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The Crippler
03-15-2006, 12:05 AM
don't beat the Suns if they meet in the 1st round. Artest has really made this team better and they have a really good starting line up. Shareef and Bonzie off of the bench is not bad either. And of course, Bibby has had a couple of very good series' vs. Nash. Why are the Suns or Denver, if they get up to 6 seed, favored...or are they even favored at all in Denver's case? How good are the Kings? Opinions?

Thespiralgoeson
03-15-2006, 12:47 AM
This is more of a knock on the Suns than it is a compliment to the Kings, but if the two teams meet up in the first round, I wouldn't be all that surprised to see the Kings take the series. As Mavs fans, we're all well aware of what Bibby can do to Nash. The Kings are also deeper, and better defensively (now) It would be very fun to watch Marion and Artest match up. I'd be very surprised if that series didn't go at least 6 games.

Artest has no doubt changed their identity completely, giving them that much-needed defensive toughness, but notice they've also been much better since replacing Shareef in the starting lineup. Even before the season started, I knew that putting Miller and Shareef on the floor together would only mean disaster for them because neither can defend or rebound.

As for how good they are, they're still a second-tier team, but their future is unquestionably much brighter than it was before the Peja-Artest trade (as is Indiana's) They've got a pretty good core with Artest, Bibby and Miller. I'd say they're probably a 50-win calibur team again, but if they want to be legit contenders again, they need a big-name power forward who can properly fill the void Webber left when they traded him. If they could trade for Bosh or land him in free agency next summer, that would make them contender again IMO.

Dtownsfinest
03-15-2006, 01:31 AM
Suns should beat them. Artest makes the Kings a better team but who would Artest guard? Nash? Marion? Kings will give anyone matchup problems in the first round but if I were a Suns fan I wouldn't be too worried about them. Artest is a beast though and he's got his head on straight for the moment.

Thespiralgoeson
03-15-2006, 01:53 AM
Remember how Kobe always used to give Nash fits? Artest could do the same. He can guard four positions effectively. It's what makes him, in my opinion, the best defensive player in the NBA. He can guard pretty much anyone on their team.

Phoenix should win that series, but I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't.

EricaLubarsky
03-15-2006, 02:16 AM
It all depends on Amare. Kings can more than take care of everyone barring a strong re-emergence of Stoudamire.

Thespiralgoeson
03-15-2006, 02:23 AM
You're right, EL, but I seriously doubt Amare will be back this season. They've really got nothing to gain by brining him back, and a whole lot to lose. I think they'd be much better served by bringing back next year.

Murphy3
03-15-2006, 08:58 AM
If Amare's back, does he help the Suns this year?

The Crippler
03-15-2006, 10:47 AM
If Amare's back, does he help the Suns this year?

i don't think so.

as to who artest guards...either marion or boris diaw. Not saying the Kings are an elite team by any means, but the more I have been watching them, the more I see them knocking off the suns this year...of course, that's as long as artest doesn't do something stupid.

chumdawg
03-15-2006, 11:31 AM
I couldn't care less about Suns/Kings. But what I am *very* intrigued by is Spurs/Kings or Mavs/Kings.

In fact, I'm starting to believe that I would rather face the Clips, if I were the Mavs, than the Kings or Lakers.

orangedays
03-15-2006, 11:36 AM
Marion, D'Antoni confident title is possible, even short-handed (Linkage (http://www.azcentral.com/sports/suns/articles/0315sunsnotes0315.html))

Paul Coro
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 15, 2006 12:00 AM

SEATTLE - Kurt Thomas is on crutches and Amaré Stoudemire is not getting touches.

What if Thomas' foot and Stoudemire's knee don't improve to playing condition and the Suns have to enter the postseason without the post tandem they envisioned closing the gap on San Antonio? Can they be a title contender without them?

"Why wouldn't we be?" Suns All-Star Shawn Marion said. "We've been doing it thus far. We'd just have to keep doing what we have been."

The same questions would confront Phoenix about its ability to withstand playoff foes on the front line defensively and in rebounding. The Suns do presume they will get Brian Grant back soon to help their trio of big men - Boris Diaw, Tim Thomas and Marion.

"We could only win a championship, baby," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said of a postseason without the two big men. "That's as far as we can go. We won 12 of 14 (entering Tuesday) and Kurt didn't figure in most of those and neither did Amaré. We beat some good teams on the road. We beat Dallas on the road. We're a pretty confident group."

Stoudemire said his right knee, which has swelling, was sore again Tuesday. His October surgery was on his left knee, which he said would be ready to go if it were not for the fluid buildup at the rear of his right knee.

"I think it will get better," Stoudemire said. "Hopefully, I'll feel better (today)."

'Junior' starts again

With hopes of jump-starting his team, D'Antoni moved James Jones back into the starting lineup in place of Tim Thomas. He said the move had nothing to do with Thomas' play but more with how his rotation worked. With all three of his rotation's big men starting, it was difficult to get Jones many minutes.

"It coincided with Junior getting well," D'Antoni said of Jones' recent foot injury. "We need him and he seems to be feeling better.

"Maybe Tim can play quicker bursts. We need that. We need to pick up our speed - from everybody."

• Marion moved into fifth on the Suns all-time scoring list during Sunday's game at Portland, passing Paul Westphal's career total of 9,564 points. He trails Walter Davis (15,666), Alvan Adams (13,907), Kevin Johnson (12,747) and Dick Van Arsdale (12,060).

orangedays
03-15-2006, 11:37 AM
If Amare's back, does he help the Suns this year?

Stoudemire sounds down on returning this season (Linkage (http://www.azcentral.com/sports/suns/articles/0313amare0313.html))

Paul Coro
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 13, 2006 12:00 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. - When Amaré Stoudemire comes back, when Amaré Stoudemire comes back, when Amaré Stoudemire comes back . . .

It's been the favorite phrase in NBA hypotheses involving the Suns this season, but maybe the more appropriate thing to say, based on the outlook Stoudemire gave Sunday, is if Amaré Stoudemire comes back.

"It's still 50-50," Stoudemire said, sounding more discouraged than at any point of his rehabilitation process from an October microfracture procedure on his left knee.

"If I'm not ready, then I'm not ready. Right now, I'm not ready."

His shaken confidence comes from a problem in his right knee, where a fluid buildup behind the kneecap has stunted his comeback for the past two weeks.

He has considered not coming back at all this season more than ever in the past week, he said, "because every time I play ball one day, the next day I feel a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort" in the right knee.

"I figured I'd be ready by now," Stoudemire said. "My right knee is hurting more than my left. I think it's just from overcompensating - a little fluid buildup that's in there. I'm just trying to get that out and get back. Once I get the rest and the treatment, it goes away. Then I have three strong days and it comes back. I haven't played a five-on-five game yet so I haven't put it to the test."

After Phoenix's 111-101 loss to Portland, Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson said Stoudemire's right knee had improved after two days of rest.

Stoudemire said he has had a "rough" time since playing full- and half-court games of three-on-three on Friday. On a scale from 1 to 10, he said he reaches a peak of eight only to go back down to a five.

"I had four real good days back to back to back to back, but after that, my right knee became real stiff and at times it's kind of rough to get around," he said.

Stoudemire said he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test that showed only buildup and the normal wear and tear of an NBA player.

He was cleared to play by the Suns medical staff, leaving the onus on Stoudemire to decide when he feels he is able to play games.

"I'm medically cleared as far as the healing process and as far as everything healing up correctly, but as far as pain level and discomfort level in my mind, I'm not really cleared yet," said Stoudemire, who said his right knee feels tight and stiff and hurts when his leg is extended.

"If it was up to my left knee right now, I probably would've played last week."

Stoudemire said he still feels he has two weeks to a month to come back. He said he will not make a sudden day-of-game decision to return but will wait until he has four to six consecutive days of "feeling great."

For Stoudemire, that means more than just dunking and getting his vertical leap back to where it was. It means being able to stop on a dime, hit his jump shot and run without conditioning problems.

Dtownsfinest
03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
Remember how Kobe always used to give Nash fits? Artest could do the same. He can guard four positions effectively. It's what makes him, in my opinion, the best defensive player in the NBA. He can guard pretty much anyone on their team.

Phoenix should win that series, but I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't.


Then who's to guard Marion? He'll go wild on the Kings who have no interior defense. I would think Artest would be the one to guard him and that would leave Bibby to guard Nash. I think when Kobe use to give Nash fits I think it had more to do with Nash than Kobe though Kobe's a great defender.


At this point I think the Suns are better suited to go further in the playoffs with the current squad they have than with Amare. That is if Amare isn't going to play up to his potential. He's missed damn near the whole season. I doubt he comes back ready to play. Its going to take him some time to get the rust out.

Thespiralgoeson
03-15-2006, 08:23 PM
Then who's to guard Marion? He'll go wild on the Kings who have no interior defense. I would think Artest would be the one to guard him and that would leave Bibby to guard Nash. I think when Kobe use to give Nash fits I think it had more to do with Nash than Kobe though Kobe's a great defender.


Well of course Artest wouldn't guard Nash ALL THE TIME. Only for small stretches. As I said before, Bibby/Nash is definitely a matchup that favors the Kings. Artest would guard Marion, and he would probably do a damn good job. Marion is not a guy who can create his own shot. In fact, that's the only thing that separates him from the likes of Dirk, Duncan, LeBron, and the other elite forwards, as well as the fact that he's a bad passer. If he could do those things, he might be the best player in the NBA.