Monday, December 11, 2006

Leather Ball Back!

Its taken a while coming, but the NBA has decided to revert to the old leather ball -- the one that has been used in past seasons. For reasons that were not explained, the NBA brought in a new composite ball this season. The new ball has been reviled for having unpredictable bounce and acting weird overall. Sorry, that was the best way to put it. Sometimes it doesn't bounce hard off the rim, flops into the basket, makes paper cuts on players' palms and is either too slippery or too sticky.

Steve Nash, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Kidd are some of the bigger stars who've expresses their displeasure with the ball. The player's union decided to take legal action against the league last week , on two counts -- the new 'zero tolerance' policy and the composite ball.

Stern had to say this, about reverting to the old ball.
“Our players' response to this particular composite ball has been consistently negative and we are acting accordingly. Although testing performed by Spalding and the NBA demonstrated that the new composite basketball was more consistent than leather, and statistically there has been an improvement in shooting, scoring, and ball-related turnovers, the most important statistic is the view of our players.”

Boy, the man flat out can't admit he was wrong !

I really wonder why they've decided to switch to the old ball now, in the middle of the season. After all, the players have now got used to the new one's random behavior. Even the three point shooting has been getting better and from what I recall, the league shooting average is a few percentage points above last year's. Oh well, the players adjusted to the composite ball within a month, so they should be comfortable with the leather ball by Jan end. I hope.

I guess Stern did not want the 2007 Finals to be decided by some weird bounces. What would the refs do then?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nash at the barber shop

I saw this funny page on azcentral's website that you guys should check out. You get to pick from a list of different hairstyles varying from the 'fro to punk and the web-barber will immediately do that on a Nash caricature.
(the Mr.Clean style makes him look like a total skinhead).

Here's the link.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Obscure facts/news

Couldn't think of a better title for this post. Couldn't think of a better way to integrate this in another post. But here goes:

-Caron Butler was Mr.Basketball in the state of Wisconsin in 1998 in high school. Who was No.2 in the voting? Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo!
Wait till Michael Irvin hears this and justifies his claim that Romo has some black ancestry.

-I had the WAS-PHI game running on ESPN when the talking heads continued yapping about the Allen Iverson issue (he's asked to be traded, if you live on the moon). The camera then moved to Jim Gray. He reported with a very straight face that earlier in the game he had discussed the details of a telephone conversation he had with AI. Apparently the person he spoke to on the phone was an AI impersonator! Some random dude had spoken to him and given him random shit that poor Gray scooped up with glee. He confessed to having been punk'd and finished with the line "I had been duped. I'm sorry". Bravo ESPN! Bravo! But why not laugh at yourselves for a fiasco like this, instead of trying to keep a straight face about the whole issue?

Classic PG duel at Meadowlands

I was lucky enough to watch the Suns-Nets game because it was on YES network here in NJ. I cannot do justice to the game if I try to do my own report on it (my way of shying away from work). So I'll direct you to a nice game report by Lang Whitaker at SLAM.

The highlights:
When the dust settled, the numbers were amazing:
• Phoenix 161, New Jersey 157
• Kidd finished with 38 points, 14 rebounds (all defensive rebounds) and 14 assists
• Nash had a career-high 42 points and 13 assists
• Shawn Marion played 49 minutes and scored 33 points
• Vince Carter had 31 points and 9 assists
• Boris Diaw had 16 points and 14 assists
• There were 34 lead changes
• The Suns hit 17 of 31 from three, and the Nets went 10 for 21

Box Score

Diaw hit both free throws, and the Suns fouled the Nets right away. Kidd hit both free throws to make it a three point game, and the Suns called their last timeout with 4.1 left. They came back to halfcourt, and after what seemed like 4.99999 seconds, Diaw threw it in to Nash, who came off a Kurt Thomas pick and drained a clutch three from the top of the key. Suns assistant Alvin Gentry hopped off the bench and screamed, “Yes sir motherf*ckers!”

And yeah, check the highlights out on Pay attention to Vince's walk (around the 30 sec mark in the video) to the basket in the end of regulation time. OK.OK. Kurt Thomas' screen for Nash's game winning 3 ptr was not clean either...but what's more egregious -- a moving screen or a travel?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Vick's finger

Hey guys,

I've been looking for Michael Vick's bird flick to the fans who booed him. I chanced upon the video now when I was looking at something else.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Stat Line of the Week

I've been out of the blogosphere in the past week. My fantasy team franchise players went AWOL as well. Emeka was busy hosting a slumber party all this week. I traded away Sean May and DeShawn Stevenson for Chris Kaman last week, so May decided to spite me with a monster game two days back with this line : 21/17/3/5 (p/r/a/b)

Chris Paul though came up big..BIGGG tonight with a triple double! Check this ugly bloody line:
25/11/18/5 (p/r/a/s)
Thats a total of 105 fantasy points.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Will Marion Guard Kidd?

If you guys have been following the past few games, you must have noticed that Marion has been asked to guard the opposing PGs, for short periods, if not all the time -- Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Allen Iverson.

That probably has made him less effective at the boards -- its not like he gets in rebounding positions in any case, he just pounces on the ball from wherever he is. Marion has traditionally been made to guard bigger guys (Odom, Dirk), usually PFs, on the opposing team and he's made it clear all along that he doesn't relish the role. Wonder what he thinks of this new role that probably affects his rebound numbers..But on the bright side, guarding the opposing PGs will make it easier for him to get to the other end on the break.

So far, the strategy has worked in two out of three cases. Let's see if the coach tries it today.

The Eastern Conference stinks

I read this very well written piece by John Hollinger on the disparity between the quality of teams in the East and the West. He illustrates how bad the Eastern Conference stinks with numbers and other general trends in teams in the East.

The highlights:

The West has also won six of the eight championships in that time (since Jordan retired in 1998), and one could make a case it would be eight of eight if not for the fact that the East automatically gets one team into the Finals regardless of how bad it is.

Through Wednesday's games, there had been 64 interconference battles, and the Eastern side managed a win in just 18 of them — a piddling .281 winning percentage.

At the moment, only three teams in the East have a winning record.

...for one good example take a look at the "predictor" rankings used by USA Today computer guru Jeff Sagarin. In those, 10 of the top 11 teams are from the Western Conference, while nine of the bottom are from the East.
If that holds up for the entire season, two teams from the West will end up in the lottery despite being better than all but one team in the East. And three teams from the East will make the playoffs despite being worse than all but one team in the West.

there's a recurring numbers theme — namely, the Eastern teams have a strange inability to put talented players around their superstars. James, Wade, Johnson,Gilbert Arenas, Allen Iverson, and the Nets' "Big Three" all suffer from a glaring lack of competent help at the end of the starting lineup or off the bench.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to download embedded videos

I'd mentioned in a previous post that there was a chance that Stern and his cyborg minions could start clamping down on internet videos of the NBA. So here's a small writeup on how you can download videos from websites.

I'm a big fan of Firefox and the endless list of add ons available for it. I use an extension called Download Embedded and its super easy to use. It adds a right-click context menu entry to download all embedded files on a webpage. Its great for grabbing embedded flash animations, movies, music, etc..
Download Embedded

Web site Keepvid has a very simple way of downloading videos from 40 different web sites like google, youtube, etc. Its pretty straightforward. Check this link out for more:

I've also heard good things about this web site called Javimoya.

Suns-Hornets 92-83

Current record : 5-6
Box score
Highlights video

Last night's home win against the Hornets wasn't the most beautiful one the Suns have pulled off. We fan boys are never content. The Suns have now won four in a row and the past two teams they faced, came in with records of 7-3 and 8-3. Yet, many of us are complaining that the wins haven't been 'impressive'. For lack of a better name and poor imagination, I'll call it championship-hope-itis.

The win against the Hornets was orchestrated by playing good D - the Suns' biggest malady so far. I did not watch the game and its hard to believe, but hey, that's what every report is saying. Kurt Thomas must be the happiest with this win. After all, it was won playing hard-nosed D with ordinary offense, which is what his game is all about. Like I've said before, I'll take an ugly win any day.

The Suns out-rebounded the Hornets 41-40 but had poor O-rebounding. Tyson Chandler alone had more offensive boards than the entire Suns team. That, along with 20 turnovers probably explains the the low FG attempts. We took a paltry 70 shots compared to 85 by the Hornets. Thankfully, the good D helped us get some nice stops and keep their shooting percentage down to 40% (we shot 47%).

Raja Bell seems to be coming out of his shell, scoring 18 and 22 in his past two outings. Thats one of the biggest positives for the Suns. They really need good three point shooting to spread the floor and do their thing. Though it was an ordinary offensive night out for the Suns, they continued their hot shooting from downtown. They sank 10-22 (45%) last night and 13-29 (44.8%) against Golden State.

It was nice to see Boris Diaw take some time off from his croissant-eating binge to play some ball. He did alright -- not great. He shot 8-10, including one from three-point land. He also had 4 asts and 6 rbs. He made a sweet behind-the-back pass from the high post to Raja Bell who was at the left baseline. You've got to check it out.
The only blemish was his eight turnovers. Can't blame him -- its hard to concentrate on basketball when there are better things to do, like eating croissant.
OK. OK. I like Boris a lot -- mainly for his unselfishness and overall demeanor. But dude really needs to get back in shape, and he looks to be on the right path now.

Once more, Amare did not get to play the closing minutes of the game. In D'Antoni's (yeah, he won back his right to carry a D in his name with last night's showing) defense, Amare had a very ordinary showing, scoring nada in the game in 21 minutes. I'm sure Amare was just exhausted from the last few games. He'll turn it around against the Nets.

James Jones laid a monstrously big egg yesterday, after winning back the coach's confidence when he hit a few treys against GSW. That kid is a big head-case and really needs to string a few games together to feel good about himself.

The Nets and Trailblazers are up next. Hope we get the wins to get past the .500 mark.

Jerry Colangelo shows interest in buying Cubs

According to an AP story on ESPN, ex-Suns owner Jerry Colangelo has expressed interest in buying the Chicago Cubs if it does go up for sale.
Said JC:
If in fact the Cubs become available, and that's a big 'if,'
I've stated that I would have great interest. I'm just trying to keep my options open at this point, that's all.

Jerry Colangelo is currently the Chairman of the Phoenix Suns and his term with the team ends this year. He previously owned the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks at different points in time. SI had interviewed JC a few weeks back and I had covered some of the questions that would be of interest to Suns fans. Here's an excerpt from that post that relates to news of JC buying a new franchise:

• On his next move after relinquishing control of the Suns:
I've kept my eye and ear open to what's going on in basketball and baseball in other cities and franchises.
At this stage I'm just listening.

Good luck Jerry!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Suns vs. Hornets

I'm not watching the Suns-Hornets game but hear that in spite of the lead, the Suns look ordinary out there. They have answered every mini run by the Hornets to keep the 10 point lead in the second half.

The score is now 80-68 Suns with 5:25 to go in the last period.

My prediction for the game on a message board I frequent was 108-100 Suns, with Barbosa being the leading Suns scorer. But Barbosa is out of this game with a sprained left ankle.

Best NBA Blocks

The Nate Robinson block on Yao Ming the other day has been the talk of the NBA the past few days, and deservedly so. I thought I'd post a ootube video of the best NBA blocks. So here you go..

Here's a video of the Tayshaun-Miller block:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Suns-Warriors 113-110

Steve Nash shook off back spasms that forced him to sit out the last two games, to will the Suns to a victory over the super-hot Warriors. Nash had 7 assists in the first nine minutes of the first quarter, as he led the team to a 31-27 lead. The rest of the team responded by showing him how much they need him when they failed to score for the next six minutes Nash was on the bench. The Warriors (who were without their best player Baron Davis) had a 43-31 lead when Nash took the floor to finish the half. The first half ended with the Suns trailing 52-57. Nash already had a double double.

The Suns players were feeling it this night, as they did a good job of sinking open jumper after open jumper. Monta Ellis was huge for the Warriors, wreaking havoc with his jumpers and repeated forays to the hoop. He had 15 first half points. If he continues to get this kind of playing time, he could be one of the front runners for the 'Most Improved Player' award.

Phoenix erased the lead with a crisp third quarter where they outscored the opponents 37-27. In true Suns style, they let the Warriors back in, early in the fourth quarter and the game was a tightrope walk from here on. Raja Bell's jumper started falling in the fourth quarter and he scored 17 points in the period. Barbosa, who's missed crunch time layups in almost all of the last few games bricked both his free throws at the 1:30 mark in the final quarter, when the Suns were ahead 108-107.

There were a rash of lane violations in the last period and the Suns were fortunate to benefit from one such call against the Warriors in the dying moments of the game. With the score tied at 110 each and just four seconds left, Steve Nash buried a 3 point shot to clinch the game for the Suns.

Sure, I'll take an ugly win over a beautiful loss (which is all the Suns have been doing so far) any day. But the Suns have a lot of issues to sort out before they can stretch out and enjoy this win.

The most important lessons:
(1)We need to play some respectable defense. We've lost way too many double digit leads late in games. Your jumpers are not going to fall all the time and when that happens to all players on the team at once, we need to shore up the defense to keep the lead.
(2)Give Amare the ball : our biggest malady so far, has been the inability to close out games. translation - horrible clutch shooting. Amare's one guy in this team who can score every time he gets the ball. Surprisingly, we haven't run the pick and roll with him and Nash, as often as one would've hoped. Further there seems to be an unwillingness on the part of teammates to defer to Amare.
But yeah, Amare is just working his way back into the team and needs to earn his teammates' trust in game situations. I believe this is an issue that will get ironed out over the course of the season.
(3)Give Marion electric shocks every time he launches a jumper. He's been chucking an outrageous six 3 point shots a game so far. That's an insane amount for someone who has a jumper uglier than Sam Cassell.

The string of horribly officiated games for the Suns continued. Against Jazz, Barbosa got called for a phantom 3 pt foul on Okur the other day, while no foul was called when he got hacked on his drive to attempt a potential game winning layup. The Suns got the short end of the stick once more, this time against the Warriors.

Last point to remember : we pulled off the win against a Warriors team that did not have their leader Baron Davis, who has been playing out of his mind so far this season. Take this win as an OK one. Not as big turning point in the season. Not yet.

Suns are now 4-6 and occupy the basement of the Pacific Division.

Some kind of Monster

I've mentioned in a previous post that Emeka Okafor is on my team in a 30 team fantasy league. He's been an absolute beast on the defensive end so far, and had yet another wild night out. This time it was against the Mavericks.

This was his line for the night: 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 8 Blk

read, analyze, appreciate.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The pandering goes on..

With the Suns struggling to get their heads out their asses, we take pleasure in the prettier things the NBA has to offer.

Nate Robinson blocks Yao Ming!

As wild and far-fetched as that title sounds, its true. I was watching the Knicks-Rockets game now as Nate -- probably the second shortest guy in the league -- went airborne to block Yao's shot! As Yao raised the ball to make the shot at the low post, lil' Nate leapfrogged to stop the release while whacking Yao in the eye as he completed the swat.

Probably not as great as the Tayshaun-Miller block, but definitely one that will be in highlight reels for a long time now. Remember where you read it first!

Update : Link to the video of the block.

Dictator Stern at it again

Looks like David Stern is running out of ways to mess with the NBA. In his latest move to assert his authority, Sternbot apparently wants to remove all NBA videos from the internet. Huh? This is exactly what happens when you give a pint-sized lawyer the chance to control a league of monster athletes. Presently, only hoopsworld is carrying this story, so I don't know how true this is. But hey, you can never have enough reasons to hate Stern. [full story at hoopsworld]

I will post on how to download videos from youtube, google vid etc. in a few hours, so you can download what you want before Stern's minions go to work. In any case, Stern can do diddly squat to services like bittorrent. And there's always the porn versions of youtube! Who would think of looking there? Imagine Stern's underlings dutifully scouring through porntubes looking for NBA highlights!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hottest Dunk EVER

Talk about feeling orgasmic after watching a dunk.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Emeka gets Hakeem's mojo!

If the video in this post started playing as soon as you opened this page, and it is annoying you, there are two things you can do : (1) stop the video for now (2) give this blog link to everyone you know, so I get excessive traffic and blogger cancels my account.

I'm in a fantasy league (on along with other guys from this Suns forum I live in. This must be the most scrub-filled fantasy league, ever. By scrubs, I mean the players -- not the GMs..we're a bunch of frikkin' studs. There are 30 (yes 30!!) teams in this league.

Here is my team (in decreasing order of scrubness... or is it scrubbosity?) -
CP3, Emeka Okafor, Mike Miller(we have a 1 chick per team rule), Barry, Sean May
Brevin Knight, Anthony Parker, DeShawn Stevenson, Bostjan Nachbar, Marvin Williams (injured)

Since Barry got good playing time last week, I started him ahead of Parker. He responded with 0 pts in 5 mins last night. I can't start Brevin Knight since he doesn't have G eligibility. I'm trying to trade him for a starter.

Apart from CP, the only guy who has been putting up big numbers for me is Emeka. The guy has played like a beast this season. He's averaging 19.1 pts, 12.7 boards, 4.0 blks so far. For a guy without hops, 4 bpg (even if its just 7 games) is huge. So I looked around and found some dirt on this. Apparently, Emeka attended Olajuwon's inaugural big man camp this offseason. Olajuwon had spent a week helping Emeka last year. This time, Ndudi Ebi and a few others joined him to learn from the only player to win DPOY, regular season MVP and Finals MVP -- all in the same season.

My guess is quite a bit of Hakeem's skills rubbed off on Emeka. Here's a short video of the camp from Here's the link, if the video doesn't work in your browser.

Thank you Emeka!

UPDATE: Emeka finally got some love from the Godfather of hoops blogging - Henry Abbott at truehoop. Check out his post on Emeka's past 4 nights out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Longoria-Beyonce movie not happening

Sorry to break this to you guys, but Eva has denied that she and Beyonce are going to act in a lesbian flick directed by Sofia Coppola.
Eva told People magazine: "Believe me, I would love to work with Beyonce one day. She's so talented."

Agreed Eva -- we too would love to see you work closely with Beyonce.
Make it happen. And soon.

a Turk, a Dirk and a jerk

The Spurs are easily one of the more boring teams to watch in the league. In the unlikely event that there is a Spurs fan reading this, I also admit that your team is the best right now.
But this guy Brent Barry and his quips are undeniably entertaining.

I've been wanting to write about this for a while but it kept slipping my mind. On Spurs' opening night, I watched a clip of Barry conducting a spoof talk show, along with Tony Parker. It was just a brief clip but was funny as hell. I did a quick search and found an account of the evening on

The highlights:

•Tim Duncan played a Crucian shaman, who, like the old Johnny Carson character, Carnac the Magnificent, could mysteriously guess the answer to a question in a sealed envelope.
Parker to Timmy: Hedo Turkoglu, Nowitzki and P.J. Carlesimo.
Timmy's reply : A Turk, a Dirk and a jerk?

•Bruce Bowen playing a floppy-haired cowboy lawyer for the law office of Bowen & Bowen. Bowen's character, patterned after the local Wayne Wright commercials, used the slogan, "I Will Defend You."
One of the testimonials for Bowen's firm was from a Ray A.: "I'll say this much — he's cheap."

•A slide show of Beno Udrih's training-camp trip to France. Every picture showed him sitting and, as Parker told the crowd, "doing nothing."

•A "Behind the Music" episode for grunge hero Fabricio Oberto. Manu Ginobili played Oberto's manager/butcher. Sean Elliott was a crazed, jerry-curled fan named Jermaine.

(Oberto and grunge? haha)
(Ginobili playing a butcher? how apt!)

A few other Brent Barry quotes come to mind:
•"I'd give my right hand to be ambidextrous"

•"I was going to wear a T-shirt that said 'White Men CAN Jump', but I didn't want to burst anyone's bubble." (after Barry won the slam dunk competition)

Combined with the fact that he kissed (eek!) David Stern, as Bill Walton would say "Barry is the funniest guy in the history of this great sport".

PS : Talking of Parker, did you guys know that Eva Longoria and Beyonce are going to star together in a movie as lesbian lovers?
I first read of this on benchrenaldo and thought it was a rumor. But Conan O'Brien mentioned it on his show tonight, so I guess this is for real. Now to work on getting that ugly image of Parker kissing Jay Z, out of my head. ugh!

Memo to Scoop : stick to 'street', don't try 'funny'

Scoop Jackson - the jive talkin' homie from Page 2 is at it again, only this time he sounds less street, more stupid.

His lines appear in italics:

They're record is a surprise, but …
Grammar 101 for Scoop :
they're = they are
you say "their record", not "they are record"

The Suns are not officially saying anything, but Steve's mythical powers didn't leave with his haircut.
Did you say mythical ? I appreciate you trying to be funny and tying in a joke about his new hairdo but what the hell are you trying to convey? You do know mythical means imaginary, right? anyone want to help me understand scoop-speak?
Actually, an anonymous commenter drove it into my bonehead that the word mythical here, means having qualities suitable to a myth and therefore is a correct usage.
D'oh! Sorry Scoop.

• Raja Bell and Leandro Barbosa are caught up; they think they are stars and have gotten as shot happy as John Starks. They have forgotten that on any other team in the NBA, they'd be All-Stars, but they aren't on any other team. They need reminders of who they really are.

hundred bucks to anyone who explains that second line to me. most nebulous!

•If you found Scoopie stupid so far, listen to this:
Basketball translation: the West's version of the Knicks … with a worse record.

damn! why you trippin' on my team man? Brother Scoop -- I feel ya' but I think you're reachin' here.

Bottom line to Scoop -- Borrow some analogies from Bill Simmons.....stupid as some of them are, at least they're (this is where you use 'they're') funny.

Jack McCallum left a comment!

I wrote about the book on the Suns by Jack McCallum in my post entitled "Seven Seconds or Less" on Nov 7th.

Well, guess what? Mc-frikkin-Callum read this blog this morning and left a comment.OK, OK. It must've been his agent, but who cares -- the comment was left in the name McCallum. I know for a fact that its not a hoax because I looked through my site stats and right about the time that he left a comment, there were a few hits from Time Inc's domain -- they own Simon and Schuster, which is the company thats publishing the book.

Here's the link to the comment. This is what he had to say:

Hey, thanks for the advance pub on my book.
I'll be in the Valley of the Sun on Dec. 2, a Saturday, signing copies at the Barnes & Noble on 90th St. in Scottsdale. It goes from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
"Seven Seconds or Less" makes a great Christmas gift. (Then again, so does a tie.)
Please stop by, preferably with the twenty-four bucks, but, even without it, we can talk anyway.

Jack McCallum
No problem Jack! Small problem -- I live in central NJ. You gonna be doing book signings somewhere around here?


Monday, November 13, 2006

Reminder -- Seven Seconds or Less comes out tomorrow

A quick update on McCallum's book on the Suns. Its due out tomorrow, so those of you looking to buy a copy -- go grab one or reserve it online.

I've been hearing some controversial and contradicting news on it. On one hand, there have been reports that the book hints at Amare being a negative presence on the team and stuff. The Suns and Coach however, have said that McCallum has presented a balanced portrait of the situation in the team.

My feeling is that some random journalists must have read a few sections here and there and come to a conclusion based on that.

I'll leave you with a short segment from last year's teaser on SI:

When Iavaroni demonstrates the way he will teach how to fight through picks, Mike says that he wants Nash to do something different. "Steve has to keep his hands up to ward off [screeners] before they come at him," says D'Antoni. "I'd rather see him push off and go behind the screen than try to squeeze through."

"You're right," says Gentry. "They come after him then."

Wonder what they do in the defense drills these days. In the SA game, Parker and Oberto (of all people!) killed the Suns with the pick-and-roll, over and over again. The Suns didn't seem to have the slightest clue on how to stop the P&R.

Nash makes toilet on team

I'm a freaking insomniac and literally stayed up all night -- its 6:40 am in NJ now and the best part is I don't drink coffee or consume caffeine in any form. From what I recall, I must've read at least 20 NBA blogs and 40 articles on sports websites since midnight...but sure as hell, all of it seems like a blur. This last piece by Jerry Brown I read in EVT is one that stood out probably because it has to do with Nash and Antoni -- my favorite and (currently) un-favorite Suns respectively.

Nash mentions that he expected this lousy start and suggests the training camp in Europe was a stupid idea. This quote says it all:
I came into camp in better shape than I was when I came back from Italy

Coach Antoni -- who lost the right to carry 'D' in this blog -- has been in my doghouse (yeah, I'm brutal like that) for a long time because of his inability to get the team to play even imaginary defense. He's never shown the ability to adapt to game situations or run plays without Nash on the floor. Heck, does this guy even have a play book? Anyway, listening to this line from da MP3 further tarnishes my image of Antoni as a coach:
“(Coach) Mike (D’Antoni) gives us a lot of freedom. We don’t have to be in the gym all day long. But that puts the responsibility on each guy to make sure you are prepared, that you do your work. You could see we were behind. And when that happens, it makes everything harder."

I don't blame you if you're pissed at Antoni now. This next line is sure to crack you up though.
Nash went out of his way to compliment the players he thought were working hard and tempered his praise for those he thought needed to catch up. Any guesses as to who the hard workers were? Thomas, Leandro Barbosa and Pat Burke. hah!
All you Burke haters can eat crow now. I know he didn't play well against Memphis but I have a strong feeling he did that to save his best moves for the playoffs. He could be our Robert Horry this season. (I actually typed that with a straight face though it wasn't my intention -- thats how freaking sleep deprived I am!)

This is the link to the full story:
Nash: Suns came into season out of shape

An interesting Antoni quote I came across elsewhere..on whether Raja will be affected by the stricter officiating:
"Raja's fine, because he'll get thrown out, anyway. It's either a carjacking or nothing. He doesn't have any petty thief [in him]."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Isiah Thomas gone wild

I have received a few quotes for the proposed hit on Manu Flopinobili. Some of the respondents have offered to break Manu's beak for a lifetime of free food at Taco Bell. With Raja being a spokesman for Taco Bell, it shouldn't be too hard to arrange something.

In related 'ugly news' Isiah Thomas (IT) went at Bruce Bowen (BB) last night after the latter stuck his feet under Jamal Crawford (JC) even as he was landing after a jump shot. I was watching the game on MSG and the verbal exchange was along these lines:

IT to BB : Stop sticking your foot under my player.
IT to JC : Next time he does that, break his feet!

Poppovich to IT : Stop talking to my player..
IT retorts : Ask your player to stop sticking his foot under my players.
It turned ugly after this, as Poppo and Isiah spewed venom at each other (the side story to this being that Poppo is best friends with Larry Brown and was Best Man at his wedding). Thomas was ready to rumble as he was restrained by Asst Coach Herb Williams.

Both Isiah and Bruce Bowen were rightfully honored with technicals, but Poppovich got away scot free -- just like whiny ole' Timmy D almost always does. Isiah though went up to Poppovich at the end of the game and kissed and made up. I don't know why (because-I-freaking hate-Poppovich-and-don't-give-a-rat's-ass-about- IT) but I found it to be a nice gesture from Isiah.

Lets leave these geezers aside and look at what can be done to Bruce Bowen, the Foot Monster. Its one thing when a big-footed klutz like Shaq (maybe accidentally) undercuts someone (read RJ) but Bowen has done this for the second time in a week's span. He did the same to Stevie Franchise at the Garden last week, sending him out with a sprained ankle which he still hasn't recovered from. Stu Jackson reviewed the play but took no action.

With Manu's elbow-dig that injured Raja Bell's rib cartilage, that makes three attempts at injuring an opponent, two of which were successful -- all withing 2 weeks of play! Vince Carter and Ray Allen have already spoken out by Bowen's foot-sliding tendency and dirty play in general.

I know David Stern has this blog on his favorites, so let me talk directly to him:
Listen, you 4 foot-litigious-bitch -- go ahead, feed your Napoleon's complex by lording over these giants and changing the ball so it feels like your own...but if you turn a blind eye to these asSAssins, you're gonna regret it -- I'll make sure you do!

btw, accepting offers to break Bowen's foot now..

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In his own words: Jerry Colangelo

Jerry Colangelo, who has been with the Suns in various capacities since 1968 is in his last year with the organization. Don't feel bad for him though. If you recall, he cashed in $400M selling the organization to Robert Saver (couldn't resist the shot at foamy finger) in 2004.
Sports Illustrated spoke to him recently and the result is an interesting read. [full story]


On son Bryan Colangelo's departure as Suns GM last season to become Toronto Raptors president:

"When the sale took place it was an almost inevitable possibility that Bryan might not be part of the future of the Phoenix Suns, because new ownership has the right to maintain or change management. Bryan and I discussed that before the sale, and he encouraged me to do what's right for the family and don't worry about him, he was going to be OK. He was right.

Which brings me to the question -- why the hell give Antoni the added responsibility of GM? The dude doesn't have time to get his team to do basic stuff like boxing out or defending..why entrust him with more than he can chew.
Also, I've always felt that there needs to be a higher power to keep tabs on Antoni's tendency to play smurf-ball. There needs to be a guy who can temper Antoni's urge to stockpile swingmen, which is exactly what he's done with the Suns now -- James Jones, Jumaine Jones, Jalen Rose, Piatkowski and Diaw.

On how he pushed through the rules changes:

"I'll take the full blame or responsibility for that one. David Stern and I were meeting in New York and I shared with him my concern for the game at that time. I felt the game had lost its appeal and allure, and if it was starting to affect me then that was a serious issue. I had some very specific ideas about how to quicken the game, and David said, 'Put together a committee and do what needs be done.' Normally this kind of thing would take place within the competition and rules committee, and the coaches would discuss these things to ad infinitum. So it was my strong opinion that this was not going to be done by democratic opinion.

This guy is considered one of the front runners for Stern's office once he leaves. Will the NBA get no respite from these dictators?

Maybe its good that he made rule changes to make the game more exciting but this same guy is in charge of USA basketball and must be aware of the completely different rules in FIBA. If I recall correctly, the defense in FIBA is much more physical and allows hand checking. So basically, in making the rule changes JC-2004 screwed 'JC-2006', who is struggling to get Team USA to contend.

• On the rule permitting zone defenses:
We cleaned up play in the middle, speeded up play by changing the 10-second halfcourt rule to eight seconds -- we almost went to seven seconds, by the way -- and bringing more emphasis on shooting the ball and smarts.

• On his next move after relinquishing control of the Suns:
I've kept my eye and ear open to what's going on in basketball and baseball in other cities and franchises.
At this stage I'm just listening.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nutslap the Suns players

This is what Coach Antoni needs to do with each of the Suns players on the eve of the next game. This just might help get them pumped up and take their anger out on the opposition. But knowing the Suns, they might cry for while and continue playing 'like cupcakes'.


Around the League - Freaks Special

You've heard of pregame rituals. Check out Adam Morrison's postgame ritual:
He chews tobacco and says he's been doing it postgame since college.

Arenas' $2.60 fine [via truehoop, courtsidetimes]

James Lang was lounging in his chair on the “east coast” side of the lockeroom, minding his own business when Arenas, Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson addressed his secret life as a “thief.” Turns out, Lang borrowed someone’s deodarant and was banned from the “west coast” side of the lockeroom, the side occupied by Arenas, Daniels and Stevenson. Arenas evicted Lang last week and Lang is not allowed on that side of the room anymore without permission.

Arenas has instituted a system whereby Lang is fined $2.60 every time he goes over to the west coast without permission. Why $2.60? Stevenson wears 2, Daniels wears 6 and Arenas wears 0.

Rasheed Rips Mr.FrootLoop
Rasheed, you're 0-for-8," the guy yelled. "I don't care if I am 0-for-1,000, at least I'm
not wearing a pink and lime green shirt," said Wallace, who for the rest of the game referred to the heckler as Fruit Loop.

[watch the video here]

The Penis Basketball Chair
'Nuff said

Fly on a rhinoceros' ass
Thats what Sam Mitchell had to say on the idea of T.J.Ford doubling Duncan at the post.
Mike Antoni -- now you know what we thought of Marcus Banks defending Harpring alone.

Digg this!


Suns lose yet again

First half
The Suns started off well enough and raced to 19-10 lead early in the first quarter. Sure enough, the Suns left their stamp on the game letting the Mavs make 24-7 run to finish the first quarter.
For the brief while Banks was on the floor, he made his presence felt -- by fouling a lot. From what I see of him so far, he can't pass to save his life. He looks pretty lost for the most part.

Marion was trigger happy for most of the first half, jacking up four three pointers, connecting only on one of them. I've never been a huge fan of Antoni's coaching acumen -- he's never showed any. This team basically depends on Nash to run the show.

The least Antoni can do is ask Marion to get his ass in the lane and score in the paint.He continues to flabbergast with his refusal to make in-game adjustments. Is it that hard to stop a poor 3 point shooter from taking less number of shots than the best marksman on the team - Nash?

Second half
Hot shooting from both teams -- more so from the Mavs. Nash continued turning the ball over. Marion continued jacking up 3s and long range shots. Which brings me back to the point of Coach. What the eff did Antoni tell them during the half time break? Plain awful planning.
The defense was simply horrendous.
The 3rd quarter ended 85-93 in favor of the Mavs, with Dirk continuing to torch the Suns. At the end of the quarter, the Suns had accomplished the unthinkable by trailing in spite of shooting 57% from the field, but yeah, the Mavs were shooting 60% by then.

The Suns started the 4th quarter 10-2 to make the game close. Jalen Rose came up with a sweet 10 foot jumper to give the Suns the lead for the first time in the second half at 99-98. The game see-sawed from here on, with the Mavs controlling the game for the most part.

With the Suns down 4 points at 112-116 Stoudemire was called for an offensive foul. The Mavs went on to bury the free throws to take a stranglehold on the game.
Downhill all the way from here on.
Final score 119-112 Mavs.

No excuses -- the Suns played like a bunch of schoolgirls.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Players union talks out on techs rule

The new zero tolerance policy against players' complaining against calls has been the second biggest issue this season(after the new, sticky ball). Personally, I do think the refs have been a tad too whistle-happy when it comes to players who have had a history of complaining. Guys like Rasheed Wallace have been penalized just for standing in disbelief, while the likes of Tim Duncan and continue whining all the way up and down the court. I should say I was pretty relieved to see him get T'd up in the game against the Kinks earlier this week, though he got a free pass against the Suns last night.

In any case, the players union prez, Billy Hunter has requested that refs 'back off' and go easy on technical fouls. This is what Hunter had say, in a recent AP story:

"My staff is talking regularly back and forth with his staff. If we think they're not being sensitive at all, it usually requires a session between myself and David. We haven't had it yet, but the way things are going, I'm sure I'll be calling him in the immediate future."


Raja Bell out, Nash doubtful

Raja Bell will be out for the next two games, thanks to Ginobili's elbow into his chest. Paul Coro reports:

Suns guard Raja Bell will miss at least two games — home games tonight against Dallas and Saturday against Memphis — because of a left rib contusion he suffered in the final minute of Phoenix's overtime loss Wednesday at San Antonio.

Manu Ginobili struck Bell — away from the ball — and was called for the offensive foul. Bell then pinballed into Tim Duncan and pitched forward onto the floor.

Nash is doubtful for tonight's game because of a hip strain he suffered last night.

Some news on Diaw too:
Boris Diaw also suffered a mild ankle sprain when he slipped in the first quarter but is expected to play tonight.

A sprained ankle is what happens when you're too heavy for your feet, you croissant-hogging, chcolate milk-chugging pig!


Somebody kill this guy!

Manu Flopinobli has clearly lost a step and a patch of hair but he seems to have decided to make up for that with dirtier-than-ever play. Last year he derailed Barbosa's good season by flopping onto his knees and injuring the poor kid. Manu has taken his fake-show further by attacking more crucial players in the opposition this year. He flopped into Nash first and then took it further by digging his flailing arms into Raja Bell's ribs as he flopped. Raja - one of the toughest guys on our team lay motionless on the floor for a brief while before being helped to the bench. He didn't return to play in the game.
The diagnosis: Raja has a rib cartilage injury and is doubtful for the next couple games.

Hope Gino-pussy is happy now. NOT COOL !

Full disclosure
I have to acknowledge the fact that Raja is a flopper too. He's said so himself. But its one thing to flop to the floor but totally different when you flail your skinny arms in traffic and throw elbows. Flopinobli has had a history of not just flopping, but also folding on the opposing player, thereby inflicting injury to the latter.
If it happens once, I'd agree it was an honest mistake. But this freak has been flying around arenas like a projectile, hitting and injuring numerous guys for the past few years.
To think I used to liked this guy's play, even when he killed the Suns in the WCF in 2005. sigh..

I'll pay anyone who breaks that penguin beak he has for a nose.


Seven Seconds or Less

I thought I'd distract readers from that shattering loss last night by discussing something that has had me excited for a while now. "Seven Seconds or Less" is a documentation of SI writer Jack McCallum's experiences from one season spent on the Suns bench. Many of you must have read McCallum's teaser which appeared on SI last year. If you missed it, thats a good place to start, if you want to see if this is something you will like.

Jack McCallum was granted an amazing amount of access into the inner workings of the Suns organization and for most of us, reading his book is the closest we will ever get to 'knowing' the Suns. He lets us into the Suns' locker room talk, the jokes, the friendly banter while also talking at length about the team meetings, the issues discussed etc.

This book comes out on Nov 14, 2006 and I can't wait to get my hands on it. The book costs only $24 but I've been broke real bad for a while now, so I might buy the book a little late. I will definitely keep you guys posted about anything I hear about this book though.
Check this link out for more information on the book.
Here are some of the main details you'll need.

Seven Seconds or Less
My Season on the Bench with the Runnin' and Gunnin' Phoenix Suns

By Jack McCallum

This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: 11/2006
Our Price: $24.00

Some highlights from last year's SI article (the precursor to this book):

On Rip Hamilton - IMO the best current player at moving without the ball
Typically, Rip Hamilton comes hustling around a double screen set along the lane and can usually catch and get a jump shot inside of 15 feet. "Or Rip comes off and finds Chauncey Billups right here," says Gentry, striding to a position near the 3-point line.

A rib at Suns' assistant coach Phil Webber
"You should listen to Phil," says Gentry. "He has taken many an average shooter and turned him into a below-average shooter."

When Amare's injury was first diagnosed The Suns has just discovered that an Arizona team doctor had examined Amaré Stoudemire's throbbing left knee and determined that he could be out for nine months.

On officiating changes
"You won't be able to hop, then take two steps this year," says Mies. Vince Carter, say a half dozen voices at once.

On Amare's best dunk
"I'm not sure his best dunk wasn't against Adonal Foyle in the Golden State game," says Gentry. "The one against [the Minnesota Timberwolves' Michael] Olowokandi was better," counters Weber. "Olowokandi's 7'1" and his wingspan must be 9'6"." "That doesn't count," says Gentry. "Olowokandi's a pussy."

I'll keep 'em coming in the next couple of days.


How to lose when your opponent wants to as well

Last night, the Suns demonstrated how to suck misery out of prosperity. It was one more of their horrible games this season, squandering a 6 pt lead late in the game.

The defensive effort was patchy at best, with Fabricio Oberto setting a Spurs franchise record shooting a perfect 11-11 from the field. Huh? Oberto!?!? That guy whose top score last season was 10? The same guy whose career high score is 12? The same frikkin' guy who Popovich called the 'most productive ugly player' ever?

Suns-the Kingmakers
-The Suns made it look like Oberto was unguardable -- only they did so by not guarding him at all. Give me a freaking break now. A career scrub makes 5-5 and still Mike Antoni couldn't make an adjustment to shut him down for the rest of the game? Antoni has never displayed an ability to make in-game adjustments and Oberto's career numbers last night bear that out.

-And then there was this guy called Nazr Mohamed who Poppovich didn't give a rat's ass about when he left the Spurs to sign with the Pistons. Nazr has averaged 9.6/7 in his uneventful 8 year career and has done nothing to merit attention as a legit post threat. Enter the Suns in the 2005 playoffs. They had to make him look good at any expense. Who can stop the Suns when they make up their mind?
Result : Nazr had a career night scoring 30/16 in one of the Western Conference Finals games.

You're a high octane offense and all that but for God's sake why don't you guys get a few defensive stops when you have a frikkin 9 point lead against the Spurs? Is it that hard to play decent defense? Gaaawd!!

Save for Tony Parker, the Spurs played pretty badly for most of the game. When Raja missed a free throw that could've potentially won the game, Ithinkisoiledmyself.
*drops head in shame*
To their credit, the Spurs played like champions in OT to send the Suns packing.

I've got to say the Suns earned the defeat though.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suns update

Diaw drops 7 lbs
D’Antoni said Diaw had his best practice of the season on Monday and was pleased that he dropped about seven pounds in the last two weeks and was looking quicker on the floor.

Jalen Rose's number woes
When Rose became a Sun on Friday, he expected to be able to wear No. 5, which he has worn since his high school days. But Ring of Honor member Dick Van Arsdale, the original Sun, wore that number, and it has been retired for nearly 30 years.

Rose understood, and asked for No. 42. Sorry Jalen, that number belongs to NBA Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins. Finally, a team manager suggested No. 8 — the only single-digit number that isn’t either retired or currently being used — and Rose agreed.

When will Jalen actually play?
But with only one day of practice, Rose may not play in the next two games — the Suns have five days off after playing Memphis Saturday to immerse him in the system.

FWIW, some encouraging words from Coach Antoni
“We don’t have the right combinations or the right substitution patterns right now, and we have to find them,” D’Antoni said.
“When we do, this team is going to take off.”

Amare update
Amare Stoudemire will start Wednesday night against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Is it all mental?
"(But) it has nothing to do with mental; it's all physical," said Stoudemire, who turns 24 on Nov. 16. "When you feel pain, that's not mental. I don't see where people can get that. I can agree with playing through pain. But there's got to be some point in time when it gets better. Pain is pretty much telling your body that you need to stop doing what you're doing."

Experts' Opinion
- Leif Smith, a licensed clinical sports psychologist based in Ohio, put it this way: "Basically, what an injured athlete learns is that he's not invincible anymore. When you lose that invincibility, then hesitancy comes into the equation, and you can't have hesitancy as a professional athlete, especially in a fast-paced game like basketball."

- "It's not enough to believe your way through this," said Smith, the sports psychologist. "You get your confidence back by playing. There's a window, kind of like a mental probation that you have to break through. He has to go out and get so into the game that he's not aware of the pain. It takes patience."


Jalen Rose might play Wednesday

AP news release
As expected, Jalen Rose signed with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and will be in uniform for the team's game at San Antonio on Wednesday.

Other Rose related info
Rose won the NBA's most-improved player award for Indiana in 2000 and averaged at least 20 points a game for three consecutive seasons, ending in 2003. He has more career points (13,112) than anyone else on the Phoenix roster and is 22nd among active NBA players in scoring.


Around the League - Tuesday

Steve Kerr looks at a bewildering first week in the NBA [yahoo]
-T.J. Ford is trying to become the Steve Nash of Canada. Is that blasphemous?
-Kevin Martin will get plenty of Most Improved Player votes at the end of the season.

NBA's stealth contenders [SI]
Five teams that rarely find themselves atop the list of preseason favorites to win the title.
But why not the Nets, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards or Pacers?

Why I hate the Mavs more with every passing day [usatoday]
Don Nelson started the revival of the Dallas Mavericks that culminated in the franchise's first trip to the NBA finals this past summer. So when the club unveiled a banner Monday night honoring its Western Conference championship, it was only fitting that Nellie was there to watch — even if it was from the opposing team's bench.

The Mavs started their season on Nov 1st, but decided to unveil the banner yesterday, when the GSW visited. I'm glad Nellie answered in a classier way, with the win.

What's with Dallas and their timeout problems? [contracostatimes]
A game marked by two ejections, a flagrant foul against Warriors guard Monta Ellis and other assorted chippiness came down to a wild sequence in which the Mavericks missed one 3-pointer, then failed to get another one off while acting coach Del Harris frantically gestured at midcourt for a timeout that never came.

Korver lighting it up [usatoday]
•He's shooting 57.6% from the field (19-for-33).
•He's a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line.
•He's making three three-pointers a game and converting 81.8% of his attempts (9-for-11).

Brad Miller out for 4 weeks [usatoday]
The 7-foot Miller, a three-time All-Star, played for the U.S. national team at the world championships in Japan this summer. He was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot Monday after the injury limited his playing time on the Kings' road trip last week.

15 years since Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV [foxsports]


Hollinger looks at early season trends

John Hollinger, the father of the Player Efficiency Rating (PER) has analyzed early trends this season in his article in the nysun. He does a good job of putting the early season statistics in perspective.

The highlights:

- Phoenix's Boris Diaw, for instance, is obviously not in basketball shape (in the spirit of seeing the glass half-full, let's just say he's "bulked up").That's going to be an issue for the Suns all season, not just in their 1–3 start.

- Rockets fans are bothered byTracy McGrady's early-season struggles, but check out his career stats and you'll notice a pattern here. The guy struggles every November, so seeing him get out of the gate so slowly this year shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

- Similarly, the strong starts by Portland's Zach Randolph and Seattle's Ray Allen shouldn't come as a big shock to those in the know — we've seen this movie before.

- I use a measure called "Pace Factor" to track how many possessions each team uses in a 48-minute game. Last year, the average was 92.94; this year it's all the way up to 95.83.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Toronto wanted Marcus Williams

The topic of the Suns passing on both their picks in the 2006 draft has been done to death. But nothing is too dead to bring up for a revaluation. The most pressing need for the Suns this season was a backup PG for Nash. Coach Antoni had stubbornly persisted with Leandro Barbosa till last season, with very poor results.

The guys in this year's draft I was hoping the Suns would use their No. 21 and 27 picks were Marcus Williams, Jordan Farmar, Sergio Rodriguez, Sefolosha and to a lesser extent Rajon Rondo. For some reason, the Suns were not too keen on Marcus, Farmar and Rondo. The rap on Marcus and Rondo was their lack of athleticism and shooting ability respectively. Having gone to a Big East school I had seen Marcus play felt this kid really had it in him to be a future Suns PG. Almost the entire NBA went with body fat % and other such stupid numbers as indicators of Marcus' lack of potential and he slid all the way to 22nd in the draft where the Nets lapped him up.

Ultimately we did pick Rondo and Rodriguez, only to trade one of them to Boston and sell the other to Portland.

I saw a link to this very interesting war room video in basketballjones [via truehoop]. Apparently Bryan Colangelo was bullish on Marcus Williams and tried very hard to acquire him. Check this video out to watch Bryan Colangelo grapple to get Marcus.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Million dollar buttocks

OK, Suns faithful -- we've lost two in a row now and our record stands at 1-3. So what? Now, how often have the Suns had a strong start to a season? That's right. The Clippers are a premier team in the West and they literally molested us in Staples Center. The Suns are still trying to figure out a number of things - substitutions, lineups to use, the new Amare, the fat Diaw and so on.
That's it! I'm done trying to sound all reassured about this team.

By now, everyone must have noticed the marked Steatopygia in Diaw. Who stuffed his 45 million dollars in his derriere? Or is it 45M worth of croissants and donuts? Somebody needs to get on his ass and stop him before his badonkadonk becomes a distraction.

Memo to Donut Diaw

In light of your newly enlarged gluteus maximus, we would like to bring to your notice the fact that the spot of 'fat ass' in the frontcourt has already been taken by Kurt Thomas. Further, considering that our hitherto dominant Amare is playing like a pussy (thanks to a few holes drilled in his knees), we request that you work your posterior back into shape or Coach D'Antoni will have to resort to scare-tactics like starting three 6 footers, further disgracing this ball club.

Memo to Kurt Thomas
In light of Diaw's enlarged rear quarter, we would like to warn you that there is renewed interest and hence competition for the starting 'fat ass' position. We would also like to remind you that though you stand 6'9" tall, you are required to get your leaden feet off the ground to collect rebounds as opposed to standing at the post and lapping up uncontested rebounds all the time. Also, please practice what is called in basketball parlance as dunking. Its a disgrace to have your shot blocked in the dying minutes of two games in a row.

Memo to Coach D'Antoni
Until we see any signs of an attempt by your team to play DEFENSE, you will be referred to as Antoni.
Please, PLEASE start running the pick and roll with Nash and Amare.

Memo to Amare
Quit playing like a wuss. If your current playing style continues, we will be forced to replace your 'Black Jesus' tattoo with the words 'Black Burke'.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Jalen signs with the Suns

Alright! The self proclaimed "Rose that grew from the concrete" has agreed to play with the Phoenix Suns this season. Got to say this is great news. Granted, I had my doubts about this signing a few days back but if D'Antoni thinks Rose is going to be good on this team, he must be right. My main concern was Jalen's defense and whether he'd jell with this team but the more I think about it, those doubts fade further away.

If you're not so sure about the Jalen signing, read on:
1. Jalen's main reason for joining the Suns is to revive his career a 'la Tim Thomas and I'm sure he will do what is needed to improve his stock. If that means he will have to be a good locker room presence and play some decent D, he's going to make sure he gets the job done.

2. Jalen's played 12 years in the league and hasn't won a championship ring. He will defer gladly to the younger guys if that means he can get a ring finally. Hey, Gary Payton himself played a limited role without begrudging the young guns like D Wade.

3. Its been several years since Jalen played on a winning team. He will definitely lap up the winning culture in Phoenix.

Welcome on board, Jalen!


Raja's basketball diaries

Highlights from Raja Bell's latest journal on ESPN.

His best buddies - Nash, LB, Sen. Burke
the guys I took with me are the ones that I click with pretty well and roll to dinner with, so when I was able to get four tickets, those are the guys I invited.

On Andrew Bynum:
He's a great young player who, like most big men, shoots a very high percentage, but I was most impressed with his passing out of the triangle offense. Young guys, and especially 7-foot-plus young guys, aren't usually able to pass with such a deft touch, but he's got that down.

Suns are Piranhas:
I think Elton Brand used the word "Piranhas" when he talked about our pace offensively, and he's right.

Back to School:
Something else I've been hitting hard is the books. Yup, I've decided to go back to school. I just got the results back on my midterm from my Religious Analysis class, and I did pretty well, scoring an 87.

On how he met his wife:
..they told me she had a man.
It's kind of corny, but at that point, I was like, "Yeah, right! We'll see about that." Sure enough, she broke up with that guy and we've been together ever since, 10 years now, and got married in August '04.
Sorry, pal, wherever you are.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Suns close to signing Rose

The EVT is reporting that the Suns are close to signing Jalen Rose, who was waived by the New York Knicks earlier this week. [full story]

Apparently piqued by the opportunity to play in the Suns' up-tempo system, veteran Jalen Rose was on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns Thursday night.NBA sources said the deal would likely be completed by the end of the night.

Is he a good pickup? What better validation for a player than Isiah Thomas not wanting a player (Tim Thomas, 2006 No.2 pick.....)? I see the positives of this potential signing but how can we be sure that Rose will not impact the chemistry negatively?

Will he develop the willingness to pass the ball around when he doesn't have a good look?
Will D'Antoni be able to get him to buy into the team philosophy?
He's always had the reputation of being a malcontent -- that's a well known fact.

On the flip side, Jalen is signing with the Suns for just one year and is in effect playing for a contract. Tim Thomas - one of the biggest underachievers in the NBA, came out of his slothful shell to play like a dream last season. There is a chance that Jalen would do the same. There's just one difference though, and it bothers me - Jalen will be 34 in Jan. TT will be just 30 around the same time.

If Jalen works out well in Phoenix, we'll have Isiah to thank. As part of the Eddy Curry trade late in 2005 he sent TT to Chicago where Timmy was quickly released. TT then made his way to PHX earlier this year and had that great playoff run.

The fact that D'Antoni likes him enough to bring him in, is comforting though, and so long as he can rein in Rose I'm happy.



Nash gone nuts

yoo hoo! Here is the video of Nash getting super goofy while arguing an out of bounds call. This clip has only half of his performance but its good enough.


Suns vs Clippers - Nice Comeback

Finally a win. I was tired of the string of preseason losses followed by the LA fiasco. It was time to play Suns basketball and the entire team showed up. Two-time MVP Steve Nash had a solid game, finishing with 20 pts, 11 assts.

The Clippers started the game off real quick, surging to a 10-3 lead. The Suns responded well to make a 6-0 run. It was nice to see some hustle after that slow-as-molasses showing against the Lakers. Amare checked in at 7:30 and proved to be the difference (who would have thought!). He got some early touches and converted on each of his first four shots in the Q. He started with two reverse layups, followed up with a banked jumper and closed the quarter with a turnaround jumper. The two reverse layups would've been monster slams two yrs back but who the hell cares, so long as he's scoring! I should add it was nice to see some soft touch from Black Jesus.

The Suns packed the paint making it tough for the Clippers to score inside and finished the quarter with a 24-20 lead. Kurt Thomas did a fairly decent job on Brand early on but IIRC, he did not jump once during the game (OK I was exaggerating, but show me some hops - you're a freakin' NBA baller!).

Super-Small Ball
D'Antoni had ridiculously some lineups in the game at times. At one point in the first quarter, he played a 3 guard lineup - Banks, Nash, Barbosa - along with Amare and Marion. Yes - Banks and Nash played together. I'd imagine it was to get Banks some time alongside Nash to let him see first-hand how the maestro runs the show. Banks had a pretty ordinary outing as a PG last night but scored efficiently finishing with 13 points on 4-6 shooting. Not bad, considering how he struggled in the preseason. Banks had only 1 assist in 15 mins on the floor but Barbosa made up for that with 4 assists. I guess, Barbosa just needs to be told he isn't the backup PG and he'll do a good job of dishing!

Kurt's night out
Kurt Thomas had a horrible night after the refs started to go after him for so much as breathing Brand's air. He got called for laying in a shot even as Brand almost fouled him. Just a few secs later, he got called again for grabbing a loose ball ahead of Brand. This time KT totally lost it and slammed the ball to the floor, getting called for a T. Can't blame him for that! He fouled out of the game in the 4th Q, having played just 12 mins in the game.
The bright side : We got out-rebounded just by eight, 44-52 in a game w/o much help from KT.

Nash's huge and goofy second half
Stevie had a monster second half, as he decided to take over the game. He had 17 pts and 8 assts in just the second half. Sometime in the 4th Q, the refs made an incorrect call as the ball went out of bounds through Brand's legs (brushing them on the way), as Marion and Brand battled for possession. In trying to remonstrate with the officials Nash did possibly the weirdest, goofiest of his career. The following account doesn't do justice to how outrageously funny his performance was:
Nash had this look like he was saying 'ooohhhhhhhhhhh' and pointing his hands in one direction, squatting like he's defending moving sideways all the while -- only he was doing this after the ball went out and was facing the sideline as he did this.
Even the commentators couldn't hold back their laughter as they played the clip over and over.

Marion goes berserk with his blocks

Marion played the second half like a mad man. He was excellent on defense and scored like he always does, finishing with 27/10. At the 10:30 mark in the 3rd Q, he blocked Kaveman Kaman (couldn't resist that, sorry) two times successively as Kaman tried in vain to make his shot. The defensive work from Marion was easily the second biggest highlight of the night, coming a close second to Nash's theatrics.

Brand contained (so to speak)
EB had scored 30+ points against the Suns in the past 9 games. Last night he was "contained" to to 28 points, thanks to some decent defense.

Positives from the game

  • Banks had a decent shooting night
  • James Jones finally connected on a 3 pointer
  • We shot 52% from the field
  • We held the Clips to 42% shooting
  • We outscored the Clips in the paint (!) 48-30
  • Won despite horrendous 3 pt shooting : 27%


Suns vs Lakers highlight video

Amare's monster dunk against the Lakers

If you missed the Suns game against the Lakers, you might want to check this out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Suns vs Lakers - sluggish start

Blast! That was a pretty lousy game to start the season. Nash led the Suns out of the gate to play a killer first quarter when they scored 41 points on 17/22 (77%) shooting. The ball movement was great, the defense (esp at the low post) was impressive - it was Suns' basketball at its best. Steve Nash had 7 assists in the first quarter alone. Amare showed a few flashes of his old self with a monster slam. This was the last we'd see of the Suns for the rest of the game.

The following picture sums up the rest of the game better than anything else. The Lakers had the Suns by the balls.

Lakers take over
To the Lakers' credit, they took over the game starting the second period. They pounded the ball in for easy layups, grappled for rebounds and played like their lives depended on every possession. Lamar Odom seems to reserve himself for the Suns. I don't know if its his rivalry with Marion, who was drafted the same year as him or just plain hatred for the Suns. He turns into a monster at the boards, unleashes his arsenal in the low post and puts the icing on the top with a flurry of three pointers every time he plays the Suns.

But Andrew Bynum? This 19 yr old kid was starting for the first time in his career and the Suns let him run all over them. He spent the whole of last season getting tutored by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and boy, has he picked up fast. He showed poise at the basket, never gave up and completely dominated the defensive boards. He finished with impressive numbers - 18/9.

Asleep at the boards
Rebounding was completely absent from the Suns. There was zero interior presence on both ends and they finished the game getting out-rebounded 35-51. I wonder if the Suns had any second chance points as they stayed out of the paint like it was a snake pit or something. Nothing says 'the Suns are losing' better than watch Marion jack up his ugly jumpers from three point land. He was content camping out, waiting for the ball instead of crashing the boards for offensive rebounds.

The biggest disappointment was Boris Diaw who looked listless throughout the 29 minutes he played. He was slow-as-molasses and looked uninterested in what was going on around him. He has a reputation of being an easy going guy but its time he started playing with a fire befitting the $9M paycheck he takes home.

The Clippers visit the Suns tonight. Hope the Suns put up a better showing.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chris Kaman signs extension with the Clippers

ESPN reports that Clippers center, Kaman has signed a 5 year extension with his team. He has accepted the $52.5 mil offer the Clippers made. Kaman was previously offered 5/50 around ten days back but he wrote in his blog a few days back that he thought he deserved more.

True - he is part of a dying breed (not cavemen, idiot! centers) and he does infuriate me with his O rebounding while playing the Suns, but is he worth that much money? Apparently, I'm alone in thinking so. The ESPN report says that Kaman was likely to be offered a max contract next summer by many teams!

Bottom line - there is no escape for Suns fans from the 'Caveman's curse' -- we're gonna have to watch him play our team at least 4 times a year.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Kevin Garnett to be traded?

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the Timberwolves will try to trade Kevin Garnett by February because "his skills have reached a plateau at age 30." [link] Now that news is at once interesting and scary.

'Marion for KG' is topic that has been discussed to death but that is a scenario very unlikely, especially if the TWolves are looking to trade KG by February. Even if the Wolves like Marion, why would the Suns risk their team chemistry that deep into the season? What has me excited is the possibility of an 'Amare for KG trade' (I know I'm going to be skewered by Amare fans for this). But then, who knows how healthy/unhealthy Amare is going to be then?

The scary part : If KG agrees to a trade, that would be only to join a championship caliber team. The thought of KG joining any such team scares me shitless! Its hard enough for the Suns to try to win just the Western Conf with the new playoff seedings. Any team not called Minny is going to be scary good with KG on its roster . So....

dream on..