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Old 10-09-2009, 08:55 PM   #1
DirtBag's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: PHX
Posts: 3,257
Default Tough love, the rook, etc..

Just think, in two days, you can watch the Suns on TNT. Orange slices for your Thursday:

* Watching Wednesday's practice would have done a Suns fan's heart good. They went past two hours, unusual for the Suns. Twice, coach Alvin Gentry snapped at his team for not listening. The shot clock was on 18 seconds. They spent a long time on defensive rotations, as they put in a simplified approach in increments.

When the planned 10-minute scrimmage was over, Gentry didn't like the way it finished and put another five minutes on the clock. Understand that this time is not like game time. They go non-stop with with fouls just being counted as automatic points so the flow never stops. It's conditioning as much as basketball. The starters stepped up and dominated that second period of play.

* Defensive communication has been a big emphasis for the staff and this team seems to have taken to it or is more capable of it. Grant Hill, Channing Frye and Jared Dudley are the best at talking on defense. Dudley makes it 5-on-6 when he's off the court because he is still so into it.

"He's every coach's dream," Gentry said.

* Wednesday could have been a day to start the second-guessing. Rookie James Johnson, who the Suns passed on, scored 18 points and added eight rebounds, the last of each came on a fadeaway follow to win the game for Chicago at the buzzer Tuesday night. Rookie DeJuan Blair, taken with a pick Phoenix gave San Antonio in the Goran Dragic deal, had 19 rebounds in 22 minutes of play Tuesday night.

But there's a rookie to believe in for Phoenix. More importantly, he's one the Suns need now after losing Robin Lopez until at least mid-November. Clark, the college small forward, was drafted with the idea that he could also be a power forward in the Suns' system. Try center, where he spent a lot of his 22 minutes in his pseudo-NBA debut, the Suns' 111-80 win Thursday against Partizan Belgrade.

From watching Earl Clark's willingness to fire an inconsistent perimeter shot during workouts, we predicted some 2-for-7 nights in his future. He was 2 for 6, missing four of his five jump shots and getting a fastbreak slam. He will have his rookie moments, like stepping out of bounds after catching the ball on the wing Tuesday. But his skill, length and desire to be great is worth the growing pains.

"I know I'm a better player than sometimes I'm playing," Clark said at camp. "It's just me out there making bad mistakes or thinking too much. I just want to do well. I'm not going to let up until I do what I know I can."
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