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JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 02:28 PM
Matchup with Sonics is big deal for 1 night

Tim Tyers
The Arizona Republic

It is just one game, but you can believe the attention of NBA fans nationwide will be focused on the Suns-SuperSonics matchup tonight in Seattle.

Phoenix owns the NBA's best record at 19-3, and Seattle is second at 18-4. Seattle is tied with San Antonio for the best home record at 10-1, and the Suns own the best road record at 9-1. Last, but not least, the Suns top the NBA in scoring at 109.4 points per game, and the Sonics rank fifth at 100.2.

"It's just one game out of 82 right now," Suns veteran Shawn Marion said. "It's still early in the season and we can't get into that stuff right now. They're a good team and they've got a good run going, just like we do.

"It's not going to make or break our season. It's going to be an exciting, fun-filled game because we are two of the most exciting teams in the league. But it's no more than a good challenge for us right now."

The architect of the Suns' slash and dash this season, point guard Steve Nash, more or less agrees with Marion. He says tonight's game is probably "overhyped," but "It means something because we're both playing well and it's a nice test to see who can keep the best record."

The teams rely heavily on the three-point field goal. Most observers have the impression that the Sonics are more "three happy" than Phoenix, but it isn't true. The Suns are making 8.8 of 23.1 three-point attempts per game, while the Sonics are downing 8.7 of 22.2 per game.

The difference may be settled inside.

"Amaré (Stoudemire) gives us an edge against a lot of teams inside," Nash said. "But Seattle really does a tremendous job of shooting the three and getting the right spacing on the floor. That gives them an inside game because people overplay them outside and they get some layups."

With Stoudemire, the league's No. 4 scorer at 25.8 points per game, the Suns still have the edge in the paint.

"We have the advantage inside because (Seattle center) Jerome James doesn't really move his feet that well," said Stoudemire, whose brashness seems to be growing with each Suns victory. "We should be OK with that. We just have to be able to defend those guys out on the perimeter."

Finally, coach Mike D'Antoni's impression?

"We can use the game as a water mark to see the things we have to improve on," he said. "It'll be an exciting game for everybody, but it is what it is. It's either one more win or one more loss."

Thanks to an NBA scheduling computer that does not compute distances in the West, the Suns fly home after the track meet in Seattle and will host Washington, the NBA's fourth- highest scoring team (100.7 per game), on Saturday night.

CATEGORY.................SUNS................SONIC S
-Scoring.................1st (109.4)...........5th (100.2)
-Point differential.......1st (12.3)............3rd (6.4)
-FG pct....................1st (.478)...........9th (.448)
-Defensive FG pct......4th (.423)...........19th (.449)
-3-point pct..............3rd (.381)...........1st (.391)
-FT pct....................21st (.746)..........6th (.792)
-Rebound diff.............27th (-2.8)..........4th (2.9)
-Blocks......................1st (6.7)...........25th (3.8)
-Home attendance....17th (16,320).......21st (15,770)

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 02:54 PM
SEATTLE -- After the Detroit Pistons won the NBA title and superstar center Shaquille O'Neal left the Los Angeles Lakers for the Miami Heat, many wondered if the balance of power in the NBA might be shifting to the Eastern Conference.

Very few took into account a pair of unlikely clubs - the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics - who have kept the scales tilted in the West's favor.

Those teams meet Friday for the first time this season in a much-anticipated battle at KeyArena.

Two of the highest-scoring teams in the league, the Suns and Sonics own the top two records in the NBA with Phoenix's 19-3 mark leading the way.

The Suns are the runaway choice as this season's most exciting club, scoring a league-high 109.4 points per game - nearly eight more than any other team.

Phoenix showcased its talent with a 108-86 rout of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, winning its sixth straight and 15th in 16 games.

Joe Johnson was the latest Sun to torch an opponent, scoring 30 points and hitting all five of his 3-pointers vs. the Jazz. Amare Stoudemire added 19 points and Steve Nash chipped in 13 and 11 assists as Phoenix never looked back after a 41-point second quarter.

Seattle is 10-1 at home, suffering its first loss at KeyArena on Saturday, and ranks as the top 3-point shooting team in the league.

Behind Rashard Lewis' career-best 7-of-12 effort from the arc, the Sonics blitzed the Lakers, 108-93, on Tuesday. Lewis scored a season-high 37 points and Seattle won each quarter en route to its 11th win in 13 tries against a Western Conference opponent.

The teams will not meet again until February when America West Arena is the site. The Suns have lost four times in their last five visits here.

Phoenix (19-3) at Seattle (18-4) 10:30 pm EST, 7:30 pm PST - 8:30 for AZ.

GAMEDAY MATCHUP
TEAM... W.....L......PF.......PA.......HOME.......ROAD.... .STK......L10
PHO......19....3....109.4.....97.1......10-2..........9-1.........W6.......9-1
SEA......18....4....100.2.....93.9......10-1..........8-3.........W1.......8-2

2004-05 SEASON
Series tied 0-0
Dec 17, 2004 - PHO @ SEA, 10:30 PM ET
Feb 11, 2005 - SEA @ PHO, 9:00 PM ET
Mar 6, 2005 - PHO @ SEA, 9:00 PM ET

INJURY REPORT
PHOENIX
· Jackson Vroman F Groin I-L. 12/7
· Jake Voskuhl C Appendectomy I-L. 12/10
SEATTLE
· Mateen Cleaves G Shoulder I-L. 12/14
· Robert Swift C Hip I-L. 12/11
· Damien Wilkins F Knee I-L. 12/11
· Ibo Kutluay IR Knee I-L. 11/1
· Ronald Murray G Quadriceps I-L. 11/6(Avtivated 12/12)
· Vitaly Potapenko C Hand I-L. Out 6-8 weeks. 11/1(Activated 12/12)

LAST 5 GAMES
PHOENIX
Dec 15 UTA Win 108-86
Dec 13 ORL Win 121-100
Dec 10 CHA Win 115-106
Dec 08 @LAL Win 113-110
Dec 07 GS Win 118-104
SEATTLE
Dec 14 LAL Win 108-93
Dec 11 BOS Loss 98-84
Dec 09 @DAL Win 107-102
Dec 08 @SA Win 102-96
Dec 04 POR Win 99-89

DEPTH CHART
POS........PHOENIX...(PPG)...........SEATTLE...(PP G)
PG..........S. Nash.......15.6............L. Ridnour.....8.8
SG........J. Johnson.....16.6.............R. Allen.......23.9
SF.....Q. Richardson....14.5.............R. Lewis......21.8
PF........S. Marion.......19.5.............R. Evans......5.1
C......A. Stoudemire....25.8.............J. James......3.8

TEAM STAT LEADERS
..........................PHOENIX................. ..SEATTLE
Points.......A. Stoudemire...25.8........R. Allen......23.9
Rebounds......S. Marion.....11.9........R. Evans......8.3
Assists...........S. Nash......11.0........L. Ridnour....6.0
Steals...........S. Marion.....1.6.........L. Ridnour....1.5
Blocks...........S. Marion......2.2.........R. Lewis.....1.2

TODAY'S LINE
FAVORITE.......OPEN.......CUR.......UNDERDOG...... O/U
PHOENIX...........1˝.........1.0.........SEATTLE.. .......216˝

AGAINST THE SPREAD
...........................Phoenix.............Sea ttle
Record............13-8-1...(.619)....16-6-0...(.727)
As Favorite.....12-8-1...(.600).....7-3-0.....(.700)
As Underdog....1-0-0...(1.000).....9-3-0....(.750)
At Home..........5-7-0...(.417)......8-3-0....(.727)
On Road...........8-1-1...(.889).....8-3-0....(.727)

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 03:09 PM
A New Day in the NBA: Suns, Sonics Race Ahead...
By Marc Stein

It is, until Christmas comes, the most anticipated game of the season so far.

It really is.

It is a matchup that appeared on the ESPN schedule before the season started -- really -- and which convenes the league's foremost trendsetters. The Suns and Sonics meet Friday night at KeyArena as the two hottest teams in the new NBA, where smallish underdogs that attack the basket and pressure the opposition relentlessly can sprint to starts of 19-3 and 18-4.

It was just six months ago that the Detroit Pistons won the championship with defense and depth and no clear-cut star. Yet you haven't seen much copycatting of the Pistons, largely because of the edict from commissioner David Stern to referees to crack down on hand and forearm contact on the perimeter.

So while Detroit struggles to adjust to the restrictions placed on handsy defending -- and with Dallas undoubtedly wondering if letting Steve Nash go to acquire Erick Dampier was a wise move in a climate that suddenly welcomes the run-and-gun approach -- Phoenix and Seattle will illustrate the virtues of penetration and open-court whimsy when they tip off an exciting rush to the end of the calendar year.

Just over a week before the Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant reunion on Christmas Day in Los Angeles, as well as the first Pistons-Pacers encounter since the teams' brawl last month, it is Suns vs. Sonics. A chance for both of these surprise squads to make a statement to the nation about their legitimacy.

"We're still not talking about that," Seattle's Nate McMillan said with a snarl, refusing to answer when asked if the Sonics have already proved their playoff worthiness.

No worries, readers. We're talking about it even if Nate's not, with a compare-and-contrast breakdown to get you ready.

START TO THE SEASON
Advantage: Sonics

No team in the league has a better road mark than the Suns' 9-1 away record, but Phoenix has played the NBA's easiest schedule to date based on Jeff Sagarin's noted strength-of-schedule rating system.

And while that 19-3 overall record is gaudier than anyone in the desert dared to dream, Phoenix was widely considered a viable playoff contender in the West after signing Nash away from Dallas.

Seattle? You'd be pressed to find anyone who picked the Sonics to make the playoffs after an offseason in which so many other teams in the West made major upgrades.

"The only guy we had to adjust to was Danny," Allen counters. "It's not like we're trying to figure out new personalities."

The case for continuity? In amassing its 18-4 launch, Seattle has two wins over the Spurs already -- one at home and the second in San Antonio -- and road victories at Denver, Minnesota and Dallas.

FRONTCOURT
Advantage: Suns

Rashard Lewis is creeping into All-Star contention, but that doesn't nearly narrow the gap in this comparison. ESPN's George Karl recently labeled the Phoenix front line as the best in the West, and the production it's getting from Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Quentin Richardson makes the argument pretty compelling, even though the Suns don't start a traditional center.

Richardson (6-5, 238) is a solidly built small forward who has always played bigger than he is. Marion is a small forward masquerading as a power forward and pulling it off - in the mighty West, no less -- ranking third in the league in rebounding (11.9) and 10th in blocks (2.23) at a mere 6-7. And Stoudemire? "He's just turned into a monster," said one Eastern Conference scout. "If he continues to show he can make a 15-footer, he's going to be almost unstoppable. And the thing I like most about him is that he likes to play. You can see it when you watch him - he's not just going to ride his talent. He's worth the price of admission to come watch him play."

For playoff purposes, odds are the Suns will eventually need a dependable banger to play alongside Stoudemire, who insists that we're still not allowed to refer to him as a center. The Suns are vulnerable defensively in the middle and on the boards, and Stoudemire's down-low game remains on the (very) raw side. Yet in the regular season, on a one-night basis, Phoenix can cover its weaknesses with all that athleticism. As Nash likes to say, his high-flying teammates often look like they're playing the video game NBA Jam out there.

BACKCOURT
Advantage: Suns

The gap is far narrower here, with Ray Allen in peak form and Luke Ridnour, a Nash starter kit, moving the ball like no one else on Seattle's roster can. The confidence McMillan has in Ridnour, after a trying rookie season, is a huge factor in the Sonics' early success.

Nash, though, is arguably the league's MVP at the quarter pole. His drive-and-kick game has never been more effective -- with an assist to the tighter officiating on the perimeter -- and the other Suns are quick to credit his arrival with their dramatic improvement.

Even the cocksure Stoudemire, a steady source of brash statements all season, attributes his jump in scoring (to fourth in the league at 25.8 points per game) to Nash's penetration. "Steve makes the game so much easier," Stoudemire says. "All the easy baskets are him."

The Suns' athletes, likewise, make the game easier for Nash because they're always flying around the rim. It's not like Dallas, where his passes led to jump shots. Nash's dishes result in layups or dunks now. Or open 3-pointers for guys like Joe Johnson, another unheralded contributor in the Suns' rise. Johnson is merely chipping in 16.3 points on average, while shooting a heady 46 percent from the floor -- and 54.5 percent from long distance.

"He's been very good -- quietly," said another East scout. "Johnson is more versatile than Marion or Richardson. If they don't have him, they struggle a little bit, because he gives them another good ballhandler."

BENCH
Advantage: Sonics

No comparison here.

The Suns have virtually no bench, which threatens their overall outlook for the season as much as anything else. Nash, logging 34 minutes a game, gets the most rest of any starter. Phoenix has to be worried about a long-term injury to any starter or simply what the 82-game grind might do to its first five.

The Sonics, by contrast, bring three of their most important players off the bench. Antonio Daniels ably backs up Ridnour as the league's No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.45-to-1). Vladimir Radmanovic is the third long-ball threat who helps Seattle keep the floor spaced, and more than one scout reports that his defensive effort has improved noticeably.

Danny Fortson, meanwhile, unexpectedly ranks as one of the impact acquisitions of the summer, injecting a nasty edge the Sonics were lacking. Like starter Reggie Evans, Fortson (generously listed at 6-8) averages better than one rebound for every three minutes on the floor, helping Seattle jump from the bottom five to the top five in rebound margin. The Sonics, on average, are getting six possessions per game more than last season, with all those deadly shooters to profit.

"The way Seattle shoots the ball, to also be a great offensive rebounding team is really impressive," said one Western Conference scout.

COACH
Advantage: Even

Good luck picking between them right now.


Not-so-lame duck: If the Sonics keep up this pace, Seattle coach McMillan should sign a very lucrative contract -- somewhere.
The Suns' Mike D'Antoni is the envy of many colleagues because he has Nash as his coach on the floor, but D'Antoni also has to deal with the league's youngest roster. Even after signing Bo Outlaw, Phoenix sports an average age under 25.

McMillan might face even more challenges, given the eight free agents-to-be on Seattle's similarly youthful roster and his own uncertain status. Despite knowing that Sonics owner Howard Schultz won't consider an extension until after the season, McMillan has inspired the current cast to bond against the selfishness that tends to rip apart teams when so many guys are playing for the next contract. He has also quickly inspired confidence in a group that got throttled by 30 points on Opening Night against the L.A. Clippers.

McMillan would probably win a Coach of the Year vote if the ballots were turned in today, but I'm guessing D'Antoni would be second.

OFFENSE
Advantage: Suns

It's not just the points-per-game reading (109.4) or the scoring margin (12.3 per game) or their ability to offset the lack of a post presence by constantly pushing the ball (even after made baskets) to create open shots. It's what has become known around the league as "spurtability" that makes Phoenix even more dangerous offensively than a Seattle club that hits the opposition with the combination of a 3-point hailstorm and ceaseless ball and player movement in the halfcourt.

"They have the best spurtability capability in the league," said the first East scout. "No one can extend a lead or put a game out of reach like (Phoenix) can. You think you're playing pretty evenly with them and all of sudden, wham. They just ran off 15 points."

DEFENSE
Advantage: Sonics

Besides rebounding, this is Seattle's major area of improvement.

McMillan, in his fourth season, has been longing for a team that would at least remember that the floor has two ends. No one's confusing the Sonics with the Spurs or the Pistons or even the Sonics of McMillan's era, but they have two active point guards defensively (Ridnour and Daniels) and 30 fouls' worth of eager front-line defense: Evans, Jerome James, Radmanovic, Fortson and Collison. Fortson especially has added the defense-mindedness McMillan had been seeking for so long, and the team's commitment to making a better effort at this end (Radmanovic is a prime example) means McMillan doesn't have to rely as much on gimmick defenses as he used to.

STAYING POWER
Advantage: Suns

Both teams are going to hear the same question for the next 60 games: Can they keep this up? Both teams will be reminded daily that success in the playoffs demands an interior presence at both ends and the ability to win games played in the 80s, not in the hundreds.

If you force us to choose one, Phoenix gets our vote simply because it has five top-shelf options on offense, increasing the likelihood that it can play its style in the postseason. It doesn't hurt that Nash has the experience of quarterbacking Dallas to the conference finals in 2002 playing a similar style.

Seattle has a more established pecking order offensively, but its ability to make this magic last beyond April depends on Allen and Lewis producing consistently as a tandem.

Either way, it's tough to envision either team's defense winning many games, and typically that's a playoff requirement.

LONG-TERM FUTURE
Advantage: Suns

It's an expensive future, after paying big dollars to Marion, Nash and Richardson and with Stoudemire and Johnson awaiting contract extensions. Yet Phoenix can elect to keep that fivesome together and continue to scour the landscape for reasonably priced role players to fill out its empty bench, or ultimately move a swingman (Marion, Richardson or Johnson) in exchange for size or depth.

Seattle's options are much more limited, because Schultz has shown little willingness to spend. No matter what happens during the season, the Sonics have to address the free-agent status of Allen, McMillan and general manager Rick Sund before they can even plot a down-the-road course. Which is why McMillan is constantly reminding his players that they better treasure the present.

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 03:10 PM
betcha can't tell who's excited for this game... :rolleyes: :tongue:

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 03:31 PM
A New Day in the NBA: Suns, Sonics Race Ahead...
DEFENSE
Advantage: Sonics

Besides rebounding, this is Seattle's major area of improvement.

McMillan, in his fourth season, has been longing for a team that would at least remember that the floor has two ends. No one's confusing the Sonics with the Spurs or the Pistons or even the Sonics of McMillan's era, but they have two active point guards defensively (Ridnour and Daniels) and 30 fouls' worth of eager front-line defense: Evans, Jerome James, Radmanovic, Fortson and Collison. Fortson especially has added the defense-mindedness McMillan had been seeking for so long, and the team's commitment to making a better effort at this end (Radmanovic is a prime example) means McMillan doesn't have to rely as much on gimmick defenses as he used to.
--------------------------------------------------

First off, this is a joke...Nevermind PPG allowed as that is not a telling stat of a teams defense. Too many things factor in to it, most of all game-tempo...

Secondly...
In defensive FG%
Phoenix ranks 4th at 42%
Seattle ranks 19 at 45%

In defensive 3FG%
Phoenix ranks 2nd at 31%
Seattle ranks 6th at 33%

In shotblocking
Phoenix ranks 1st at 6.7 per
Seattle ranks 26th at 3.8 per

In total rebounding
Phoenix ranks 5th at 44 per
Seattle ranks 29th at 39 per

In defensive rebounding
Phoenix ranks 3rd at 32 per
Seattle ranks 30th at 27 per

The only area where Seattle is better in defense or rebounding is...

Offensive rebounds allowed
Phoenix ranks 30th at 17 per
Seattle ranks 6th at 11 per

But this can be explained by the FG%...Phoenix is a much better defensive FG% team than Seattle, meaning more missed shot, meaning more rebounds...It's hard to get offensive rebounds when Seattle allows you to score...

2002Alum
12-17-2004, 03:38 PM
Wow, you are stoked. :)

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 03:46 PM
Was it that obvious...damn...

2002Alum
12-17-2004, 03:47 PM
I don't get it... Aren't you a Lakers fan?

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 03:57 PM
Son-uva-***** NO!!!

Suns fan for life...

But I'm a student of the League and provide unbiased opinions on a great many topics...

I'm always informed and love to talk NBA with anyone willin'.

If you've gotton the notion from all the Kobe crap that's been on here lately, then me bad...but I think I stated several times that I still can't stand the guy, cause I can't.

But I'm referred to as the "Voice of reason and moderation" and the "Resident realist" on the AZcentral/Suns board...so I just try to be objective as much as I can.

I do however get amped over the Suns and cannot wait for tha game tonight.

I want the Suns to win, but I'll be honest, in tonights matchup, everyone who watches is a winner cause these teams will run, shoot, score, dunk, cut, pass...ya know, like int he 1980's and early 1990's...

The Fun has returned to the court and I'm the Judge.

Let us proceed...

2002Alum
12-17-2004, 03:59 PM
[QUOTE=JMarkJohns]Son-uva-***** NO!!!

Suns fan for life...

QUOTE]

I figured you were a Lakers fan by your Location. If it said Phx or somethin other than that long paragraph about the Lakers I would have understood that you were a Suns fan.

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 04:05 PM
Jack don't go to Suns game in Phoenix...I was there when the Suns beat the Lakers a week ago...When the Suns trailed by 13 with five minutes left, then went on a 15-0 run to get back into the game, ultimately winning on Q's 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left...

Score was 113-110...great, great game...Jack was visibly upset, but was glad to see those Laker Girls...He just couldn't understand how that much woman could fit into that little of spandex...he was quite the inquirer...

Notice the "gettin' trounsed....good time in deed"...

2002Alum
12-17-2004, 04:08 PM
So I take it your a Suns fan living in LA?

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 04:11 PM
No I live in Yuma, Az., but have a vivid imagination...living in Yuma will do that to ya.

I work for "THE SUN" newspaper, in the Sports Department, mostly doing page design and layout and taking call from coaches and keeping the various stats, but I cover games as well...

It's a good job, decent pay, bt the cost of living in Yuma is dirt cheap.

You can get a brand new, sub-developement home, four beds, 2-1/2 bath, 2-car garage for $130-thou...like I said, DIRT CHEAP...

That and I grew up here and it's doubled in size in the last 10 years. Went from 4 HS's to soon to be 8...We get to cover alot of professional games (Suns, Dbacks, Padres, Cardinals, Chargers...) and have covered the Super Bowl (in San Diego), three Fiesta Bowls (including National Championship 2002) and have our very own minor League baseball team comin'...

I love the area and the Job, why would I leave???

2002Alum
12-17-2004, 04:14 PM
No I live in Yuma, Az., but have a vivid imagination...living in Yuma will do that to ya.

I work for "THE SUN" newspaper, in the Sports Department, mostly doing page design and layout and taking call from coaches and keeping the various stats, but I cover games as well...

Okay it all makes sense now, Yuma. :) Sounds like a fun job.

DCCat
12-17-2004, 04:17 PM
No one's confusing the Sonics with the Spurs or the Pistons or even the Sonics of McMillan's era, but they have two active point guards defensively (Ridnour and Daniels) and 30 fouls' worth of eager front-line defense: Evans, Jerome James, Radmanovic, Fortson and Collison.
This would be the Luke Ridnour of "he can't guard the chair I'm sitting on" fame. Perhaps he is active, but active and effective (defensively) are two different things.

Alright, I'm just having fun. That Jay Bilas quote is one of my favorites.

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 04:19 PM
It's hectic, but overall, ya can't beat it if ya like Sports...ye never out the loop.

In fact, I stated this in my first ever post on this board...I know about 15 writers around the country, including one that invited me to keep stats at the Chicago Pre-draft camp the last two years...I haven't been able to go, but am planning on it this year.

I hope to have a stadium named after me when Yuma becomes a 1-million populated city...ya know, ala Jack Murphy in San Diego...

"Go West young man. Go West and grow young with the country..."
- Horace Greely...

EDIT: The stadium thing was a joke, BTW...

JMarkJohns
12-17-2004, 04:21 PM
This would be the Luke Ridnour of "he can't guard the chair I'm sitting on" fame. Perhaps he is active, but active and effective (defensively) are two different things.

Alright, I'm just having fun. That Jay Bilas quote is one of my favorites.

That's exactly right...besides, Nash is the best halfcourt Point in the League (then Bibby) and he knows his way around his defender.

I'll take me chances every time they come with that matchup.

UofAcat23
12-17-2004, 11:57 PM
Um... Yikes...

JMarkJohns
12-18-2004, 12:12 AM
Down 17 in the first quarter, only down 2 at half...not a bad second for the Suns...So far, it's been fun to watch, though my stomach is int knots...

UofAcat23
12-18-2004, 02:17 AM
Damn JMark... wanna predict some Wildcat wins for us???

JMarkJohns
12-18-2004, 02:23 AM
Unfortunately, I have a very limited knowledge of the NCAA..

I follow, don't study...

This game sucked...in a good way. I didn't do anything and I'm exhausted.

By the fourth I was so into the game, that when a Sonic went to the line and the camera was zoomed in on his face...I'd poke the 'stard in the eye...ya know, so he'd miss...

When the Suns, trailing by 7 with 3 minutes remaining, started to make their rally, I didn't move until the game was over...'cept to poke the 'stards in the eyes of course.