players, are discussing the latest tweets. A very surreal and odd situation to talk trade deadline on bus with players who could be involved in a deal sitting just feet away.
4:45 p.m.: The Marcus Morris trade rumor emerges. No word on what the deal will be or where he’ll go.
4;56 p.m.: As Ron Burgandy would say “boy, that escalated quickly” Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports Marcus is a Sun. No confirmation from the front office or the league so for team officials, nothing is official.
5:01 p.m. Michael Beasley exits the bus singing. Let’s just say that none of the judges from the Voice would be turning their chairs around for this performance.
5:33 p.m.: Markieff Morris tweets “can’t explain this feeling!!!” No word if he heard something or just was uncomfortable being in Oakland
6:15 p.m.: When asking Coach Hunter about the key to carrying over momentum from Tuesday night’s win in Portland, he jokingly said “I don’t know. Do you have any ideas?” For the first time in my life I don’t have a snappy comeback and simply say “no.” Which is why I write and don’t coach for a living.
6:30 p.m.: Media meal or as I like to refer to it, flash back to the middle school cafeteria. Everyone waits in line with a tray for food and then sits among their “cliques” talking about the latest news and rumors. Like high school, I sit alone.
7:30 p.m.: Opposing coaches Lindsey Hunter and Marc Jackson share a hug. When they were opposing point guards one of them would have been called for a foul for such a move.
7:37 p.m.: Suns introduced to the Imperial Death March. Only question is which Sun gets to be Darth Vadar? My money is on Marcin. Although he isn’t Luke Zeller’s father.
7:40 p.m.: Gametime.
9:33 in 1st quarter: Dragic hits a three. More impressively the in arena announcer pronounces his name with a perfect Slovenian accent. Color me surprised. On second thought, don’t color me anything. I’m not into that sort of thing.
6:10 in 1st quarter: In arena entertainment just did the Harlem Shake. Let’s just say Oakland’s moves are about as good as their football team.
5:20 in 1st quarter: Klay Thompson is 4-for-4 on his bobblehead night. The bobblehead designers are 0-for-1 on accuracy. Warriors lead 18-12. (INSERT BOBBLEHEAD PHOTO)
3:59 in 1st quarter: Andre Biedrins checks in for Golden State. Although, with his hairdo, he looks more like an extra on Mad Men than an NBA player.
End of 1st quarter: Suns trail 33-26. Goran Dragic may leave his heart in San Francisco tonight but he didn’t leave his skills in Portland Tuesday evening. For second straight night he had big opening quarter (10 Pts, 5 asts)
9:35 in 2nd quarter: The Suns training staff has a propensity for revitalizing the careers of guys named O’Neal. Jermaine with 8 points and 4 rebounds off bench. Suns trail by nine 37-28
7:22 in 2nd quarter: Refer to previous statement. O’Neal, in honor of being near Facebooks headquarters, just blocked a shot faster than an attractive single female blocks a stalker on social media.
5:17 in 2nd quarter: Warriors have more threes in the game so far (5-for-10) than a number line. Suns hanging around though only down nine.
4:01 in 2nd quarter: Coach Hunter said a bench guy would have to impress to earn minutes. Looks like Wes Johnson has done that. He’s in game with starters Gortat, Scola, Dragic and Dudley. Suns trail 49-39.
1:16 in 2nd quarter: Luis Scola is like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat who is land bound. Pulls off a beautiful up and under layup without ever leaving the floor. Suns trail. 55-48
Halftime: Suns hanging around thanks to their 3-point shooting. They hit 71 percent (5-for-7) in the half. Both teams combined for 10 first half threes.
Noticed I have six Suns fans sitting in front of me at Oracle Arena. I feel like a proud father. Don’t worry though, I didn’t shed a tear.
7:22 in 3rd quarter: Snow may have fallen from the sky in Phoenix but its raining threes here in Oakland. Suns are 8-of-10. Cut Warriors lead to 66-63.
6:14 in 3rd quarter: Mr. Three, Jared Dudley getting it done in the 3rd. He is hitting threes and has 8 points in quarter so far. Suns down just one, 68-67.
1:14 in 3rd quarter: Watching Jermaine O’Neal play makes me wonder if they have regenokine treatment like he had on his knee for the creative areas of the brain. It’d be worth a trip to Germany for that. Suns trail 83-76 but O’Neal has 13 points and 5 rebounds
End of 3rd quarter: After getting within one, Suns trail 85-76. Coach Hunter reiterated for the second day that it’s not how team starts but how they finish that’s important. True test here.
9:59 in the 4th quarter: You can call off the search, we have a Michael Beasley sighting. He makes his first basket of the game but it’s a big one a 3-pointer to cut lead to 85-82.
6:39 in 4th quarter: Jarrett Jack hits a corner three to extend the Warrior lead to 94-84 and prompting the Oracle Arena crowd to explode. They’re so loud the California Department of Traffic could use them to test freeway noise barriers.
6:25 in 4th quarter: Suns have finally made as many free throws (nine) as 3-pointers. 94-86 Warriors.
3:23 in 4th quarter: I don’t like Curry. The player or the spice. Steph has scored five straight points after Suns went on 6-0 run to cut the lead to four. Warriors lead 99-90.
1:23 in 4th quarter: Warriors in the midst of a 10-2 run. This is how Coach Hunter envisions his club ending games. It’s a work in progress.
1:01 in 4th quarter: Dragic now has 20 points and 10 assists. Only 4th time he’s had 20 and 10 and only second time in his career he’s had back-to-back games with double-digit assist games.
End of game: Warriors win 108-98.
Midnight: Team has boarded the team charter in a somber but upbeat mood. As they get some fruit and begin to settle in discussion shifts from the game to other scores around the league and the highlights. Proving, just because they’re players doesn’t mean they can’t be fans as well.
2 a.m: Plane lands and players gather their bags as a long day is in the books.