Monday, December 7, 2009
The Come Up: Suns, sizzle and soldiers
By Jeff "Skin" Wade
Monday means “The Come Up” –- looking ahead at the Mavericks’ schedule. This week is a little light with only three games, but some tough sledding and one of the best nights of the year at the AAC are all on the docket. And it go a lil' summin' like this:
Two teams in need of a big win
The Phoenix Suns come to town Tuesday with a nice overall record, but they are reeling of late and some analyst/writer types have doubted the validity of their beefy record. Sound familiar?
Phoenix fell to 15-6 last night after the Lakers ran them by 20. That’s their third loss in four games -- with 17 being the closest margin. In all three losses they failed to reach the 100 point mark – the only three times that’s happened this season to a team that averages over 110 and outscores their opponents by an average of 4.5.
To be fair, the Suns have played 14 of their games on the road and are undefeated at home, but this is another roadie for them so it’s fair to assume the travel has caught up with them. Considering that this game is followed up with trips against Orlando, Denver and San Antonio, and life stays hard for Phoenix.
Nash is doing the MVP routine with a league-leading 11 assists, and his 17 points a night comes on over 50 percent shooting. You know what Amare Stoudemire does, and adding Channing Frye to play the five and spread the floor was a nice off-season move. Of the Suns’ top seven scorers, only Stoudemire isn’t shooting above 40 percent from behind the arc -- and that’s because he’s only taken one and missed it. This is the Mike D’antoni-styled Suns, which means a Mavs team coming off back-to-back season low scoring outputs has a good opportunity to do something about it.
Does this game still bring back awful memories?
In my little old opinion, the Miami Heat are pretty underrated. Well, their starting five are at least.
Not much needs to be said about Dwyane Wade. He’s one of the five best players in the league. Watching him and Kobe go at it last Friday night was that whole “amazing happens” thing to the fullest.
The Heat’s ultimate fate this season will really just come down to how much Michael Beasley can grow into stud second banana learning how to play off of D-Wade. You pretty much know what Jermaine O’Neal and Quentin Richardson will give you, but how much can Beasley improve on his current 15 and 7 on 45 percent shooting (22 percent from three)?
Miami is one of those teams that practically averages the exact same numbers as their opponents. With a team that isn’t very deep, they want to stay in the game and put it in Wade’s hands at the end and let him win it for them.
That’s kind of a microcosm for what this whole season is about.
Miami is in a holding pattern – waiting to see what they can do with their cap flexibility this upcoming summer when they’ll resign Wade and put the ball in his hands to see who he can talk into coming and playing with him in a beautiful city full of beautiful people. Just keep it close and let him win it for you.
Best night of the year
The Charlotte Bobcats are in town Saturday for the Seats For Soldiers event. Courtside season-ticket holders give up those amazing seats to a group of amazing men and women who have put their lives in harm’s way to serve this country. It’s proven to be an emotional, special night the last few seasons.
Charlotte has started to get their act together since they acquired Stephen Jackson and played .500 ball in the 10 games that he’s been in the lineup. Larry Brown teams defend, often to the detriment of their offense. But one can argue that Jackson has had a definite impact in that regard as the Cats have even broke the 100-point threshold in three of the wins since he arrived.
But with D.J. Augustin seemingly taking a step back this season, only in Jackson, Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace (to a lesser degree) do the Cats have dudes who can really put the ball in the basket in a way that causes big stress.
And like most mediocre teams, Charlotte is also bad on the road with only one win. But to their credit, it was on the second night of a back-to-back (against the Wiz), which is noteworthy since Charlotte will be playing the Spurs the night before.
One last thought - Dallas fans who were so paranoid about the Mavs potentially becoming “that” team to lost to the Nets will get a chance to actually see “that” team. Charlotte lost to New Jersey last Friday just one game after the Nets lost to Dallas to set the record with an 0-18 start.