Suns Edged by Jazz
Posted: Oct. 12, 2009
After claiming their first preseason win Saturday against Dallas, the Suns were unable to keep their momentum rolling on Tuesday against the Jazz, dropping a 105-100 home decision.
“It’s a typical preseason game,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think we had good moments and then some really tough moments.
“I thought we played well the first quarter, moved the basketball and did some good things. Obviously, the second quarter we really struggled.”
Phoenix started out of the gates hot, shooting 59 percent from the floor en route to a 31-25 advantage at the end of the first period. Leading the attack was Jason Richardson, who drilled 2-of-2 three-pointers to pace the Suns with eight in the quarter.
However, Phoenix quickly cooled in the second quarter, amassing just 11 points on 5-of-18 shooting in the period. However, Jared Dudley provided a nice spark off the bench, shooting 4-of-6 to finish with nine points in 10 minutes.
Both squads went back-and-forth in the third, with the lead staying at eight the entire period. However, behind two threes in the fourth by Goran Dragic and a couple of timely buckets by Earl Clark, the Suns regained the lead with 8:45 left.
“Every day is better and better and we’re getting to know each other,” Dragic said. “Today we were down 10 points and we came back so it was a really good bounce back. Hopefully in the future we’re going to get stronger and stronger.”
However, in an effort to give their young players minutes, the Suns substituted in Zabian Dowdell, Matt Janning and Dwayne Jones with about five minutes left in the contest. The Jazz managed to pull away in teh closing minutes.
Dragic scored a team-high 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown, while also recording five assists. Richardson finished with 13 points, while Hakim Warrick and Robin Lopez each added 11.
Hedo Turkoglu, who played just nine minutes after receiving a hard screen from a Utah player, left the game with a back contusion and didn’t return. Gentry said that Turkoglu could have played, but decided to rest him for precautionary reasons.
The Jazz remained undefeated in the preseason, while the Suns fell to 1-3.
“I think we have to continue to work on our turnovers,” Gentry said. “23 points off turnovers, 20 turnovers.
“We’ve got to get that to a working number. To me that’s got to be 12 or 13 turnovers for the game.”
Phoenix plays its next preseason game in Utah on Thursday. The Suns will get their chance at revenge.
Dragic believes the team is on the right course.
“Today in the beginning we did some good things especially on defensive but we still had some breakups on communication and sometimes we don’t pressure the ball so much, but still I think every game is better and better,” Dragic said. “Now we have two games left and the season is going to start.”
Official Word From Officials
Bernie Fryer, the NBA's Vice President and Director of Officials, met with members of the Phoenix media today to go over the points of emphasis for the 2010-11 season. Not only are the refs going to be zeroing in on certain types of plays on the court, but also the behavior of players towards officials.
Fryer and the crew of officials working the preseason game tonight showed a video that illustrated the various nuances in the rules regarding hand-checking, post defense, jockeying for positioning and the principles of verticality when drawing a charge. In addition, the officials will pay close attention to palming, defensive three seconds and who commits the first foul away from the ball.
However, the matter that received more focus was the area entitled “respect for the game.” The officials are going to closely monitor players’ reactions after fouls are assessed to them.
Although coaches are not going to be a target in that area, Coach Gentry thought that it was a good move by the league.
“I think that area needed to be addressed and the players are going to adapt just fine,” he said.
Eating Their Wheaties
Last season Jason Richardson got the ball rolling, and now Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver picked it up and started dribbling with it.
During the playoffs, J-Rich treated his teammates to breakfast on a game day, which prompted the Suns’ majority owner to follow suit.
After picking up the tab for all the team’s breakfasts last postseason, Sarver is going to continue to do so during the 2010-11 regular season. Free breakfast, which was designed to entice the players to arrive earlier to the arena on game days, isn’t something provided by all of the teams throughout the NBA.
So it was a nice little perk was conceived by Sarver, President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and Suns General Manager Lance Blanks. Today the players had omelets, bagels, cereal and fresh fruit.
“It’s real good for the guys,” Gentry said. “I haven’t had breakfast provided for me at the other places I coached around the league.”
When the leftovers were rolled past the media, Gentry even joked that if the reporters wrote positive stories about the team, they might be privy to some breakfast themselves. Well, here’s hoping…
Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.