Phoenix Suns 113, Houston Rockets 110 — Hak to the rescue

Posted by on March 9th, 1:36 am

PHOENIX — Hakim Warrick came to Phoenix for a chance to revitalize his career next to Steve Nash for a playoff-caliber team craving a pick-and-roll player at the power forward spot.

Warrick showed flashes of being that guy throughout the first month and a half of the season, but ever since the Suns imported Marcin Gortat from Orlando Warrick has seen his role diminish by the day.

He went almost two months without scoring in double figures after the trade and he had not played more than 24 minutes in a game since the deal, with Gortat and Channing Frye doing the heavy lifting upfront.

But with Frye’s separated shoulder leaving a gaping hole in the Suns’ front line, Warrick took full advantage of the opportunity with the kind of performance that makes us remember why Hak was called Amare Lite at the beginning of the season.

Warrick scored a career-high 32 points on 14-for-19 shooting to go with eight boards and four assists in the Suns’ 113-110 victory over the Houston Rockets, a back and forth affair that wasn’t decided before Brad Miller missed badly on a potential game-tying three in the final seconds.

“I know, collectively, everyone is going to have step up their game,” Warrick said of the Suns without Frye. “He’s a big part of this team, this organization and he’s been playing so well for us, so I just wanted to go out there and be aggressive and just do my part.”

Warrick did that and more in his 40 minutes of work, which is about twice as much as he usually plays on a good night.

Hak was very bouncy in the lane, rising up quickly to finish plays, and he also knocked down 6-of-8 shots outside the paint, quite the efficient performance especially considering one was a stupid three.

For one night he offered up an Amare Lite performance, although we have seen this for stretches from Warrick before. He’s put up dominant halves like this but never a full game as he broke the 20-point mark for the first time since Dec. 5.

“Hakim’s had good games for us,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “He’s had really good games for us. He had a game where he had 26 points in the first half. I think he’s one of those guys who, the longer he’s out there, the more comfortable he gets. He got some early baskets that settled him down.”

It would be ridiculous to think Warrick will provide the Suns with anything close to a 32-8-4 on better than 70 percent shooting as his MO his whole career, especially this season, is to sprinkle in sparkling performances like this one with frustrating inconsistency.

But if Warrick can space the floor from mid-range and provide the Suns with a lethal pick-and-roll partner for Nash, they should be able to weather the storm without Frye.

On this night the Suns received some extra help from Vince Carter, who has exploded for 29 and now 32 in the last two games. Combined with Warrick’s effort the Suns got their first pair of players to score at least 30 in the same game since Amare and J-Rich pulled the trick March 22 of last season. Fitting, right?

Carter dominated the second half in a way J-Rich rarely did, scoring 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting while playing all but 2:09 of the half, and he singlehandedly kept the Suns in the game by scoring 11 of 13 during one stretch. Best of all, he never shot the Suns out of it with poor shot selection late, scoring eight more between the four- and two-minute marks of the game.

“It was a bounce back for me,” Carter said. “I couldn’t wait to get back on the floor.

“I wanted to give a better effort at the end of the game. I have to close the game out. That last five minutes is when I thought about it most, just go out there and be the player that you are.”

In the end, the much-hyped backup point guard battle of players facing their former teams was just a footnote in this one, but former Sun Goran Dragic was the clear winner.

Dragic incessantly pestered Brooks and seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder as he got right up into Brooks’ shorts on defense and went for six points and three assists in 12 minutes of action in which the Rockets gained five points. He missed all four of his shots got to the line eight times.

Brooks, meanwhile, went scoreless while missing six shots and handing one just one helper in 12:29.

“Both of them are trying to find their way,” Gentry said. “I’m extremely happy with Aaron. I think he’s going to be a very good player as I told the coaches on Houston’s team that Goran’s going to be a pretty good player, but right now they’re trying to find their way and figure out how they can help their team and both of them are going to be fine, I think.”

Dragic drew warm applause from the Phoenix faithful when he checked in at the tail end of the first quarter and played with a passion that he lacked much of the season. Clearly matching up against his mentor and the guy he was traded for meant a little something extra to The Dragon.

“It’s emotional,” Dragic said. “For sure you want to show the people that you can play, that you’re good enough, and that’s just business.”

Neither Dragic nor Brooks factored into the outcome with Kyle Lowry going off for 32 points and seven threes and Nash managing the game with 14 assists despite taking only five shots.

His missed free throw after five makes gave Houston one final chance to tie, but when Jared Dudley prevented the piping hot Lowry from getting a shot off and Miller’s desperation heave missed everything the Suns had themselves a win against a sizzling Rockets team that had won seven of eight.

And 1

Mickael Pietrus earned himself an early trip to the showers with 9:03 remaining in the second quarter by verbalizing a choice word that started with an ‘F’ to a ref. Gentry’s thoughts on losing Pietrus while shorthanded: “I don’t want to say it. I don’t think it’s for PG TV. I was a little disappointed in that. We’re a little bit shorthanded, and obviously we need him.” … The Suns have won seven in a row against Houston, matching the longest streak in series history for either squad. The last such run started in 1969. … Phoenix has scored at least 110 in eight straight against the Rockets for the first time since the early 1970s. They have averaged 115.3 points per game during the stretch. … The Suns have won eight of 12 against winning teams. … Marcin Gortat went for 13 points and 16 big boards as the Suns won the rebounding battle 41-36. … The Suns overcame their eighth home double-digit deficit of the year. They have 18 home wins. … The Suns have won six in a row after a loss. … Aside from Gortat’s 13, Phoenix got just two points (from Josh Childress of all people) off the bench. … This one was a Wildcat reunion of sorts with Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger starting and Lute Olson and former Cat Mohamed Tangara sitting courtside. Matt Brase and Jesse Mermuys (former members of the program) watched the game as scouts, and Frye, of course, was there in street clothes. … Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and former D-back Orlando Hudson were in attendance as well.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Aaron Brooks · Goran Dragic · Hakim Warrick · Houston Rockets · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap · Vince Carter

56 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Penny And 1 // Mar 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Nothing against Brooks, he’s a good kid, but I missed Dragic out there.

    It’s an awesome lineup to have Nash, Hill, Carter, Warrick, and Gortat out there, especially when Carter & Warrick are really into it. They’re basically unstoppable.

    I was entertained, I skipped my job just to watch it live.

    Go Suns!

  • 2 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:15 am

    First, I need to get out more building frustration.

    Makes me sick like I’m a small child on one of those “please help the children of Africa” commercials when I see Dragon in that red uniform. Angers me to no end.

    They’re not going to pay Brooks after this season; he’s going to want to get PAID. Sarver won’t do it and even if Nash remains we’re going to need a backup point guard. if Nash leaves we’re going to need a starting point guard. It’s not like Nash is in the front office saying: “Make moves or I’m gone!”

    Dragon should still be a Phoenix Sun. He didn’t find the rim on his shot but he showed what he could be as a starter in the league. Still making passes. Aggressive enough to get to the stripe A LOT and far superior defense to two-time.

    Stupid $@$@ing trade.

    Anyway!

    I posted a stat on Prince Hakim. Something along the lines of 16.5PPG when he logs 20+ minutes. Well, 40 minutes got 32 points out of him in areas that JJ Hickson hasn’t even practiced yet.

    Normally I wouldn’t even care about a few jump shots going in but they looked the same every time. They didn’t rattle much and the misses weren’t that far off. It’s almost like….

    He’s been….. working on that part of his game behind the scenes. Could it be?

    No. I don’t expect him to drop 30 per game whenever he logs 40 or more minutes. But I do expect good Frye-type numbers out of him while Frye’s shoulder is all Lethal Weapon’d.

    THORTAT!?!?! lightning bolted 16 boards. Don’t care about the 13 points. SIXTEEN RIPS! Love that effort. I hope he continues to evolve and grow with this opportunity, (meaning grow enough to make sure that he doesn’t get traded for Thabeet or, anybody slightly better than him **meaning BAD**), and is able to remain in PHX long term.

    DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ AND PRESS ACCEPT TO CONTINUE –
    I am about to praise Vince Carter. If you have a weak heart, or a tumor of some sort that might make you go into a seizure or any variation of a panic attack be sure to skip ahead. If you are of normal mind and are able to handle the following text like an adult, please click accept and read on.

    []Accept []Decline []ALL OF THE LIGHTZZZZZ!!!

    OK so I’m not saying that the Warlocks have begun to feed Carter large amounts of souls they purchased on special from Eddy Curry’s left stomach.
    I’m not saying that bashing his head the other night has caused him to care, (outside of those two FAIL-throw attempts late in that game the other day), but what in the world is going on with Vinsanity?

    He has been straight beast mode for two games [in a row] and clutch enough when it matters most! (I KNOW RIGHT!?! IMPOSSIBLE!?!?)

    When he comes to the building in care-mode and actually plays within the system and uh, attempts to try on defense, he’s still a freakin scary dude isn’t he?

    He was flame-throwing the Rockets in the 4th. I’m pretty sure I saw him put the Suns on his back, (his legs didn’t give out), and he carried them to that victory.

    I know that I bash on Vince Carter a lot these days, (overall I still think he is Vinvisible until further beast mode games occur), but the truth is that the Suns are going to need him to bring this sort of heat for at least half of the remaining games to have any sort of hopes for a playoff seed.

    Though I can’t stand him, I hope that he can come through for us.

    Oh and Pietrus, c’mon son… for real son? c’mon son. (Talib reference).

  • 3 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Oh, how clever. Vince + Invisible = Vinvisible. What a goddamn genius you are!

    And it doesn’t matter if you “think” he’s “vinvisible”, because you’re lying. He’s still and above average player even this season, and his numbers prove it. There are several “invisible” players on this team, but he is not one of them.

  • 4 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:26 am

    >>but what in the world is going on with Vinsanity?<<

    He's scored over 20,000 points dummy. Just because he goes into slumps doesn't mean he "doesn't care" or is "invisible". It just means he's gone into a slump. ALL players go into slumps, but idiots for some reason bash VC like he isn't allowed to go into a slump like every other player.

  • 5 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Dirk – I think you should’ve checked decline and moved on.

    Though I’ve got to try to get more into your mind about your claims that VC is an “above average” player, (making him what, a C+ / B- thus placing him in the bottom 33% of “good” players category), and how that relates to the Suns win / loss returns so far this season post-ORL trade.

    You talk about his numbers, but what good are they if he isn’t bringing winning results on a nightly or near-nightly or uh-kind-of-weekly basis?

    I’m sorry but I’m not going to fully back a dude that shows up once every five games and out of the games that he does blast off we win what, 1 out of 3? 2 out of 5? Nah. That still places him in the hot-garbage-on-a-sweltering-day-in-hell category.

    5-2 over the last 7, correct?

    Over the last seven games, I think Carter went off what, 4 times? Lets give him 4 Vinsanity games out of 7. That means 3 games he was Vinvisible and didn’t matter, (those 3 games the Suns went 3-0).

    OKAY! Lets give him this game vs. Houston and the gave at the start of the road trip vs. Toronto. Those two Vinsanity games produced wins.

    The other two, (I think I’m spotting him a Vinsanity game), him going off did not bring home a win.

    So out of seven games he helped bring 2 wins! Lets round that up to once every 4 games Vince Carter shows up and we win. 3 games where he hibernates we win regardless. Erm, does this make sense?

    Nobody cares about his “above average” numbers.

    He isn’t getting any praise in the Valley, (fan boizzzz excluded), until he brings effort and wins like vs. Houston on a nightly basis.

  • 6 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:51 am

    >>He has been straight beast mode for two games [in a row] and clutch enough when it matters most! (I KNOW RIGHT!?! IMPOSSIBLE!?!?)<<

    Yeah, you're right. Because prior to these last two games he has never once come up big in the clutch. Oh wait, you're lying again:

  • 7 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

    >>Dirk – I think you should’ve checked decline and moved on.<<

    I don't care what you think. Nor does anybody else. You have this delusion that there is anybody in the world that actually cares what you have to say. Newsflash: there isn't.

  • 8 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

    >>Over the last seven games, I think Carter went off what, 4 times? Lets give him 4 Vinsanity games out of 7. That means 3 games he was Vinvisible and didn’t matter, (those 3 games the Suns went 3-0).<<

    See, this is where you're making yourself look stupid. Or should I say, even more stupid. A player doesn't have to "go off" to not be invisible. There is a middle ground you know. You can have an average or pretty good game, or even a slightly below average game. There is a continuum between "going off" and "invisible". It just requires an IQ over 70 to understand that.

    The other reason you look stupid, is because you ONLY rag on Vince like this. Hill and Nash have both had terrible games lately, but you're nowhere to be found when that happens. The fact is NO ONE on the Suns plays great every game, or even almost every game.

  • 9 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 6:01 am

    >>So out of seven games he helped bring 2 wins! Lets round that up to once every 4 games Vince Carter shows up and we win. 3 games where he hibernates we win regardless. Erm, does this make sense?<<

    About as much sense as the rest of your posts.

    In every Suns games there are multiple players that have a below average game. But do you see me criticizing them in every game thread? No. Because that's the nature of basketball. You have some good games and some bad games. That's why we judge players on by looking at season or career numbers, and not a single game.

  • 10 Steve // Mar 9, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I need to start my commute to work, Dirk. But trust me, I’ll get back to you.

  • 11 Sean // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Dirk – Rich is a regular here, and I for one enjoy reading his comments and respect his opinions. So yeah, there are people that care.

    What I don’t enjoy reading is people throwing personal insults, like when you accused Rich of having an IQ of less than 70. Take that somewhere else.

    If you want to talk basketball, that’s what we’re here for. I happen to share the opinion that it surprises me when Vince plays really well like he has the past 2 games. Usually he appears like he doesn’t want to try too hard. But when he does, he’s still pretty awesome.

    Posting videos from past seasons and mentioning his 20,000 career points give us his history, but we’re looking at Vince Carter today. He’s making $18 million (I think) and he’s 34. If he plays like the Toronto game and the past 2 games, he’s defintely worth it. I agree with you that not every player can bring it every night, but for a guy making $18M it should be expected more often than not.

    I only watched the game highlights, but it looked to me like Vince was shooting more off the catch than usual. Maybe that’s part of why he’ shooting better. Anyone else seeing this?

  • 12 YoMomMa // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:27 am

    When you make VC the focal point of your offense, it pays off well. If you allow VC to stand around waiting for jump shot passes then you get a VC that scores less than 10pts.

    You can be Kobe, Lebron, or Wade, it doesn’t matter. If the offense is a pick-n-roll offense with a PG and center as the focal point, wing players will become stale waiting around on the perimeter.

    I guarantee if you ask Kobe, Lebron, or Wade to play the kind of role VC has played on offense in Orlando and Phoenix, you will get to same kind of offensive production results. The Suns offense, just like Orlando, is designed for a PG and center pick-n-roll game with perimeter shooters.

    Run more plays for VC and let him run more pick-n-rolls, and you will get 25+ pts every time.

  • 13 Fred // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I read this everyday, but this is my first comment. On Brooks vs. Dragic: I for one am glad that Dragic is gone. He looks like a kid who can’t get himself under control. One minute he makes a great play but almost doesn’t understand how or why because the next minute he makes the same stupid mistakes he always makes. You can’t be an NBA guard and simply put your head down and dribble as fast and hard as you can to the basket. Sometimes good things will happen, sometimes they won’t. But you’ll never be consistent and you’ll never be a guy a coach can count on to run an offense. He has talent, I like him at times, loved him against the spurs, but he’s just not an everyday starting PG in the NBA.
    Brooks isn’t either I don’t think. Backup is good. In a 10 game stretch, Brooks beats Gortat in 7 or 8 of them. Last night was just one of those where Dragic’s hyper ADD kid act worked. But on the majority, Brooks will have far less turnovers, actually hit his free throws and passes on his drives instead of going to the hole out of control.

  • 14 Fred // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Meant to say “Brooks beats Dragic in 7 or 8 of them.”

  • 15 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Dirk – what I’m trying to explain to you is that “above average” to “great” players, while running an offense in a system, as you say, DON’T have to go off to contribute.

    For the most part with the Suns, if Vince Carter goes off it’s empty stats meaning, it doesn’t help produce wins. In a way, you’re proving my point for me.

    His offensive explosions have rarely come in situations where they benefit the team. Instead, for the most part, they come early in games or in bursts, but when it’s time to win a game, he starts taking 28 foot jump shots.

    History lessons only further cripple your defense of VC. To be honest, he hasn’t been worth anything since late in his New Jersey run, (and I’m giving him a couple of years there).

    @ YoMomMa – your comparing today’s Vince Carter to today’s Kobe, Wade, or LBJ. That, sir, is like comparing Robin Lopez to Tim Duncan today. It makes no sense.

    Obviously, you cannot make Vince Carter of today the focal point of the offense or you can force that issue like Gentry did, and end up with HOR-A-BULL results.

    That is, more than anything, also because of VINCE CARTER. See I know most of us are holding on to those candy-coated slam dunk champion dreams of a decade ago, but lets be real.

    Gentry tried to make Carter the focal point of the offensive system especially when Nash is sitting… **TIME OUT**

    ** To be the focal point of the offensive system means that you have to execute the ACTUAL OFFENSE INSTALLED ON A PARTICULAR TEAM as it is meant to be executed.

    Vince Carter? Well, for the most part he has been catching the ball out of the offensive flow and jacking up shots from eastern Tuscon or off-balance fade away jumpers. He has not been making that next pass to the open guy and instead he’s been shooting the team OUT of more games than he has helped keep them IN.

    When he does catch fire, for the most part, he doesn’t stop shooting even when he has obviously cooled off. He just keeps shooting.

    On the flip side, how can you run the offense through a guy that is only trying 2 out of every 6 games?

    You’re talking about him like he still wants to take it strong to the rim 24 / 7. He doesn’t even want to take it strong to the rim for 5 minutes out of 48.

    LBJ, Kobe, Wade, Dirk, Amare, and even Roy, (with no KNEES), rise to that next level in the fourth. Vince Carter gets benched in the fourth for games on end because Gentry can’t trust him.

    It’s obvious that, with the game on the line, Gentry goes with Nash number one, and Frye number two. If VC was really still on the same level as the guys you mentioned, he would not be the third, fourth, or ninth option.

    Those other guys you mentioned also play defense, especially LBJ and Mamba while Wade only really plays lock-down D in the final 5 minutes of a game.

    Two nice games in a row and 3 nice games in a 7 game span do not make a comeback player of the year guys.

    If he goes all Half Man Half Amazing for the rest of the year, I’ll shut up.

  • 16 Fred // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I’ll join the conversation about VC too. Vince is one of those guys in this stage of his career that you aren’t going to be able to count on every night. He’ll have some nights where he’ll carry the team (like last night), and then some nights where he’s the last guy you want. Since he’s a create his own shot guy, he’s only good to have in there when he’s hot. Otherwise, he shoots you out of games. So it seems like Gentry knows that and simply yanks him when he’s not shooting well. I don’t think he has to be the guy for the Suns to win games, but when he is hot the Suns will win.
    Definitely should not sign him after this year. He is an aging star and a shell of what he was. If he wants to sign for way less, than fine. But otherwise, let somebody else waste their money.

  • 17 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:55 am

    @ Fred – What you typed about Dragon is EXACTLY the reasoning given for giving up a young point guard we drafted out of Santa Clara forever go.

    The trade doesn’t help us in the short term.

    Didn’t bring us any closer to a championship.

    Makes the eventual rebuilding process that much harder because at least Dragon would have been the perfect point guard to pick up the keys that Nash would put down while having years under his belt as far as understanding the offense, (if Gentry remains).

    All he needed was minutes. Proper minutes with a stable set of teammates around him.

  • 18 Steve // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Sean made my point for me. At $18M per, you better be showing up EVERY night. If Amare wasn’t worth $18M per, Vince Carter definitely isn’t worth it.

    @YoMomMa – Vince has been sliding since before his Orlando days, and his production has fallen even more in Phoenix. Jason Richardson is a very similar player to VC, and JR did pretty well in this system (which is a very similar system to Orlando). But VC hasn’t scored 25 per since ’06-’07. He’s not going to give 25+ per night no matter how many shots we let him jack up.

    Let’s not forget, you VC lovers out there: 14/4/2. That’s his line. Tell me he would be scoring more points if we designed plays for him, and that’s fine, but where are his boards, where are his dishes? His FT% is way down, which also shows me he doesn’t care to work on it. I could go on about why I think VC is a chump, but I guess some of you are just never going to want to hear it. There is a reason why every team he has been with in the past hates him. He gives up. He has given up on every team he has played for so far.

  • 19 YoMomMa // Mar 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    @Rick

    You didn’t even address my point. I’m not comparing VC to Kobe, LeBron, or Wade. I’m talking about roles here.

    Imagine a Kobe on a Suns, Magic, or even Spurs team. Do you change your offense and let Kobe run the offense like a PG, hence neglecting a player like Nash, Jameer, or Tony Parker?

    Assume on the Suns you keep your PG-center pick-n-roll game with Nash. What does a player like Kobe do now? Same thing VC does. Sits around on the perimeter waiting for a dish-out pass for a jump shot.

    The reason teams like the Lakers and Heat do not have a traditional PG role on their team is because players like Kobe, LeBron, and Wade need the ball in their hands. So it’s pointless. The PG basically turns into a SG.

    VC has no egotistical problems playing a long side a great PG and a PG-center pick-n-roll offense.

    I guarantee you players like Kobe, LeBron, and Wade would not be happy in a PG-center pick-n-roll offense.

  • 20 YoMomMa // Mar 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

    @Steve

    Teams win championships. Not individual superstars. Look at Boston. Pierce was a nobody until Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett showed up. Kobe couldn’t win a championship until he got Gausol, Odom, Fisher, and Bynum. And LeBron and Wade could not win championships either without a good team.

    So you expecting VC to win championships when he hasn’t been on a championship calibre team?

    In Orlando, it was Dwight Howard’s team. Everything is designed to please Dwight Howard. No other player has the luxury of “taking over”. Imagine VC going all “Kobe” or “LeBron” in Orlando by hogging the ball. As long as it is Howard’s team, that is not going to happen.

    The NJ Nets lacked a big man to compete against the teams that had big men. A Nets team of Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson is not going to win championships. A Dallas team of Kidd, Dirk, and Jason Terry could not win championships either.

    And Toronto … nobody good wants to play in a foreign country.

    Put yourself in VC’s shoes.

    Would you risk shortening your career with injuries by forcing too much on a mediocre team? That is what happened in Toronto. VC suffered some tough injuries from his time in Toronto.

    At the end of the day, VC has to look out for himself and family. A longer career means more PAYCHEQUES and chances to win a championship.

    Why risk everything if its obvious your team sucks? Play team basketball. Play smart. Play REALISTIC.

  • 21 Steve // Mar 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Wow, Rich used to be the guy who defended Goran from my rants about how he wasn’t worth our time. Now you’re going to be my VC guy.

    The reason Kobe, LeBron, and Wade don’t have “traditional” PnR PGs (too…many…abbreviations) is because they don’t need it. They are transcendent players who don’t need others to create shots for them. They create shots for others. Essentially, they are their team’s PG. The Lakers’ offense goes through Kobe, just like ours goes through Nash. Instead of calling the position “PG,” I think we could just as well call it “floor general.” The Lakers already have a floor general. They don’t need another.

    VC is not a floor general. He doesn’t have the talent any more, and he never really had the mentality.

    I find it laughable that you’re praising Vince Carter for not being a prima donna. Ask Toronto fans or NJ fans how they feel about your sentiment. Vince Carter has NEVER been known as a team player. Now, I don’t think it’s impossible to change, but which is more likely?

    1. Vince realizes he stinks now and has no room to talk?
    2. Vince has had a change of heart after 12 years in the league, and now all he cares about is the welfare of the team?

  • 22 Freddy // Mar 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Good thing we don’t have to worry about Kobe, Lebum, or Wade playing in here. :P

    VC Still sucks in my book. I said it once and I will say it again. Dude will go off having a GREAT night… then will go on a 3-4 game drought doing absolutely nothing for the team. It was nice to see Warrick have a career night. I hope he can continue to bring it.

  • 23 Zak // Mar 9, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I agree with Steve. VC just isn’t worth $18 mil a year. The Suns will buy out the rest of his contract next year and hopefully put the savings into the FA market. That isn’t “VC hating”, it’s just pure economics.

    Whether you liked Dragic or not, trading him for Brooks AND giving away the 1st round pick in the deal was just dumb. I can only wonder what management’s future plans for him are.

    But Warrick really impressed me. I don’t expect him to put up those numbers every night but maybe playing more with Steve may have been what he needed to push his game to the next level. I suppose we’ll see against Denver tomorrow night and Orlando on Sunday.

  • 24 Furbs // Mar 9, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Fallacies, lies, and just plain falsehoods going on in here. At this point in Vince’s career he can’t get you consistent great production, which I’m sure bothers some of you with unrealistic expectations of him. Still, just because he’s not what you’d hope he’d be doesn’t mean you have to lie about the guy.

    Steve, Vince has always been known as a team player. Most NJ fans will attest to this and the toronto fans that don’t can’t be taken seriously because deep down they know that their franchises best seasons were with him leading the way.

  • 25 Cam // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I’m not a big VC fan but I’m glad he’s been playing well the last few games. I just wish he could’ve played like this prior to the trade deadline so we could’ve got some value out of him instead of just handing him a few mil after the season to make him go away. Go Suns.

  • 26 Steve // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    @Furbs – Team player =/= winning

    Just because Toronto and NJ had some good days when VC was there doesn’t mean VC was a team player. It means he was a good player. But he was always viewed as a cancer. Just google some old news articles about him from his NJ and Toronto days. They even hated him in Orlando for his one season there.

    I bet you think TO and Shaq would be great to have in a locker room as well.

  • 27 Keir // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Great win. Great play from Hakim and Vince.

    Man I’m sick of the way US fans love to hate players. Vince is on your team yet you repeat the same crap about him that his haters have always said despite it not being true.

    Vince is not a chucker. He has been a fairly efficient scorer for a SG for his whole career. I followed him in NJ where he carried their team at times. Vince does make the extra pass – to the guy who said he won’t I don’t know what to say. I think you make this shit up. Vince gets accused of being to passive then the next moment he won’t make the extra pass. Will you make your mind up!

    Sure Vince is not what he used to be and is way overpaid – but you knew that when he was traded for.

    I think the Vince hating here is remarkably stupid. I thought we were all Suns fans but it seems that for some of you hating Vince is bigger than supporting your team. Shame on you.

  • 28 Zak // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Lol. Furbs, the problem isn’t that anyone here has “unrealistic expectations” of Vince. Overall he’s exceeded my expectations. I applaud his efforts and wish him well… but he – at this point in his career – is just not playing well enough to earn that $18 mil a season. The trade with Orlando was on of those rare things that actually helped both teams. Turkoglu was playing poorly here and we wanted to dump him and his contract. He’s playing much better back with Orlando. WE got Gortat which filled a big need here. Pietrus gives us another good wing and a definite team upgrade from Clark who was just warming the bench. J-Rich and VC… well, Orlando got the better of us on that part of the deal but not by much. J-Rich was fairly inconsistent as VC has been. VC has been more inconsistent than J-Rich was but that’s the price we paid for unloading Hedo and Clark to get Gortat and Pietrus. It certainly wasn’t a great deal but it was a good one.

  • 29 Steve // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    @People who change their “name” to try to make it seem as if people agree with them:

    No one buys it.

    Not liking a player on your team is not the same as not supporting the team. For instance, Robin Lopez is a joke. I have no problem saying that. He looks like a lost puppy out there on the court, and he plays with absolutely no heart. Does that mean I hate the Suns?

    Do I have to love Paul Shirley when he’s in a Suns uniform? How about the wife-beater, Jason Kidd? Or the flopper, Danny Ainge (Manu is Ainge 2.0, and we all know how much we hate Manu’s flops)? Do I have to love Penny? How about Shaq?

    Loving the team and supporting the team is much different than hugging every player and telling him it’s going to be all right. Do I need to give any more analogies?

    If the Cardinals pick up TO, I will still hate him. If the DBacks went out and got A-Rod, I would still hate him. If the Suns got Duncan/Parker/Ginobili/Kobe/Shaq/Garnet/Any-player-who-thinks-it’s-cool-to-make-tough-guy-faces-when-they-do-something-good I would still hate him. I would. And I don’t think that diminishes my love for my team one bit. I want my team represented well, by classy guys who respect the game and love their organization. I have NO faith that VC is that kind of guy.

  • 30 Zak // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Keir, most of the people bashing VC would be bashing Turkoglu now if the trade hadn’t happened. The Suns TEAM just isn’t very good this year after we had a great season last year.

    And if Amare stays healthy for the next 3-4 years with the Knicks then the Suns made a VERY bad decision to let him go. Since then they’ve made some gambles to try and stay competitive which really haven’t worked out. I just hope that we don’t wind up on that mediocre treadmill that Cuban talked about.

  • 31 GOsuns // Mar 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    @Steve LMFAO wow… I kinds agree but showing nothing but showing negativity towards player does not help anyone. I agree that Rolo really needs to get his act together but on the other hand Vince hasn’t been a cancer to the suns and Gentry would not start him if he didn’t think that was best for the team. Personally, i think he and rolo should headline the second unit with brooks but whatever. The main problem with us is consistency across the whole dam board. We have a great set of players they just need to go out there and take it

  • 32 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    >>Two nice games in a row and 3 nice games in a 7 game span do not make a comeback player of the year guys.>>

    4 nice games. He was playing well in the Celtics game before he got hurt: 4-9 FG, 3-5 on threes, pretty good defense.

    And why are you complaining about him taking shots “from Tuscon”? He’s shooting 40% free 3 for the Suns. That’s better than Nash is shooting on the season. If he’s connecting at a good rate, than they’re not bad shots. They may be bad shots for other players, but VC has probably the deepest range in the league. He can hit those shots as his 40% from 3 proves.

  • 33 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    >>Sean made my point for me. At $18M per, you better be showing up EVERY night.<<

    Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas are making significantly more than $18m per. Do they show up every night? Ummm…no. check their numbers.

    McGrady was making over $18m per as recently as last season. Go check his game logs and tell me if he showed up every night.

    Even Kobe has plenty of terrible shooting games. And he makes $20m+ if I'm not mistaken.

  • 34 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    >>Let’s not forget, you VC lovers out there: 14/4/2. That’s his line. Tell me he would be scoring more points if we designed plays for him, and that’s fine, but where are his boards<<

    Where are his boards? He's averaging 5.4 rebounds per 36 minutes for the Suns. That is an EXCELLENT number for a guard. It's even better than his career average of 5.2 boards per 36 minuts.

    If 5.4 RP36 isn't good enough for you, I don't know what to tell you. You have ridiculous expectations. He's not a forward or a center, he's a guard.

  • 35 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    The peoeple saying Vince his hated by all his former teams, is viewed as a cancer, etc. are liars. No wonder they didn’t post any links to prove they were telling the truth. Because they weren’t. Vince was a great leader for the Nets. And that’s not just from the fans, that’s from his former teammates there:

    Nets miss Vince Carter’s leadership:

    http://www.northjersey.com/sports/pro_sports/basketball/nets/86493797_Nets_miss_Carter_s_leadership.html

    The fans love him in NJ too. His first game back there he got a standing ovation. It’s one thing to hate VC, but do you people really have to resort to lies? Is that how desperate you are?

  • 36 Zak // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Dirk, Lewis actually does make $19.5 mil a year but his stats are 11.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 1.6 apg … not worth the 19. 5 mil in my book. Arenas actually makes only $17.7 mil a year – NOT “significantly more than $18m” and his numbers this year are 11.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 4.4 apg. VC is making $17.5 mil this season and his numbers are 14.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 2.2 apg. LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh are ALL beating ALL of those numbers AND all earning 2-3 mil LESS per year. Grant Hill is putting up 13.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.5 apg for the Suns at the bargain basement price of $3.2 per year. Carter, Lewis and Arenas are ALL overpaid. And McGrady… lol, no one but Detroit was willing to take a chance on him this year. Yeah he was making $18 mil LAST year but now he’s making $854,389 for this season. And Kobe… well he’s still MAKING his money. Look at the Lakers record this season or at his stats (25.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.8 apg).

    VC, RL and GA are lucky to be making the money they are this year. Grant Hill deserves more. Kobe gets what he deserves for what he gives back to the Lakers.

  • 37 Mike // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Wow. Such a great game played the right way — I’m proud of the team more than anything. They had that fight and determination we saw last year in the playoff run.

    Mentally, they are there — so let’s hope we can stay healthy and make a great final push for the 5th or 6th seed.

    Wooden was right — success is measured by the quality of your effort. VC and the Suns win when their effort is good and they struggle when it is poor. Then, sometimes, like the OKC game, things just don’t work out. Shit happens.

    Looking forward to an awesome stretch run. Stay positive folks!

  • 38 Zak // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    And I’m done discussing VC. I agree again with Steve that there is someone making posts here under multiple names to try to “defend” VC. It’s not worth the effort to try to discuss anything with anyone who uses multiple nicks just to try and make people believe that others agree with his point of view.

  • 39 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    All of this ranting off of me PRAISING Vinvisible… Imagine how the fan boys would have reacted had I totally TRASHED his latest effort!

    At least VC still has KOBE RULLZZZZ / DROZEEEEE type of blind faith.

  • 40 Evan // Mar 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Once is a fluke, twice is luck, 3 times is skill, if Vince has a 3rd strait good game i will say that he has finally found his niche with this team. If Warrick can continually hit that 15-18 footer he will be deadly. man i wish we could rely on Lopez more, i feel like we are putting to much faith in Gortot, you have to worry about a guy who plays horrible against the team that traded him (Brooks), and is it just me or have the reffs been abnormally against the suns?

  • 41 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    >>I agree again with Steve that there is someone making posts here under multiple names to try to “defend” VC.<<

    If you're suggesting it's me, you're a liar. "Dirk" is the only name I've ever posted on here. And I'm only "defending" VC because others are going out of their way to trash him. I wouldn't have to "defend" him if idiots didn't trash him even after he has a great game.

    BTW, how many nicks are you posting under?

  • 42 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    >>All of this ranting off of me PRAISING Vinvisible… Imagine how the fan boys would have reacted had I totally TRASHED his latest effort!<<

    I'm sure you'll be trashing him after his next off game, like you always do. It's pathetic really.

  • 43 Dirk // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    >>Once is a fluke, twice is luck, 3 times is skill, if Vince has a 3rd strait good game i will say that he has finally found his niche with this team.<<

    He has had 3 straight games. He shot 61.1% TS% against the Celts, and played good defense before getting hurt.

  • 44 Cam // Mar 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    @Evan. It has seemed like the refs have been biased big time. I couldn’t believe the free throw disparity in the OKC game. Nevermind the fact that Durant took Frye’s arm off.

  • 45 Phil // Mar 10, 2011 at 1:51 am

    @Dirk – you need to stop calling people liars because they have a different opinion from you.

    As for VC, put me in the No camp with Rich, Steve and the others. For me, VC gives inconsistent effort. No, I can’t PROVE this, I just watch basketball games. And his numbers are indisuputably not worth his salary – finding other overpaid players doesn’t prove that he is

  • 46 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 10, 2011 at 5:01 am

    DUCK FOR COVER!!! HOOPDATA STATS INCOMING!

    I want everybody to look at the incredible numbers being brought to the table by Vinvisible. These numbers INCLUDE every single massive game he has had for the Suns.

    I’ll keep it simple, because his APER numbers are… /sad panda.

    First, his COMBINED attempts from nine FEET and IN: 4.5 attempts PER GAME.

    His attempts from LONG DISTANCE AND BEYOND per game: 5!

    I can already hear the fan boys screaming: “It’s the systemzzzzz VC rulzzzz!!!” no. He likes jacking up bad shots from deep.

    He shoots 2 free throws a game. Why is this important? Well, for one, it’s a direct manifestation of the stats I’ve just blessed you with above. Not only does he not draw contact, he doesn’t want it. On top of that, his free throw percentage has dipped all the way to 71% with the Suns.

    What that also means is that he isn’t helping us in getting the other team into the penalty. He isn’t getting us free points.

    It’d be GREAT if he were making all of those threes he tosses up but uh, nah. 38.5%.

    As many shots as he gets and as hard as Gentry works to get him his touches? 13.9 points per game, (that’s counting the Vinsanity games). That, Dirk, is not a slump. That is just BAD.

  • 47 Phil // Mar 10, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Rich, to be fair if your scoring guard is averaging 14.5 ppg and 4.4rpg in 30 mins that is not in itself bad. The 43% shooting percentage is pretty putrid (although the 40% 3 point shooting is actually a nice surpise) but there are plenty of starting SGs in the league contributing this or worse to good teams. I would have no problem with this, except that VC makes $18m a fricking year.

    Dirk, this is where your argument falls apart. You can disagree with us about VC’s effort levels, but the guy earns nearly double what Steve Nash does, and his production is nowhere near that level. If you want to be paid like a superstar, you should play like one, and it is inarguable that Vinsanity simply does not

  • 48 Fred // Mar 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

    @Rich Anthony – Well, not really. For every Steve Nash examples, there are also guys like Harold Minor, Luke Jackson and Marcus Fizer who just didn’t live up to potential. Just because we got rid of Rondo too early doesn’t mean Dragic will be good. You have to evaluate Dragic for what HE is, not for past mistakes made on other talent. Also, who knows if Rondo, Deng or any other players who never played here but blossomed somewhere else would’ve been good had they not got into the situations they did with other teams.

  • 49 Auggie5000 // Mar 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    i think Dirk IS VC.

  • 50 Zak // Mar 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Auggie5000… LOL and a big thumbs UP to you.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • 51 Keir // Mar 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hey Rich did you just point out that in his 30′s VC doesn’t have the athleticism to take it to the hole like he used to? :gold clap:

    Nobody is saying Vince rules but he is doing alright – maintaining his career shooting averages despite not having the ability to take it to the rack like he used to. That is a decent adjustment. Yes I miss the old Vince but guess what – Vince is getting old.

    If you beef against Vinces his contract well fine – its á shocker. I’m not going to argue with that.

    lol@ the people saying that Vince’s defenders are making up names to sound more impressive. So you want to tell me who I am as well as Keir?

    There is a special sort of fan who boo’s their own team when they are down and abuses players on their team they don’t like. Pay your dues – get your boo’s” I was told once on a BB bulltein board. I call those fans shit fans – the sort of fans you wish would go support another team. If you are a real fan of your team you will do your best to make home advantage count by suppoorting your players.

    Vince goes off, has an awesome game, and what do the so called fans have to say about him – “chucker”, “selfish” . . .

    The tone was set by the sad arsed way this site greeted Vince’s arrival. One of the reason I have enjoyed this site is because they do a really good job of remaining positive and not buying into the hater vibe. Well Michael and co you dropped the ball this time.

  • 52 Zak // Mar 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Kier, I’ve read your posts before and do NOT think you are are posting under other names here to defend VC. Your posts tend to be logical and reasonable. VC does contribute to the Suns and I don’t disregard that. BUT there have been many “new” posters here which all seem to be very rabid VC defenders lately. And I don’t blame VC for all the Suns’ woes this season. VC was a great player and still can be on any given night. Overall though, he’s not playing up to his salary any more.

    Lol at myself… I said I wasn’t going to discuss VC anymore but here I am doing it again. Last words (hopefully), I like VC. If he was making about the same money that Grant Hill was making this season then I would think he was a good addition to the Suns.

  • 53 Steve // Mar 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @Keir-It’s stupid to think that the only way to support your team is to cheer its players for EVERYTHING that they are.

    First, Vince is going to be gone next year. Less than a full season in a Suns uniform doesn’t make him a Sun. He didn’t push to be here. Him being here is a by-product of us hating Hedo and Orlando hating Vince. I owe no loyalty to Vince Carter as a Suns fan.

    Second, I don’t have to defend EVERYTHING about the players on my team. I’m not the coach. I’m not the GM. I don’t have to spin things in a positive light for PR’s sake. I don’t have to pretend like Vince is anything but apathetic on most nights. I don’t have to support Jason Kidd through his spousal abuse ordeal. I don’t have to support J-Rich or Barkley for their DUIs. I don’t have to support Paul Shirley for sucking at basketball and trying to make a living by writing about sucking.

    Being a fan doesn’t mean loving every player on your team and never criticizing their flaws. I go to about 15 games per year (going tonight, btw), and I cheer every single player on our team when they do something good. But I don’t have to be silent when they do something awful for my team. The last game I went to was the Mavs game. Vince committed a weak foul on Dirk when he was driving, almost gave up the three point play but somehow it rolled off. This was in the middle of our collapse. You can bet I got on Vince’s case, and so did every other fan around me. Vince should have even let the ball leave Dirk’s hands, but instead he tried to be cute and almost hurt the Suns even more than he would have by just not being there.

    I don’t feel like I have to rehash this any more, but I will. Look at premiere franchises in their respective leagues. If they don’t perform, their fans will boo them. Their own fans will boo them. And they deserve it. I pay a lot of money to go see my teams play, and when they give me a crappy product, I have every single right to go in there and let them know how I feel about it.

    Whether it’s on or off the field/court, I have every right as a fan and as a person to criticize my teams’ players’ effort/talent/performance/heart/whatever. I love the Suns just as much as anyone else on this site, and I am shocked and appalled that anybody would say otherwise. Be a real fan and try to make your team better rather than being content with our ZERO championship banners.

  • 54 Steve // Mar 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    *Vince should NOT have even let the ball leave Dirk’s hands*

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