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Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:46 pm
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Posted on: March 11, 2011 10:58 am
 

Steve Nash suffering through pelvic injury

Steve Nash struggling with pelvic injury, may miss Sunday game against Orlando Magic.
Posted by Matt Moore

Steve Nash always plays through pain. He suffers with a back condition that would have put most players on the shelf years ago, but thanks to his rigorous diet and conditioning program he's managed to play through it. Now, though, he's suffering from a pelvic injury that is both painful and restrictive to his play, and which may leave him unavailable for Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic. From the Arizona Republic

The quickest Steve Nash moved all night was out of US Airways Center after the game.

Talking again about playing through pain and taking another whipping from Denver was probably not high on his list as he exited the arena the back way. Nash said he wanted to keep playing through his injury pubic symphysis irritation but Thursday night's effort put him closer to taking Sundays ABC game against Orlando off than he had been entering Thursday night.
via azcentral.com blogs - Coros Orange Slices - PaulCoro - Nash hurts, Gortat blurts.

The Suns are starting to crack a little bit under the strain and Nash missing any significant time could be a death knell for their playoff hopes. In the strictest sense, Nash is their best player and most important. Nash played just 27 minutes against the Nuggets Thursday, taking only four shots. Perhaps worst of all, the injury is restricting his abilities in Dance Revolution. The injury is more than just a normal groin pull and the effect must be considerable for Nash to be discussing missing a pivotal game against a playoff team.

The Suns' goals at this point are a little unclear. Sure, the playoff revenue would be nice, but isn't the long-term health of Nash paramount to obtaining the 8th seed and being swept from the playoff beaches by a superior Spurs squad? Then again, Suns' management from ownership down hasn't exactly made a lot of sense over the past few years. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 7, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Frye out 2-3 weeks from dislocated shoulder

Posted by Royce Young

The streaking Suns were dealt a pretty big blow Sunday against the Thunder as power forward Channing Frye was forced to leave with about six minutes remaining from a dislocated shoulder.

He returned to the bench soon after having it popped back into place, but didn't return to the game.

The team announced Monday that Frye had an MRI that revealed it was indeed a dislocated right shoulder and that he's now expected to miss two-to-three weeks.

Frye has been playing extremely well as of late, pulling in a career-high 15 rebounds against the Thunder before exiting Sunday. Phoenix has won 20 of its last 28, largely due to players like Frye stepping up as well as the new pieces settling in.

Without Frye, the Suns will likely start Hakim Warrick at power forward, but will likely use Marcin Gortat more alongside Robin Lopez. Maybe to replace Frye's outside touch Phoenix will even choose to go small with Jared Dudley at the 4.

Currently, the Suns are just 1.5 games out of eighth in the West but without Frye, maintaining over the next couple weeks will be a challenge.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 4, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 5:03 pm
 

The race for 8 in the West

Posted by Matt Moore

First-round fodder. Opening round patsies. Target practice. These are the kinds of terms used for the low playoff seeds each year. The NBA, more than any other sport, crowns a legitimate champion each year, in large part due to the difficulty of lesser teams to overcome better teams in a seven-game series. As a result, when you have eight teams from each conference to make the playoffs, you're going to have a whole lot of beatdowns. And we'll certainly see the same this year, with the conferences more top-heavy than ever.  So in reality, the 6-7-8 seeds are largely irrelevant in the discussion of basketball that "matters."

But at the same time, making the playoffs is at once a huge reward for some teams and a dangerous development for others. In the realest sense, making the playoffs is a good thing. To put it simply, it means more money. More money for management, more money for ownership, more money for players. It gives the fans the experience of games that "matter" and pride in being in that tier of players. Often times, it's necessary to satisfy a fanbase's need for a team to legitimize itself, to throw the fans a bone. And at the end of the day, it means winning, and that's what sports is about.

But there's a downside. Making the playoffs can create a false sense of progress, convincing teams who are in need of a revamp that they are headed in the right direction. It becomes a crutch financially, forcing teams to make desperation moves to make the playoffs only to be swept out, which gets to be a huge detriment in fans' attitude after a few years, even worse than not making the playoffs.

In the West this year, we have a nice combination of both sides of the coin, and the answers to whether the playoffs are a good or bad thing is unclear. But there's a fascinating group vying for those final seeds as we head down the stretch, like lambs vying for the slaughter.

THE NEAR-LOCKS

Denver Nuggets

Outlook: 37-26.  The Nuggets lost Melo, and have now won three straight. They are sharing the ball, playing with emotion, fighting in tough games, making the plays they need to in order to win, and invigorating the fanbase. But they have yet to face an elite team.  In the next month, they have Orlando, Miami, San Antonio, and Atlanta. So there's going to be some discovery in terms of who the Nuggets are. They're riding a huge wave of emotion following the trade, but there's a question if that's going to hold. They do have a four game advantage over the ninth seeded Suns, but that's not a monstrous gap. With Memphis improving and Portland having acquired an All-Star, the Nuggets could find themselves in a dogfight very quickly if things change. But with Ty Lawson emerging with Aaron Afflalo, Nene holding down the middle and George Karl coaching his rear off, you have to like Denver's chances to at least make the playoffs.

Best-case scenario: They make the playoffs as the fifth seed following a huge fall by the Hornets, and wind up pushing Oklahoma City around due to their relative inexperience. A great playoff run sets them up for the future as a core that plays together, even without a star.

Worst-case scenario: The emotion runs out, the injuries pile up, and the team winds up in the lottery where they only have about seven tradeable assets, extra picks and cap flexibility. So pretty much, Denver's okay no matter what.

Portland TrailBlazers

Outlook: 34-27.  The Blazers just added a former All-Star in Gerald Wallace to make a push for the playoffs. They sloughed off very little salary, so they must make the playoffs. It's imperative for Paul Allen all the way down to the fans. They have to make the playoffs, make some money, and give the fans some hope in a season that's seen massive injuries. Again. They Blazers were at a position to either bail on the current core and rebuild or make a big push for the future. They chose to try and win now.


Ten of the next fourteen games for the Blazers are against current playoff teams. The going gets tough from here on out and the Blazers will be fighting tooth and nail to hang on to their spot.

Best-case scenario: A sixth seed appearance versus the Lakers, leading to a seven-game push to make a statement against the rivals. Blazers fans will tell you that they have a chance against the Mavericks. Blazer fans, as much I love them, are wrong. The Mavs are too good, too deep, and can match up too well with the Blazers.  Besides, wouldn't pushing the Lakers be more satisfying for Blazers fans?

Worst-case scenario: Not making the playoffs is a disaster to the degree that it's nearly inconceivable. If it were to happen, it would be simply horrific for the franchise at all levels. A more likely worst-case scenario is winding up in the 8th spot and getting swept by the Spurs. A first-round sweep would be severely disappointing for how emotional this season has been for the Blazers, especially after bringing in Wallace.

Memphis Grizzlies


Outlook: 34-28. Not a lock, by any means, but Memphis is making a strong push. They're on a roll, offensively and defensively, and this is without Rudy Gay. They've added Shane Battier and Leon Powe since the deadline, giving them much improved depth, and having Jason Williams as an actual viable back-up PG helps tremendously. The Grizzlies finally have a bench, O.J. Mayo actually looks better after his suspension, the team is playing together, and everything looks right for them to make a push. But of the next 14 games for Memphis to finish March, 12 are against current playoff opponents and one is against Utah, the 10th seed. These aren't weak playoff teams, either, with the Hornets, Spurs, Heat, Magic, Celtics, Mavericks, and Bulls among them. If Memphis makes it out of April in the same position they're in now, they'll be a lock. If not, they could plummet.

Best-case scenario: A first-round matchup against the Lakers in a 2 vs. 7 seed battle, with the Lakers still in cruise control, as the Grizzlies manage to win one in L.A. and one in Memphis to force a six-game series. That's a huge step for the franchise rebuilding from the Pau trade. Bringing the Lakers in for the playoff games is great for revenue, but terrible for home support as half the crowd would be bandwagon Lakers fans. Any other matchup simply wouldn't draw as well for the team, which says a lot about the fanbase itself.

Worst-case scenario: Missing the playoffs isn't a huge deal versus getting swept. Even without their 2011 first-rounder, the Grizzlies have a solid core for the future and some options for what they want to do. But making the first round of the playoffs as an eight seed, drawing San Antonio, and getting swept in a poor draw matchup to keep revenue low and the franchise without a playoff win? That's the worst of all worlds.

THE LONGER SHOTS

Phoenix Suns


Outlook: How are they still here? They lost Jason Richardson, gained Vince Carter, have very little to rely on and are still hanging around at 31-28, just a game and a half back of the Grizzlies. Phoenix just doesn't know when to quit and with this group of veterans, they could be dangerous down the stretch. If you want to bet against Steve Nash, you go right ahead. I'll be over here. The Suns' schedule isn't tremendously difficult to go from here on out, but with their style, that's not necessarily a good thing. The Suns are 7-8 against "average" teams in the league, so there's no way of knowing how they'll do night to night.

Best-case scenario: Missing the playoffs. Missing the playoffs might prompt a full blow-up from management which would benefit the Suns long-term and push them away from NBA purgatory, constantly floating around the eighth seed. A full revamp with Alvin Gentry at the helm may lead to some progress and some moevement towards another shot at contention down the line. But given Robert Sarver's history, he wants that playoff dough.

Worst-case scenario: Making the eighth seed and getting blown out of the water by the Spurs. After the cathartic release for the fans last year in beating the Spurs, losing to San Antonio again would crush them. So there's that. A four game sweep by any of the top seeds would be extremely likely and extremely disappointing.

Utah Jazz


Outlook: 32-30. Watch out for flying wheels. The Jazz can't contend with the juggernauts, and are even bleeding against mediocre teams. The Jazz knew they'd be rebuilding after Deron Williams, but their playoff odds are spiraling out. The future's bright, but things don't look great for the Jazz making the playoffs at this point. The good news is the Jazz have a weaker schedule than most of their competitors.

Best-case scenario: A solid run as the team starts to gel, makes the playoffs and manages to avoid playing the Lakers. Even getting swept by San Antonio would be preferable to losing to L.A. at this point. Making the playoffs puts faith back in the franchise and gets the team more money.

Worst-case scenario: Missing the playoffs after the promise of this season would be devastating. Getting blasted out of the first round by L.A. would be similarly upsetting, even though the revenue would be nice. But missing the playoffs seems like a very real possibility at this point.

Honorable Mention: The Rockets could make a run. They've started defending better and moving Aaron Brooks has helped them in serious ways.  But they're four games back, and that's a steep hill to climb for a team without a true star, with a defense that's still sub-par. They have to be considered the longest shot, and not just for current position.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 6:28 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Suns look to future with Brooks

Posted by Royce Young

Any other deadline day, Aaron Brooks going to Phoenix would feel like really big news. But in week where roughly 10 percent of the league was traded, included something like eight All-Stars, it sort of got overlooked.

The Rockets have been talking about moving Brooks for some time as he's kind of soured in Houston. They're fine with handing the team to Kyle Lowry and heck, maybe even Dragic now who is a pretty good point guard. They also get a nice first-round pick from Phoenix, which is always an added bonus.

Houston was itching to make some kind of deal the entire deadline. For whatever reason, Daryl Morey wanted to move some pieces around. The Rockets kept trying to say they weren't moving Brooks, but the closer things got, the more obvious it was getting. Houston wasn't committing to him long-term, he was souring in his role with the team and wasn't getting along with Rick Adelman.

Strike one, two and three.

The Suns on the other hand, get last season's Most Improved winner and a decent heir to Steve Nash's throne. Of course Brooks is a restricted free agent so something will have to be settled there, but Phoenix likely didn't make this deal just to let Brooks walk. At some point they will need a new point guard and Brooks looks to be their man.


Again, the key is figuring out how Brooks fits in long-term. If Phoenix isn't willing to pay him, then all they ended up with was two months of backup duty and a small improvement over Dragic at that position.

So it's clear the the Suns will do everything necessary to keep him. He should fit well into the up-and-down system Alvin Gentry runs and as a scoring point guard, will likely enjoy his role. He's got to get back to the player he was in 2009-10 though. He has to find the confidence and playmaking ability that won him the Most Improved trophy.

The Rockets didn't get any worse with the trade, but definitely didn't improve. The pick is the nice part for them. Phoenix on the other hand may have gotten a steal, but that's only if they can find the old Aaron Brooks.
Posted on: February 14, 2011 1:47 pm
 

Nash hasn't spoken to his agent about comments

Posted by Royce Young

There's been more and more talk about what could potentially happen with Steve Nash in the future with Phoenix. His contract is up in 2012 but at 37 years old, Nash may feel like time is running out.

There was word last week that Nash's agent Bill Duffy said the point guard was on the block this summer.

Duffy's quote was, "[L]ogic dictates that it would be prudent for the Suns to start looking at their long-term future in the summer, so we would expect that they may entertain moving him during the summer. We are ready for that and we anticipate a very respectful process if they decide to look at starting over with a younger core."

To me, that sounds like a nice setup for a clean exit plan. However, Nash himself told the Arizona Republic that those comments may have come out of context. And that he hasn't even talked to Duffy about it.

"Sometimes, what's said is in the context of something else," Nash said. "I haven't spoken to him about it. I expect to be here (in Phoenix). I'm happy here. I expect to be here even next year."

Nash is one of the league's most stand up good guys. When he says he expects to be in Phoenix, he means it. He's enjoyed his time there and wants to build a winner with the Suns. But he's not going to be thrilled with being part of a rebuilding project either. Again, he doesn't have a ton of time left. And maybe that's what Duffy was driving at.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 13, 2011 10:18 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 11:52 pm
 

Photos: Phoenix Suns host Star Wars Night

Photos from the Phoenix Suns' "Star Wars Night" on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

On Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns hosted the Sacramento Kings but, more importantly, also staged their second annual Star Wars night, humorously titled "Star Wars: The Clone Wars Night Episode 2." Whatever. The timing was perfect, as Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins crossed over to the dark side on Saturday night and was left inactive for the game.

Star Wars Bight featured all sorts of themed prizes, t-shirts, and photo opportunities for fans, but the centerpiece for the night's festivities was a bunch of Star Wars dorks dressing up in costume for the rest of us internet dorks to laugh at. Let's take a look at some of the pictures from the evening, which include shots taken on the court, in the dressing room prior to the game and during the team's television broadcast.

phoenix-suns-star-wars-1

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

phoenix-suns-star-wars-10

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
phoenix-suns-star-wars-2

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

phoenix-suns-star-wars-3


Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

phoenix-suns-star-wars-4

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

phoenix-suns-star-wars-5

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
phoenix-suns-star-wars-7

Via: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
phoenix-suns-star-wars-6


Via @kray1 on Twitter

The event is the brainchild of the Suns' webmaster, Jeramie McPeek. In the days leading up to Star Wars Night, McPeek posted the following shots on Twitpic.

phoenix-suns-star-wars-8


phoenix-suns-star-wars-9

Category: NBA
Posted on: February 13, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 6:08 pm
 

Kings list Cousins as inactive, no suspension yet

The Sacramento Kings have listed DeMarcus Cousins as inactive and have not yet decided whether to suspend him following an altercation with a demarcus-cousins-kingsteammate on Saturday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.

This is exactly what scouts and analysts mean when they say a player is a "red flag" during the pre-draft process.

On Saturday night, we noted reports that Sacramento Kings rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins got into an altercation with teammate Donte Greene following the team's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cousins was reportedly upset that he didn't receive the ball on the Kings' final possession and exchanged swings with Greene, who had inbounded the ball to Kings guard Tyreke Evans instead of Cousins.

On Sunday, the Kings released a statement that said Cousins would "not play in tonight's game at Phoenix while the organization reviews the situation that occurred in the locker room following last night's game versus Oklahoma City."

Earlier reports noted that Cousins had been suspended, but Yahoo! Sports reported on Sunday that the Kings have simply listed Cousins as "inactive" for Sunday night's game against the Suns in Phoenix and that any further disciplinary action - including a potential suspension - will not be released until Monday. 

The Kings own the worst record in the Western Conference at 12-38, so Cousins' frustration with all the losing is understandable, to a degree. He's a competitive, fiery spirit that wants to help his team win and has faith in his own considerable talent. But SacTown Royalty brilliantly laid out the biggest problem with this situation: Cousins wasn't even open on the play in question. 

In other words, this was a baseless public tantrum from an immature rookie, one that showed up a veteran teammate (Greene). To make matters worse, Cousins' actions also went against his coach, Paul Westphal, and his team's best player, Evans. Cousins' job in this situation is to flash to the ball and then go rebound if he doesn't receive the pass. It isn't his responsibility to draw up plays, second-guess the plays that are drawn up, or question his teammate's late-game abilities, especially in a manner that is public and/or inflammatory. This is NBA 101 stuff.

The Kings have done the right thing by placing Cousins in timeout as they gather the facts. This incident has the potential to be a crossroads for Cousins, who has a long way to go if he is to become the consistent, reliable player and person that coaches look for when they divvy up late-game touches. Right now, he's just a mess.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com