In order to make the playoffs, a team has to avoid pitfalls
that come up during the course of a season.
For example, a possible hangover from a thrilling home
victory over the Lakers - like the one the Suns earned
yesterday - could have been such a pitfall.
But the Suns didn't allow that to happen on Monday,
disposing of the pesky Wizards with a 104-88 home win at US
Airways Center. It was the Suns' 10th consecutive victory
over Washington, the club's longest streak against any
"After a big and emotional win last night, to come back and
take care of business like that was what we really needed,"
Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said.
Phoenix's offense was powered by the customary duo of point
guard Steve Nash and center Marcin Gortat. Nash totaled 12
points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in 28 minutes, while
Gortat finished with 20 points and seven boards. Currently,
Nash and Gortat are the only pair in the NBA to have one
player averaging more than 10 rebounds a night and another
averaging more than 10 assists a game.
"Steve's got good chemistry with anybody," Gentry said.
"Marcin has done a great job.
"He's smart enough to understand that if he sets a good
screen and roll to the basket there is a good chance he
will get a basket out of it. But Steve has a tendency to
make everybody better."
However, on Monday, it was the Suns' defense in the third
quarter that put the game away. The 13 third-quarter points
by the Wizards were a season-low for a Suns opponent.
The Suns went on a 16-0 run in the period, all but closing
the door on the Wizards.
"We got stops when we went to the zone and that gave them
some problems," Suns forward Grant Hill said. "Then we got
out and hit some shots, got into a rhythm and a groove,
took a close game and stretched it out to 20 points. I felt
that was the difference right there"
Channing Frye (19 points and 11 rebounds), Micahel Redd (14
points) and Hill (11 points) were the rest of the Suns that
reached double figures, as the Suns concluded the evening
shooting 47 percent from the field.
It was just the second time all season the Suns have scored
100 or more points in consecutive games, allowing them to
sweep their second home back-to-back set of games of this
While we know that Suns point guard Steve Nash is heading
to Orlando to compete in the All-Star Game and Suns power
forward Markieff Morris is going to represent Phoenix in
the BBVA Rising Stars Game, there are a couple of other
Suns with Orlando ties that we thought might be returning
for the festivities.
Suns co-captain Grant Hill, who spent 2000-07 in Orlando as
a member of the Magic, still spends his offseason in the
home he still owns there. However, Hill is using this break
as an opportunity to appear in his wife Tamia's, latest
video. Hill will appear in the video for Tamia's latest
single, "Beautiful Surprise."
"It was just because I was cheap," Hill joked.
Suns center Marcin Gortat, who has been putting up
All-Star-like numbers this season, was traded to Phoenix
from Orlando last season and also still spends his
offseason in Orlando. The "Polish Machine" plans on being
in down in Orlando for All-Star next weekend, entertaining
about 10 friends coming over from Poland, but not attending
any of the festivities.
"It's great for the fans," Gortat said. "But I'm not going
to All-Star until I make it."
20th Anniversary Dunk
The upcoming slam dunk contest in Orlando will mark the
20th anniversary of when former Sun Cedric Ceballos brought
the title back to Phoenix. Ceballos, who retired from the
NBA in 2001, won the contest with a blindfolded dunk.
The current in-house emcee for the Sun, Ceballos was one of
the first players to creatively use a prop to win the
contest. The former All-Star loves the flair that the props
have brought to the contest over the years.
"If I had to give a class on it, I'd be as outrageous as
possible," Ceballos said. "It's been 20 years and people
are still talking about it. And that was my intention with
doing the blindfold, whether I made it or I made a fool out
of myself, they were continue to talk about me."
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