Newsroom Notes: Suns Clinch Home-Court Advantage
Posted: April 13, 2010
Battling for position in the circus that is the Western Conference, the Suns played the role of ringmaster against the Nuggets on Wednesday, controlling the contest from start-to-finish to secure a 123-101 home victory.
“I thought we were very good defensively, we held them to just 42 percent shooting,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “We were great on the boards, and we outrebounded them 52-34. It was just one of those games from start to finish we did a good job.”
The Suns played like a team seeking that already has shifted into playoff mode, leaping out to an 18-2 lead to begin the game. Amar’e Stoudemire poured in 10 points in the period, while Steve Nash and Jason Richardson each added seven.
With Phoenix holding a 70-49 lead at the half, the Nuggets roared back with a 10-2 run to start the half. But the Suns answered with big baskets by Nash, Stoudemire and Channing Frye. to push the lead back to 22.
Phoenix would never look back after that, marching to a convincing victory over a team that may be its opponent in the first round of the playoffs. Stoudemire led the way with 26 points and eight rebounds, while Steve Nash compiled 18 points and eight assists.
STAT and Nash rested the fourth period in preparation for their road game tomorrow night against the Jazz. The reserves, propelled by Louis Amundson’s five dunks in the second half, closed out the Nuggets for the third time in four attempts this season.
The Suns’ bench outscored Denver’s bench 55-37. The play of the reserves allowed Phoenix to capture its 13th win in the last 15 games.
The Suns have now won 11 straight against Denver and assured themselves home-court advantage for the first-round of the playoffs. Tomorrow night’s matchup in Utah will decide whether the Suns are the No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Nash said about locking up home-court advantage. “We should be proud, but we’ve got a lot left to play for still. We have one game left in the season and we’re happy and excited, but it’s as much for the opportunity tomorrow night as it is for what we’ve already accomplished.”
Western Conference Playoff Picture
For fans looking to simplify the Western Conference playoff picture, victories by Utah and Phoenix tonight have provided a smidge of clarity to what was a very muddled situation.
But even though the Suns have played their last home game, they head into their season finale in Utah with playoff positioning still on the line. Coming into their matchup with the Nuggets, the Suns had eight possible playoff solutions.
Those situations have now been limited to three. If the Suns defeat Utah and the Blazes defeat the Warriors at home, the Suns will open the first round as the third seed against the Blazers (sixth seed).
But if the Suns defeat the Jazz, Portland loses and the Spurs defeat the Mavs, the Suns would claim the No. 3 seed and face a sixth-seeded San Antonio club. And lastly, if the Suns lose to Utah, they host the fifth-seeded Nuggets.
Be sure to check out Suns.com’s playoff picture page for all the updates tomorrow night after the Suns-Jazz game.
Thunder Dan Expands His Brand
You may know him as the affable assistant coach of the Suns. You may know him as a member of the Suns Ring of Honor for what he did in Phoenix as a Sun.
Or you may simply know him as Thunder. But what you may not know is that Dan Majerle is one of the premier restaurateurs in the Phoenix metro area.
With already three popular sports bars/restaurants located in downtown Phoenix, Chandler and Goodyear that possess his namesake, Majerle is opening yet another Majerle’s Sports Grill by the end of this year.
The latest restaurant will be located in Old Town Scottsdale.
“The first three Majerle’s that we started are doing well and we’re always looking to expand,” Majerle said. “We found a place that we’re comfortable with and a place that we thought would do well, and it was the natural progression to go to Old Town Scottsdale. It’s just a booming area with great nightlife and there aren’t too many sports bars there.”
The new restaurant will be located in the heart of Old Town near Axis-Radius and across the street from Pussycat Lounge. The plan is to begin renovation on the 4,500-foot space this summer with the goal of opening the doors in December 2010.
But don’t plan on this being the last Majerle’s to open.
“We don’t do it unless it makes a lot of sense so I’ll never say, ‘This is it,’” the Suns assistant said. “We’ll continue to work and if something pops up that we think can be successful in a good area, we’ll do it.”
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