Preview: New Jersey Nets (10-27) at Phoenix Suns (15-21)

Phoenix Suns 118, New Jersey Nets 109 OT


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Wednesday night’s game could be a telling one, which seems strange because it’s against the lowly New Jersey Nets.

Some might call the Phoenix Suns “lowly” as of late, as they have lost eight of their last 10 games, including some to the NBA’s worst squads.

But taking on the Nets, who the Suns have swept in three of the past four seasons, could be an indicator of whether the Suns will start winning games they should and hang on or simply bang their heads against the rock bottom they hit Tuesday night in Denver.

Ever since center Marcin Gortat said “it can’t get worse,” things have gotten exponentially worse. Losing to the Kings after being up 12 in the fourth quarter. Getting thrashed in Amare Stoudemire’s return to Phoenix. And then the team’s worst loss of the season at the hands of the Nuggets.

Things have gotten so bad for the Suns that President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby apologized to Suns fans Wednesday morning on Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf show.

“I apologize on behalf of our team for that game last night,” Babby told the radio hosts. “We’re all watching the same thing and it doesn’t do me any good in my position to sugarcoat it.”

Babby went on to say that “it’s one thing to lose, [and] it’s another thing not to compete.” He also said that the team has yet to find its camaraderie and chemistry, but that it’s not too late to do so.

In truth, it may simply be that this particular group of players, all talented in their own right, might not have any chemistry. The Suns failed to find any chemistry with their season-opening roster and haven’t done it yet with their retooled roster.

Things have undoubtedly been very bleak lately, but the Suns are not out of it yet. At 15-21, the Suns are 3.5 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. With an easier second half of January, the Suns could make up some ground. As we’ve observed though, wins against the likes of Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington are no longer guarantees. Plus, it will also take wins against contenders.

With the Nets in town, the Suns get a look at the Eastern Conference’s second-worst team. The Suns were able to beat the East’s worst (Cleveland on Sunday) and should be able to take out New Jersey if they are able to get the ball in the basket. The Nets average the second-fewest points per game (91.9) in the NBA.

While the Nets work to get a blockbuster deal done with the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Suns avoid seeing back-to-back Carmelo. Not that it matters too much to an already-bad Nets team, but playing while waiting for your ticket to be punched out of town can’t be easy.

Wednesday’s game also marks one of two annual Lopez vs. Lopez matchups. The Suns’ Robin Lopez, however, checks in well below his brother Brook. Robin’s 7.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game probably have Suns fans wishing for the other Lopez (18.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game).

More than anything though, Wednesday’s game is the Suns’ chance to answer Babby’s challenge that not competing will not be accepted.

Tags: New Jersey Nets Phoenix Suns Preview

  • Zak

    At this point I’m tempted to say screw team “chemistry” and just give me some team TALENT. Steve is still super but he can’t carry the team by himself. I also still love Grant Hill. Dudley is still on my “love list” and Gortat is fast becoming a fav of mine. Frye continues to improve but he’s still a 2nd team role player on anyone’s team. Warrick and Pietrus have promise but only as 2nd teamers. Dragic is a potential starter in the NBA but not just yet. Childress has promise to become a very good “sixth man” player if given the opportunity. Carter is done. He doesn’t want to be in Phoenix and probably is just giving as much effort as possible to show other teams that he can still play in hopes that someone will offer him at least a fairly good contract next year after the Suns buy him out or that he might get traded to a better team before the trade deadline. Lopez… I have NO idea what his problem is this year. He’s just turned into a no-show whenever he plays and goes through the motions of actually giving a s#!t on the court. But if I really knew more than Gentry then I would be coaching in the NBA. I’m not. I just want to see the Suns have at least a respectable season this year.

  • Steve

    No way I’m paying to go wath the Suns stink it up against NJ. I’ll have fun watching it on my big screen, cursing at the game in the privacy of my own home.

  • TheDane

    Please please please trade Carter!

    Imagine Josh Smith would come walking through that door…

  • derek


  • derek

    trade nash , pietrus fyre to atlanta for josh smith and 2nd round pick

  • Daniel

    I saw someone post a comment about how they went to the game, sat behind the suns bench, ad gave a first hand account of what garbage VC is(snapped at Frye over that idiotic chalk thing, and mocked Goran after he got a T). I wish Gentry would just DNP him, it’s his contract thats alluring trade-bait anyways. In short, F Vince Carter