Suns News

Newsroom Notes: Suns' Night Spoiled by Stoudemire's Return

Carter was 7-of-13 from the floor Friday.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Jan. 7, 2011

After spending eight years delighting Phoenix fans with his play, Amar’e Stoudemire took them down memory lane once again Friday. Unfortunately for the fans at US Airways Center, it wasn’t for the Suns.

However, Stoudemire did shine, totaling 23 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes of work as the Knicks dealt Phoenix a 121-96 home defeat Friday.

Stoudemire started off hot, notching 10 of his 23 points in the first quarter on shooting 4-of-6 from the floor. Despite a renewed focus on defense, the Suns allowed another 30-point quarter to start the evening.

“I think we made progress defensively and then we take steps backwards,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “When we struggle with our shot, we have to be able to guard guys defensively so there is not that separation.”

To worsen matters in the first period, Phoenix shot an icy 39 percent from the floor while the Knicks hit on 52 percent of their shots. After getting outrebounded by 13 in the first half and falling behind by 10 at halftime, Phoenix allowed New York to jump out to a 24-point lead in the third period.

The Suns never recovered from there.

“We weren’t particularly sharp, we didn’t make shots and they made a lot of shots,” Suns guard Steve Nash said. “I think we also lost our confidence when all their balls were going in and ours weren’t and it spiraled. We got to just fight through that and be tougher.”

Having lost six of their last seven, the Suns were looking to create a little momentum by taking it to their former All-Star and his new club. But they never seemed to get it going.

Vince Carter scored 19 on 7-of-13 shooting, while Steve Nash collected 14 points and nine assists. Goran Dragic (17 points), Jared Dudley (11 points), and Grant Hill (10 points) were the only Suns to manage double figures.

For the game, the Suns were outrebounded by 25, shot a mere 43 percent from the floor and gave up 50-percent shooting from the floor. The Suns look to bounce back against Cleveland on Sunday.

Suns’ Past vs. Suns’ Present

For all of those watching the Suns-Knicks game Friday, one might have noticed that the two teams run a lot of the same offensive sets. The Suns, who are third-highest scoring team in the league, are the predecessors to the Knicks' offensive style, one that currently leads the NBA in scoring.

Both offenses were engineered by Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni, whose teams routinely lead the league in scoring. The Suns, who were also spearheaded by Alvin Gentry last season, used much of D’Antoni’s system to lead the NBA in scoring in 2009-10.

Phoenix also led the league in field goal percentage last season, a category in which they rank second in this season. After leading the league in three-point shooting percentage last season, they’ve slipped to eighth in that department this season.

So how familiar are the two systems?

“Except for a few tweaks, it’s still basically the same system,” Gentry said. “Because the systems are so similar, it wasn’t much an adjustment for Amar’e going there.”

In fact, as the Suns were going over the Knicks’ plays in shootaround today, many of the plays went by the same exact name as the plays that they currently run. It’s literally like looking at a mirror image for them.

Unfortunately for the Suns, it wasn't one they knew well enough Friday.

DJ Spins on Planet Orange

One of the new additions to the in-game entertainment is DJ Chris Villa, a DJ from 101.5 Jams in Phoenix. Suns VP of Game Operations Kip Helt brought on Villa to be in-arena MC Cedric Ceballos' counterpart.

The Suns’ new DJ position, which is sponsored by Verizon, is modeled after Miami Heat's in-game DJ. DJ Irie, who not only spins during the game in Miami, also performs at team and player appearances.

Currently, DJ Chris Villa, whose role will be similar to DJ Irie's, is set up at the top of the lower bowl in section 102. You can hear his beats pregame, during breaks and after the game.

"He's just another great high-energy piece for our entertainment team," Helt said.

STAT Receives Standing O

When Stoudemire was announced during pregame introductions, he received a near-unanimous standing ovation from Suns fans. It was a clear message that the Phoenix faithful appreciated the five-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.

"It lets me know that the fans were still appreciative of the hard work that I put forth on this court and the perseverance through injuries," Stoudemire said. "It was a great ovation and I'll love Phoenix fans forever."

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