Posts Tagged ‘Suns’

All Ball Fave Five: Most Unlikely 50-Point Scorers

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week will count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

This week’s Fave Five takes a look at the most unlikely 50-point scorers since 1985, which is when BasketballReference.com starts keeping game logs for each NBA player:

5. Charles Smith, 52 points
Clippers vs. Warriors, Dec. 1, 1990
Career scoring average: 14.4 ppg

Charles Smith is probably best known for the basket he didn’t score, but he started out his NBA career as a fairly prolific shot-maker, averaging more than 20 ppg twice in his first three seasons. He settled into more of a contributor role after that, but not before he dropped 52 on the Denver Nuggets near the beginning of the 1990-91 season. Smith was 17-27 from the field and 18-21 from the line, and did not attempt a single 3-pointer (no surprise, he only made 18 in his entire career).

Fun fact: Smith probably could have been left off this list, but I have him on here due to his feat coming against the infamous ’90-’91 Nuggets. Denver was coached that season by Paul Westhead, who tried to bring the fast-break basketball he succeeded with at Loyola Marymount to the NBA with disastrous results. The Nuggets went 20-62 and gave up 130.8 ppg, the most ever allowed by a team in a single season.

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One Suns Fan Is Pretty Upset Steve Nash Is Leaving To Join The Lakers

by Micah Hart

Steve Nash is leaving the Phoenix Suns to join the L.A. Lakers. I haven’t asked, but my sense of things tells me that most Phoenix fans are at peace with it. Well, maybe not at peace with him going to the rival Lakers, exactly, but at peace with him leaving a team that won’t be contending any time soon for one last shot at that elusive championship ring.

Not all Suns fans are so ready to forgive and forget though:

Aurora, I feel your pain. My reaction to Dominique Wilkins getting traded from the Hawks was very similar (though my hostility was directed more at the team than the Human Highlight Film).

We’re really just filming everything nowadays, huh? Noted.

H/T Sports Grid

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Three For All: A Retrospective

by Micah Hart

The 2011-12 NBA regular season will come to an end tonight, and one thing we can say for sure is the compressed 66-game slate certainly gave teams their share of challenges. Chief among those (in our eyes at least) were the back-to-back-to-back series that every team faced at least once throughout the year, a chore that never occurs during a normal 82-game calendar but was made necessary once again due to a lockout (the last time teams played three games in three nights was 1998, the last time the NBA played a shortened season due to a labor stoppage).

With 42 three-for-all sets built into the calendar, we made it our business here at All Ball to document each one, curious to see what information we might glean from them. Would it be an accurate predictor of postseason achievement? Would we see NCAA-tournament style cinderella runs from some of the lesser squads? Could anyone win what we assumed would be an incredibly grueling third game?

Let’s run through some of the numbers and see what’s what.

7 – Number of times teams went undefeated in their three for all challenge, led by the Spurs, who managed to do it twice within the span of less than a month. The Spurs’ second run saw them match the Heat with 15 points, the maximum possible score allowable for three road wins by double-digit margins. We’ll break down who’s was more impressive on Thursday night. In addition to those two, the other perfectionists were the Bulls, who maxed out their trip with 13 points (all wins were by double-digits, but they played only one road game), the Thunder, the Hawks, who amazingly found the strength to win the third game in four overtimes over the Jazz, and the Suns (more on them in a second). Of the six teams to taste perfection, only Phoenix will be sitting out the postseason.

6 — Number of times teams went winless. Would it shock you to learn that the Wizards were the only team to go defeated twice? Would it shock you further to learn the Bobcats, the worst team in NBA history, aren’t on this list? In addition to the Ashington Izards (No Ws – I R HILARIOUS), the Pistons, Clippers, Mavericks, and Suns found the going toughest. The Suns, incidentally, were the only squad to put up undefeated and winless marks, which really encapsulates their season in a nutshell, from being 12-19 to just missing out on a playoff spot after their loss in Utah on Tuesday.

4.5 — The average score for the 42 attempts was 4.5 points. The most common score was 2 points, accomplished 10 times, while no one scored 14 or 9.

22-20 – Record for teams in the third game of the three for all. I gotta tip my cap to these guys, I would have pegged this mark to be much worse before the season started.

And now for some superlatives, after the jump.

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Three For All: Phoenix Suns II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Mar. 14-16.

The Phoenix Suns’ season can pretty easily be summed up by their two entries in the three for all challenge. In their first foray back in February, Phoenix went winless, part of a four-game skid that saw the team fall a season-worst seven games under .500 after a loss to the Lakers on Feb. 17.

That game must have shook something loose in the desert, because ever since the Suns have been scorching, winning 10 of 13 games and moving all the way back to .500 on the season at the culmination of their second threeplay:

Game 1: Suns 120, Jazz 111 – Part of the reason for the Suns’ success has been the production the team has been getting from up and down the roster. To wit: Channing Frye dropped a season-high 26 points (with nine rebounds), Marcin Gortat had 25, and Jared Dudley had 21 in the win over the Jazz. 1 point

Game 2: Suns 91, Clippers 87 - Home win over the Jazz? Not bad, but nothing special. Road win over the Clippers? Now that’s a nice win, despite how weird it makes me feel to write that sentence. Oh, and did I mention they did it without Grant Hill and Steve Nash, who picked up DNP-OMs (Did Not Play – Old Men)? Seriously. Sebastian Telfair started this game. Crazy season indeed. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for road)

Game 3: Suns 109, Pistons 101 - I give Bassy credit for holding down the fort while Nash took the night off against LAC, and the rest paid off for Steve as he dished out 17 dimes, tied for a season high, against Detroit. Back to what I was saying earlier about contributions from everywhere? Robin Lopez had 14 points off the bench in this one, and Michael Redd had 11. If I so much as get a hangnail from now on, I’m going to Phoenix to have the Suns’ medical staff take a look at it. 5 points

It’s not so long ago that everyone was proclaiming this a lost season in Phoenix, and up until Thursday’s trade deadline many were holding out hope that the #FreeSteveNash movement would mercifully spring Canada’s finest from his Arizona prison.

Instead, the Suns join the Heat, Bulls, and Thunder (owners of the league’s three best records) as the only teams to go undefeated in the three play, and in doing so moved into 9th place in the Western Conference playoff chase, just two games behind the Nuggets, who just traded for JaVale McGee, so good luck with that. 10 points for the Suns, and total redemption for their first effort a month ago. This could be a playoff team after all.

Up next: The Clippers take their second crack at the triumvirate, playing three straight Mar. 20-22.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Phoenix Suns II (10 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Three For All: Dallas Mavericks

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Dallas Mavericks, who played three straight from Mar. 8-10.

The defending champs have had their share of struggles this season, which is to be expected of any team coming off the kind of high that was the Mavericks’ title run. Order seemed to be restored at one point, but then Dallas faced a nine-games-in-twelve-nights stretch to begin the second half of the season, culminating in the three for all, with all three games on the road to boot. A recipe for disaster? Let’s see:

Game 1: Suns 96, Mavericks 94 – Dallas had beaten Phoenix eight straight coming into the game, and led by 11 at the half. All seemed well. Then the Suns got it going, and Rodrigue Beaubois missed two shots in the game’s final seconds that might have sent it to overtime. Tough start. -2 points

Game 2: Kings 110, Mavericks 97 - This is exactly the kind of loss we should expect to see in this compressed season — a young, athletic team racing past an old, tired squad of veterans. The Kings were up 10 at the break and never looked back. -1 point

Game 3: Warriors 111, Mavericks 87 - See previous paragraph, and double it. 0 points

We’ve seen oh-fers twice before this season, by the Pistons and Suns, two teams on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in (Ironically, both teams have been playing their best ball of the season lately — perhaps the humiliation of the winless threeplays were the inspiration?). We weren’t supposed to see this kind of thing from the Mavericks.

However … we’ve seen a few veteran playoff teams take some games off this season. Mark Cuban said himself on the B.S. Report last week that seeding doesn’t matter this year, that every team is just trying to survive the compressed schedule, and that regular season performance will not necessarily translate to the playoffs. So, -3 points for the Mavericks. Were they giving it their all? Or were they taking a couple losses in battle right now in hopes of winning the war later on? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Up next: The Suns are back at it with a chance to redeem themselves, playing three straight Mar. 14-16.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Three For All: Minnesota Timberwolves II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Minnesota Timberwolves, who played three straight from Feb. 28 – Mar. 1.

The Timberwolves take their second crack at the three-fer, having posted a mere 2 points their first go-round Jan 8-10. Could they improve on it this time, with all three games coming on the road?

Game 1: Timberwolves 109, Clippers 97 – I get the feeling that if Derrick Williams goes on to have an All-Star caliber career, many will look back at this game as the first time he really flashed that kind of potential. Coming off a disappointing performance in the Dunk Contest, Williams dropped 27 on the Lakers off the bench, scoring inside and out as Minnesota started the second half right with a huge road win over the Clippers. 3 points (1 for win, 1 for road, 1 for +10)

Game 2: Lakers 104, Timberwolves 85 - Williams’ hot shooting at Staples unfortunately didn’t carry over the next night, as the Masked Mamba dropped 31 on Minnesota, which was playing without Kevin Love (illness). The T’wolves clearly missed their All-Star, as no player scored more than 14 points and the team shot just 5-19 from downtown without the league’s 3-point champion. -1 point

Game 3: Suns 104, Timberwolves 95 - Another game typical of what we might expect from a team finishing three games in three nights. The Timberwolves were in it early, leading by five at the half, before running out of steam in the second half and losing by nine. 0 points

2 points for the Timberwolves, just like the last time, but they did face a somewhat unique challenge in this one. Not only were all three of their games on the road (which we’ve seen only a handful of times this season), but each game was their opponent’s first game after the All-Star break. Maybe not such a big deal against the Clippers, but certainly a disadvantage against the Suns.

Up next: The defending champion Dallas Mavericks get their lone crack at the threeplay, with three straight contests Mar. 8-10.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Three For All: Phoenix Suns

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Feb. 13-15.

While I have your attention, I’ll step aside from the task at hand for a moment and agree with the presiding opinion going around the Internet and say: Free Steve Nash.

The Suns have stated they have no interest in blowing up their team, and that is their right, but if their reasoning is that it alienates fans, I have to respectfully disagree. Fans want to win, clearly.  But what they really want is to compete for titles, and most intelligent fans are willing to tolerate a year or two of losing as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Look no further than the Indianapolis Colts, who are most likely about to part ways with Peyton Manning — more an institution in his city than Nash is in Phoenix — and their fan base couldn’t be happier because they have Andrew Luck waiting to take his place. Suns fans know that Nash’s time is coming to an end regardless of where he plays, and as much as they’d hate to see him go, if they get some young prospects in return that help set them up to return to contention, they’ll take that deal all day long.

Why do I bring this up? Because the Suns joined the Detroit Pistons as the only two teams to lose every game in their three for all:

Game 1: Warriors 102, Suns 96 - One player the Suns shouldn’t trade is Marcin Gortat, who has evolved into one of the best centers in the NBA (though that does speak in part to the paucity of legit big men). The Polish Hammer had 25 points and 12 rebounds in the loss in Golden State. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Phoenix against Golden State. -2 points

Game 2: Nuggets 109, Suns 92 - Phoenix sat Nash and Grant Hill for this one, trying to conserve their energy in the midst of the brutal stretch. So yeah, they really didn’t have much of a chance in this one. Markieff Morris had 21 points, which reminds me that in college, I always thought his brother Marcus was the hot shot recruit, and that he (Markieff) was sort of the Robin Lopez to his brother’s Brook. I mean, Marcus was Big 12 Player of the Year, and a second-team All-American. Then Markieff got drafted first (Marcus went to the Rockets with the very next pick), and now I question everything that happened to me in the last two years. Was it all just a dream? -1 point

Game 3: Hawks 101, Suns 99 - No one should get much grief for losing a third in three, but the Suns did lead by 15 points in the second half. Josh Smith had an absurd line for the Hawks (30 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks), and when all is said and done I still expect someone’s injury to put him into his first All-Star Game next weekend in Orlando. 0 points

Time to face facts, Phoenix. The Nash-Era Suns are long gone, and the sooner you turn the page the better off you’ll be. -3 points for the Suns.

Up next: The Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers play three straight Feb. 14-16.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
Orlando Magic (5 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Steve Nash Makes Pitch For Winter X-Games

by Micah Hart

Oh wow, the corn chopper!



I know we are all excited about Shaq becoming a broadcaster, and I’m in no hurry to see Steve Nash hang up his sneakers, but I bet he’s going to be pretty fun to watch in retirement.

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Shaq’s best off-the-court moments

by Micah Hart

With Shaquille O’Neal retiring, we will certainly miss his on-court talents. He was truly one of the most dominant players in NBA history in his prime and still a potential difference-maker well into his twilight. And while his game will be missed, the good news is that Shaq was just as incredible off the court as he was on it, and I don’t imagine he’ll be retiring from the limelight any time soon.

As he embarks on whatever post-career plans he has (I am biased, of course, but I’m hopeful he’ll join the Inside the NBA family at TNT), let’s reflect on some of his greatest hits from over the years:

Shaq Dancing

Shaq was a big kid at heart, and to me one of his most lasting legacies was his ability to rope his fellow NBA players into participating in things that might make them look silly at first glance. His organizing of an impromtu pop-n-lock competition with LeBron James and Dwight Howard at the 2007 All-Star practice session illustrates that perfectly.

The Diesel may have been the largest person (in terms of height and weight) to ever play in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he was a plodder like many of his fellow behemoths. Shaq had some moves on the dance floor, and he was rarely shy about showing them off, like he does here in his memorable dance off with Justin Bieber.

And as mentioned yesterday, who will ever forget his intro at the 2009 All-Star game (which was ultimately Shaq’s last All-Star Game)?:

That wasn’t it though — Shaq was a man of many talents. Remember more of them after the jump.

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Behind the scenes of the NBA Encouragement campaign

by Micah Hart

If you read this blog, it’s safe to assume you are an NBA fan (or my mother). Therefore, it’s logical to assume you’ve seen the NBA’s Encouragement ad campaign this season, taking real footage of various NBA stars from when they were younger and having people from the future talk to them about what’s in store for them. Like Amar’e Stoudemire. Chris Paul. Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry. And Steve Nash.

If you’re like me, you’ve seen these spots and wondered, “How did they do that???*”

Your amount of question marks may have varied.

Well wonder no further, as NBAE released this behind-the-scenes footage of how the Nash one (generally considered the best) got produced. Roll it!

Pretty cool stuff.

Also, courtesy of Suns.com, here is the original Nash footage that the commercial is based on:

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