THREE AND TWO.

Well friends, I was wrong.

Oh sure, I accurately predicted that your Suns would be 3-2 by the time of the next Madhouse. I had no doubts about that. But I thought it would be Utah we bested, not the Clippers. Either way I said 3-2. Here’s the link one more time where I said 3-2.

Like I said before the season began, and after the season began, and today, your Phoenix Suns are an NBA playoff team. I will say it until math delivers a fatal blow.

So what was good?

Competitiveness

This is the most important thing right here. Your Suns give a crap. With the exception of the Sacramento game, if Phoenix had dropped tight contests with the Clips and Warriors, I would have been fine. I still would have celebrated the losses. Because Phoenix is playing games of consequence. And it feels fantastic. I had neighbors in the garage with me watching the Los Angeles game. Excited. Excited about Phoenix Suns basketball. I forgot how good that felt.

We’re just a couple of possessions away from 5-0. What we’re seeing is not an accident.

We have a point guard

We’re only 6 percent of the way through the 2019-20 campaign, but I’m certainly not going to let that prevent me from making grand, sweeping judgments using very limited data.

Ricky Rubio is the straw that stirs the drink. He’s taking fewer shots and scoring less than he did in Utah. That doesn’t matter. Against Utah he pulled down ten boards, a feat he did not accomplish with the Jazz last year. More importantly, he dished out 20 assists across the first two games of the season. That only happened once last year with the Jazz.

If these trends hold, and Rubio has appeared in a whole four games so why wouldn’t they, we’re talking career high numbers in rebounds, and the most assists he’s racked up since his Minnesota days. Ayton’s return will spell a career year for Ricky.

So what was bad?

Communication

The end of that Utah game was a meltdown. The officiating didn’t help, didn’t help at all, but I don’t want to be that guy. The Suns know it too, which is encouraging.

“We had two turnovers in a row in crunch time – it started with me – and we have to figure that out,” Rubio said. “It’s early in the season, we know that we have to get together and learn from that.”

“The one I turned over, I tried to draw a foul on (Rudy) Gobert,” Booker said later. “And the one Ricky (Rubio) did he did a behind-the-back pass, but we talked about it, we just have to make the adjustments and in that winning time lock in.”

And more from Book:

“I’d say the last two minutes of the half – our last three possessions of the [first] half and our last two of the game,” Booker said of mistakes. “Me and Ricky (Rubio) both had costly turnovers that turned into quick points for them, and down the stretch that can’t happen.”

Sometimes this accountability thing sounds like they’re speaking Russian. I supposed we’ll get used to it. Kind of makes you miss the Josh Jacksons of the world, though.

If you were watching the last couple of minutes of that game against the Jazz, I’m sure you wanted to cringe yourself into oblivion. I was. It was bad. No one wants to hear this immediately after a loss like that but the fact that we were even in a game like that is encouraging. You have to think that flaws like that are going to be snuffed out fairly quickly. I tried to challenge myself after the game and wondered if my expectations of these guys syncing up so quickly were too lofty. A couple of those passes were to…….nobody.

But that will get fixed and the Suns are going to the playoffs.

Officiating?

Ok, not to dwell on that Utah game, but clearly I haven’t gotten over it. What happened at the end there? The officials clearly got the game clock wrong. I think there ended up being four-tenths of a second left with Mitchell going to the line for two. Replays showed there should have been more than a second left. Ok, so Mitchell hits one, or both, Suns burn a time out, advance the ball, and get a shot. Right? Well, can Monty challenge that? May as well right? A time out doesn’t help you if the opponent is going to the line shooting two with .4 remaining. I put “officating?” above this because i didn’t want to put ‘coaching?’ Ease my mind and tell me in the comments that the play could not have been challenged.

Thanks in advance.

My heart is broken, because Steph Curry’s hand is broken. He’ll be out three months.

In preparation for the next NBA shoving match, Ben Simmons is going to get a little bit of MMA training.

Kevin Durant told Stephen A. Smith that Kevin Durant will not return to the hardwood this season.

Here’s a useless mock draft where it is predicted that your Suns will select Cole Anthony out of North Carolina next summer.

EA has pulled the plug on a new ‘NBA Live’ game this season.

Kawhi Leonard is seeking to trademark ‘What it do baby’ and ‘City views over interviews.’ Sigh. Some of this stuff is so dumb.

Michael Malone trashed the Nuggets, that was fun.

Here’s an article from Yahoo Finance explaining why the NBA needs China, but I have already told you that they don’t so I’m unsure you need to read it.

A Houston Rockets fan punched a New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach. And we have video.

Here is the 2019-20 NBA Roster Survey. It is full of interesting stuff. Seriously. Click on it.

What I’m reading: Last week – Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. This week – Underworld by Don Delillo.

What I’m playing: A lot of Gradius, handheld on the Switch.

What I’m listening to: My brother turned me onto a podcast called ‘Listen Money Matters’ but I haven’t gotten around to checking it out. Maybe this weekend.

What I’m watching: Suns, VGK. Squeezed a couple of Law and Order episodes in there. I like the ones with Vincent D’onofrio the best. And the shows before him. The ones with Lenny. Those are good.

I want to go back to the conversation we were having earlier about how to handle the Suns losing close games.

Can we be mad? Upset? Angry?

After moving to Las Vegas I put a deposit down for season tickets before the NHL had awarded us a franchise. I did so without consulting my wife. Fast forward a few years and it is easily the best investment I’ve made in my marriage, for a variety of reasons.

After getting the team, and learning that the team would be called the Golden Knights, and attending the expansion draft, I advised my wife to be prepared for losing. A lot of it. She rejected that premise. If you’re unaware, she was right. Vegas advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with players that other franchises paid us to take. That’s how much they were willing to part with them.

Anyway, had that inaugural season been full of losing, I would have been fine with it. I was just happy to have a team. It’s not apples to apples but that’s kind of the situation I’m in with the Suns right now. The last few seasons were scorched Earth. Simply not fit for consumption. This season, in a strange way, feels a lot like those very early days of the Golden Knights franchise. I’m simply happy we have a team. It is an entertaining product. A VERY entertaining product.

Talking Stick Resort Arena sounds loud on television. These guys clearly have a giddy-up in their step. There’s going to be some sloppy play. There’s going to be some reckless play. I can accept that. I can accept plenty of losses. Fun, entertaining basketball is back. We’ve weathered the storm. No more Markieff Morris and Josh Jackson. Now we’ve got….whatever this new thing is. So far it’s awesome. The next time we meet your Suns will be 5-3.

“He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.”



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