Thank You John Paxson?

Time flys by when you’re having fun, or attending a large amount of therapy. Twenty years ago on June 20, 1993 I stopped having a lot of the former and began the latter.

That’s because on that night at the America West Arena (now known as the US Airways Center) the Bulls’ John Paxson hit a 3-pointer to end the 1993 NBA Finals . It also ended the Suns’ best chance at winning a title, at least in my opinion. It’s a moment that I remember frame by frame to this day, although my brain has injected Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence” blaring on the arena PA system. The song’s refrain kicks in just as Mark West looks up to see the dagger fall through the net. Other than that, it is a completely untainted memory even two decades later. That’s because, at just nine years old, it was my first experience with true heartbreak. [Read more...]

Suns One on One: Jeff Hornacek

Suns One On One host Greg Esposito sat down for the first indepth interview with new Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. The two satdown at the new coach’s Phoenix home to discuss his time as a Sun, his formative years in basketball, what kind of coach fans can expect him to be. Find out that and much more in this edition.

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Don’t forget you can find a new episode of the show here every week, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes and listen in the official Suns App. Also get in touch with the show by tweeting your host @Espo.

Suns One On One: Al McCoy

Suns One On One host Greg Esposito sat down for an extensive and in depth interview with legendary Suns broadcaster Al McCoy. center The two discussed Al’s illustrious career from his time as a boy in Iowa to the 1993 finals and to the current team. Hear all that and much more in this super sized episode of Suns One on One.

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Don’t forget you can find a new episode of the show here every week, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes and listen in the official Suns App. Also get in touch with the show by email here.

SUNS KNOW HAWKS WILL LOOK TO SOAR


For the second-straight contest, the Phoenix Suns will be looking to ground a team with payback on their minds. After the Rockets came out firing against them on Wednesday night, the Suns are expecting a similar attack from the Hawks on Friday.

After finishing the month of February with four-straight wins, the Suns managed to snap Atlanta’s streak with a 92-87 victory at US Airways Center. The Hawks then proceeded to lose five of their next six outings, and could now be without the services of their star swingman Josh Smith.

“It doesn’t matter who they have,” Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter explained. “We have to go in playing with the mentality that they’re at full strength.”

“They’re a good team and their record shows that,” Suns guard Goran Dragic said. “When a guy like Josh Smith is out, other guys step up, and they’ve got lots of guys who can do that.”

While the Hawks may not necessarily be playing for their playoff lives like the Rockets were on Wednesday, they are fighting for position. The ballclub currently finds itself seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but are still within striking distance of home court advantage in the first round.

As far as whether or not the Hawks remember that March 1 loss to the Suns specifically, the playmaker said he knows from experienced that will most likely be the case.

“I can say from being on playoff teams in the past that when you lose against a bad team, players and coaches get mad,” Dragic said. “And coaches will emphasize, ‘Remember what happened the last time’ which is why he have to be focused. They’re going to be looking to put us away right from the start and we have to fight and make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“When a team has a record like ours and we beat you, opponents do kind of say, ‘Wow, you’re not supposed to beat us,’” Hunter explained. “But we’re going to keep fighting, I’m going to keep pushing our guys as well as myself every day.”

CENTER OF ATTENTION

Having played the last 13 seasons in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, there aren’t many big men more qualified to dissect Al Horford’s game than Jermaine O’Neil. On Thursday, Suns.com asked the former Eastern Conference All-Star to break down what it is that makes the Hawks star one of the more unique centers in the league.

“I think where he’s excelled is in his ability to pick and pop,” the Suns center explained. “Most centers aren’t used to guarding pick-and-pop players, but Horford does a really good job of both hitting jumpshots and finding ways to get to the basket. I think that’s where he’s able to take advantage of a lot of mismatches.”

Lindsey Hunter agreed with O’Neil’s assessment, and said he considers the Hawks big man to be a little old school in terms of his play.

“Al is a throwback player,” Hunter told Suns.com. “Nothing fancy but still gets the job done. He works extremely hard and that’s helped him to expand his game over the past few years.”

Horford’s hard work has been especially paying off as of late, and when he takes the floor against the Suns on Friday will be coming off of a 14-point, 14-assist performance against the Lakers.

NICE GUYS DON’T HAVE TO FINISH LAST

On Thursday, Lindsey Hunter was asked whether it’s possible for swingman Wes Johnson to develop a killer instinct as a scorer despite being such a nice guy. Hunter said he not only thought it was possible, but also compared him to a former teammate with whom he played in Detroit.

“I’ve seen several guys with the same demeanor who turn out to be phenomenal scorers in this league,” Hunter said. “Just look at Allan Houston. A guy like that could light you up, and that’s what we’re trying to get (Wes) to become.”

Is There Ever “Just Another Game”?

As sports fans, we tend to be a fickle bunch. For example, if given the option of watching your NBA team win in a blowout or on a last-second jumper, can you say with confidence which you’d prefer? The former option means rest for the starters, but the latter option means a lot more excitement. And while a back-and-forth contest might capture your intrigue a lot more than a lopsided victory, it might not be the best thing for your heart. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Being in Houston, I’m finding another dilemma that sports fans often find themselves matched up against. When speaking with athletes who are about to face their former team, do we want to hear the cliché “it’s just another game” answer, or do we want something more? Logically, we should hope that players feel that every game is as important as humanly possible, but following sports isn’t always logical. In fact, it sometimes involves face paint. [Read more...]

Suns One On One: Gortat on His Foot Injury

Suns One On One host Greg Esposito talked with Suns center Marcin Gortat outside the Suns locker room Monday. The two talk about his right foot injury, the challenges of being almost seven feet tall and walking on crutches, his orange and purple cast and what the injury means. Hear all that and much more on this episode.

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Don’t forget you can find a new episode of the show here every week, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes and listen in the official Suns App. Also get in touch with the show by email here.

Court Report: Suns Vs. Nuggets

Time: The Suns host the Nuggets on Monday at 7 p.m. at US Airways Center.
Records: Suns 22-41 (fourth in the Pacific Division) vs. Denver 42-22 (second in the Northwest Division) [Read more...]

Q&A With Assistant Coach Dan Panaggio

Assistant coach Dan Panaggio joined the Phoenix Suns’ coaching staff when Lindsey Hunter took over as head coach during the midpoint of the season. Panaggio, who grew up in upstate New York, has enjoyed a variety of roles during his lengthy career in basketball. Not only was he Coach of the Year in the CBA, but he also coached in college and acted as an NBA scout. Most recently, he was the head coach of the Shanghai Sharks in China, a team which is owned by former NBA All-Star Yao Ming. [Read more...]

Court Report: Suns Vs. Raptors

Time: The Suns host the Raptors on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at US Airways Center.
Records: Suns 21-39 (fourth in the Pacific Division) vs. Toronto 23-38 (fifth in the Atlantic Division)
Matchups:
PG: Goran Dragic (14.2 points and 6.9 assists) vs. Kyle Lowry (12.7 points and 6.0 assists)
SG: P.J. Tucker (5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds) vs. DeMar DeRozan (17.7 points and 4.1 rebounds)
SF: Jared Dudley (11.1 points and 3.4 rebounds) vs. Rudy Gay (18.1 points and 6.1 rebounds)
PF: Luis Scola (12.7 points and 6.2 rebounds) vs. Andrea Bargnani (13.1 points and 3.7 rebounds)
C: Marcin Gortat: (11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (6.7 points and 5.6 rebounds) [Read more...]

Court Report: Jermaine O’Neal Takes Leave

Court Report

The Suns are currently riding a season-high-tying three-game winning streak as they face the visiting Raptors on Wednesday. With four days between games, the Suns had a nice little respite before resuming the final 22 contests of the regular season. Check out what was uncovered after practice Tuesday.

O’Neal Absent

In order to catch a flight to Boston to visit his daughter, Suns center Jermaine O’Neal left practice early Tuesday. His 13-year-old daughter, Asjia, will undergo surgery to repair a leaky heart valve Wednesday. [Read more...]