Suns News

Newsroom Notes: Lakers' Size Proves Too Much for Suns

Dudley was 3-of-4 from downtown against the Lakers on Wednesday,
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Jan. 5, 2011

The two teams that were in the 2010 Western Conference Finals came into Wednesday night’s game a far cry from where they finished last season. Both the Suns and the Lakers came into tonight’s contest looking to right their respective ships.

It was a back-and-forth affair the entire night before the Suns dropped a 99-95 home decision to the defending world champions. The Suns battled, but were unable to overcome a Lakers team that starts two seven-footers.

“Once again, I thought we played well,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “We have nothing tangible to show for it, but I think over the long haul, it’s going to help us. I’m disappointed about the loss, but encouraged about what I see for our team, and what is going on.”

Providing the offensive muscle of the night was Jared Dudley, who racked up 19 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. With the Suns down by as many as 12 in the first period, Dudley was instrumental in putting the Suns back into the game, accruing nine points in a 15-7 second-quarter run that would give Phoenix a four-point lead.

In his career, Dudley has only scored 20 or more points four times, three of which have come this season. The Suns swingman, who came into Wednesday’s game averaging 16.3 in his last six outings, finished the night shooting 8-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

“You saw, in the second half, they didn’t leave me open,” Dudley said. “You can see, when I lead the team in scoring, we’re 0-3. So that’s not a good stat.”

However, the Lakers would mount a comeback in the third period, one from which the Suns would never recover. Lakers swingman Ron Artest drilled a timely three-pointer with 1:30 left in the fourth, putting the Lakers up six, and all but closing the door on Phoenix.

The door was officially shut when Derek Fisher hit a pull-up jumper with 45.4 left in the contest. Until that point, Fisher was 1-for-6.

The Suns played the Lakers relatively even, except for on the boards. Phoenix was out-rebounded 47-31 on the night and outscored in the paint by 10.

“The positive thing about it is that we’re fighting like hell,” Suns guard Vince Carter said. “We’re really starting to put it together. The most important thing is to stay focused and keep believing in each other.”

Steve Nash, the leading guard in the league in field goal percentage, totaled 11 points and 10 assists, while Marcin Gortat just missed collecting his first double-double as a Sun with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Carter (13 points), Grant Hill (10) points and Channing Frye (10 points) rounded out the six Suns in double figures. Phoenix has now won only three of its last 13 contests.

The Suns welcome former Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni, former Sun Amar’e Stoudemire and the rest of the Knicks to Phoenix on Friday.

The Suns in 3D

If you happen to have passes to the FlexPrint Courtside Club at US Airways Center for the Lakers game, you know you’re in for a treat. However, club-goers at Wednesday’s game were provided an unexpected and added bonus.

Special 3D TVs were installed in the club because in addition to their normal broadcast, ESPN broadcasted the Suns-Lakers game in 3D. 100 3D glasses were made available to fans in the club so they could catch a glance of the future of sports broadcasting.

“The NBA has been aggressive in trying to figure this technology out and see where it fits in long-term,” Suns President and CEO Rick Welts said. “And the first time you see it, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You can’t really believe how much you really feel like you’re in the action.”

This isn’t the first time 3D has come to US Airways Center. The 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix was shot in 3D, as was a Suns-Lakers game the year before that.

Through the previous tests, the producers of 3D broadcasts determined that the best camera angles were the lower-level camera angles. Therefore, the ESPN 3D cameras were all set up below the upper bowl of the arena.

Despite the stunning visual effect of 3D, it hasn’t caught on with consumers because of the high cost and lack of programming.

“One thing we know for sure is that sports will lead the technology,” Welts said. “It will be the thing that drives the consumer change-over. It’s not hard to say that this is where HD was six or seven years ago.”

Fiesta Night

Although tonight’s game was a big one for the Suns, there were quite a few people in the crowd that believe that even a bigger game lurks right around the corner. But those people, wouldn’t be talking about basketball.

Both the No. 1-ranked Auburn Tigers and the No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks were in attendance for their upcoming college football national championship game. The two programs will collide in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale on Monday.

The two teams were recognized in their seats via the in-arena PA, with the Ducks receiving a louder round of applause by those in attendance . However, Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Cam Newton, was the one that landed an interview with ESPN’s Heather Cox.

Before the game, Coach Gentry said that the Ducks were his favorite college football team to watch this season. The Suns Head Coach joked that they played like the Suns, using the strategy of outscoring their opponents, a tactic that he appreciated.

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