Suns News

Newsroom Notes: It's Frye-day in Phoenix

Frye was 5-of-8 from downtown Friday,
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Dec. 3, 2010

Friday’s win over the Pacers was a tale of two halves for the Suns.

Overcoming a sluggish performance in the first half, the Suns captured a 105-97 victory over visiting Indiana after outscoring the Pacers by 10 in the fourth period. Channing Frye erupted for 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor and 5-of-8 shooting from downtown, while Jason Richardson scored 21 on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.

“It was probably as good as a win as we’ve had this year,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “Considering the circumstances of coming back (late), and the quality of basketball that they play.”

After a stretch in the schedule that saw the Suns play seven games in 11 days, the Suns finally were able to get in some practice time on Tuesday and Wednesday. After focusing primarily on rebounding and defense during the past two practice sessions, their work paid off in a 107-101 road victory over the explosive Warriors on Thursday.

But that same team that brough a truckload of energy last night appeared jet-lagged in the first half tonight, getting outrebounded by nine and allowing the Pacers to shoot 54 percent from the field.

However, that would change in the third period. The Suns held the Pacers to 5-of-18 shooting in the third period and played them even on the boards, causing the momentum to shift.

Channing Frye and Jason Richardson would carry the offensive load in the quarter, pouring in 10 and seven points, respectively. Frye has now scored in double figures 11-straight games, which is the longest such streak of his career.

“When I’m the biggest guy out there you’ve gotta have somebody big guarding me,” Frye said. “If I’m be guarded by 4s or 5s, Earl (Barron) is doing a great job of rolling to the basket and you’re going to have to give up a layup or something is going to be open.”

The Suns recovered from a 12-point deficit to take the lead with 10:52 left in the final period. After going back-and-forth for a few more minutes, they would go ahead for good on a deep two-point shot from Frye with 5:39 remaining in the contest.

The Pacers were held to 45 percent shooting and only outrebounded the Suns by one in the second half. The Suns went to the line 12 more times than the Pacers and forced them into nine more turnovers on the night.

The Suns point guards combined for 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds, with Steve Nash totaling 12 points, 11 assists and five boards, while Dragic registered nine, six and four. Jared Dudley provided a nice lift off the bench, shooting 5-for-7 to finish with 12 points.

The Suns host the Wizards on Sunday.

Earl of Starting

When Earl Barron quietly joined the Suns on November 16, most fans assumed that the former Memphis Tiger would just be a body at practice until injured center Robin Lopez returned. Few thought that he would crack the starting lineup.

But that’s exactly what Barron did Thursday against the Warriors in Golden State, as Coach Gentry attempted to bring more size and rebounding to the starting lineup. Whether Barron was the difference or not, the Suns outrebounded the third-best offensive rebounding team in the league, 37-31, on the night.

“I can’t say that I’m extremely comfortable now,” Barron said. “But as we play more games and as we get more practice in, I’ll slowly become more comfortable. I still catch myself as being a little hesitant out there.”

The 7-footer, who hasn’t had much time to practice with the Suns, should feel at home in Phoenix. A year ago he played for the Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks, appearing in seven games and averaging 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds a game.

“I thought we played a little better (with him in there),” Coach Gentry said. “His stats weren’t great or anything, I just thought he got his hands on some balls and did pretty good defensively. I thought he was just a little more of a presence.”

However, with just two practices under his belt, Barron still has to get up to speed.

“I think he knows enough that we can play him some minutes,” Gentry said. “There are some things that we have to stay away from, but for the most part, he’s got a good handle on it. He spent time in New York and we basically do a lot of the same things that New York did.”

The Suns are 2-0 since moving Barron into the starting lineup.

Drawing Board

In the Suns’ locker room, there are a couple of new additions to the scenery. There are two stat boards hanging in the locker room, both there to address defense.

The first stat board demonstrates the Suns’ league rank in defensive field goal percentage. This is an area of emphasis for Phoenix, which ranks last in the league in that category after ranking 12th last season.

The other board illustrates each players’ statistics in four specific categories: deflections, steals, blocks and charges. Richardson leads the team in steals and deflections, while Frye leads the team in blocks and Hill leads the team in charges.

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