Suns News

Hak Racks Up Career Night as Suns Down Rockets

With a career-high 32 points Tuesday, Hakim Warrick gave the Suns their 13th win in the last 18 games.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: March 8, 2011

On Tuesday, the second unit’s loss was the starting lineup’s gain for the Suns.

Filling in for the injured Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick made his second start as a Sun and collected a career-high 32 points to go along with eight boards and four assists en route to a 113-110 win over Houston.

“Collectively, everyone is going to have step up their game,” Warrick said. “Channing’s a big part of this team, this organization and he’s been playing so well for us, so I just wanted to go out there and be aggressive and just do my part.

“This game is mostly confidence, so you see the ball go in the basket and you’re going to continue to be aggressive. And no matter what I’m going to be aggressive, but once you get some early buckets, it really helps you out.”

Warrick connected on 14-of-19 shots from the field in 40 minutes, as the forward tallied his fifth 20-point game as a Sun – all of which have come at home. He had 20 points by halftime, as the Suns battled back from an 11-point first-half deficit.

“Hak’s had really good games with us,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “He’s one of those guys who, the longer he’s out there, the more comfortable he gets. He got some early baskets that settled him down.”

The starting forward’s first 30-point effort with Phoenix helped give his team their 13th victory in the last 18 games and pushed them to within 1.5 games of the idle Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference.

“Hak was outstanding tonight,” said Vince Carter, who equaled Warrick’s scoring output with a game-high-tying 32 points of his own. ”That said, it’s all about us winning games right now. We only have 20 games left, so it’s all out. It’s now or never.”

NEW MAJERLE’S SPORTS GRILL LOCATION

Consider it a four-point play for Suns Ring of Honor great and assistant coach Dan Majerle.

This week, Majerle’s Sports Grill officially debuts its fourth Valley location, opening in Old Town in Scottsdale at 4425 N. Saddlebag Trail.

“Wednesday’s the grand VIP opening, and then the official opening is Thursday,” Majerle said. “We have the game that night, so I won’t be able to be there then. So, Wednesday it is… just in time for Spring Training and the NCAA Tournament.”

“We started downtown 19 years ago, went out to Chandler and headed west to Goodyear. Old Town was the logical next step. With the history over there, it was the perfect set-up. There really wasn’t a sports bar down there. This is our fourth one, so we know what we’re doing.”

Much like the other locations, expect plenty of TVs and sports memorabilia on the walls, as well as appearances from Thunder Dan himself – schedule permitting, of course.

“It’ll be the same upscale sports bar,” Majerle said, “but at night it’ll transform into not only a great place to watch sporting events, but it’ll have a great audio-visual package with music and dancing. So, it’ll be a place where people can have a good time.”

For more information, call 480-889-9949.

GENTRY ON GRANT HILL

“Grant was great, and I’ll say it again,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry began. “I’m going to say it until somebody hears it or somebody writes it. If Grant Hill is not on the All-Defensive team, then I don’t know who should be. I really don’t.”

RETURN OF DRAGIC

Goran Dragic made his first appearance at US Airways Center since his trade to Houston last month. He finished the game with six points and three assists in 12 minutes.

“That’s part of the game,” said Dragic about the deal. “That being said, I’m grateful everything the Suns organization did for me. They gave me an opportunity, but this is the next step. I have a new team and new responsibilities. I’ll play 100 percent and try to help the Rockets.”

“SYMBOL OF FREEDOM” IN PHOTOS

The 10 winners of the Phoenix Suns and Southwest Airlines “Symbol of Freedom” Art and Essay Contest are back from last week’s grand-prize trip to Boston. The Maricopa County seventh-graders were originally asked to express what a “Symbol of Freedom” means to them both through art and a brief essay, and were rewarded with a trip to Beantown – thanks to Southwest Airlines, the official airline of the Suns.

In addition to touring some of the city’s symbols of freedom, including Freedom Trail, Boston Common and Fenway Park, the students got to cheer on the Suns who were in town to take on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden last Wednesday.

For photos from the big trip, CLICK HERE.