Previous week’s games
12/17/09 Blazers 105, SUNS 102
12/19/09 SUNS 121, Wizards 95
12/21/09 Cavs 109, SUNS 91
12/23/09 Thunder 117, SUNS 113
Upcoming week’s games
12/25/09 SUNS vs Clippers 6 p.m., ESPN
12/26/09 SUNS @ Warriors 8:30 p.m., My45
12/28/09 SUNS vs Lakers 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/30/09 SUNS vs Celtics 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
For the second time this year, a Suns two-game skid has caused me to switch topics for the Suns Spot. Instead of writing about the current stretch of home games the Suns are finally on, their recent performance has forced me to switch gears. During Wednesday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Suns lacked punch off the bench, with the reserves only chipping in 12 points. This is normally where Leandro Barbosa would come into play.
With his scoring numbers dipping just a bit from recent years and the emergence of Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic, it was easy to overlook the play and overall importance the Blur has on the team. However, even with the slight drop-off in overall scoring, LB was shooting a career high from the field before his nasty ankle injury (although even when playing he was banged up) and he was on par for his overall career average from long range, plus he was still getting to the basket at will. The only reason there has been a decrease in his scoring is due to the fact that he was playing less minutes this year and taking less shots. The stats don’t even begin to tell the story of what Barbosa actually brings to the table.
When LB is healthy he gives the Suns a whole other element. With him on the bench, the second string has a lot more firepower to work with. Although he hasn’t done as much this year, partly due to the injury issues and partly due to the other bench players stepping it up a notch, he still does provide another threat that can always come in handy. This missing threat has become very evident over the course of December as Barbosa has been sidelined with the ankle sprain.
Before Barbosa went out, the Suns were 8-2; since then they’ve struggled to a 10-9 mark, and the team definitely could’ve used LB in a few of those losses. The most recent loss to the Thunder was a prime example. The Suns got brilliant performances from three of their five starters, but got very little help from their reserves. In such a close game, bench play can make all the difference. That’s why come Christmas evening, barring any setback today or Christmas morning, all Suns fans can thank whatever higher being they believe in that Barbosa will be suiting back up in the purple and orange.
Dudley jersey giveaway
Earlier this week Jared Dudley and the Phoenix Suns began the “Jared Dudley Twitter Holiday Jersey Giveaway” as Dudley and the Suns teamed up to give away 100 of the former Boston College standout’s jerseys. Suns fans were able to win one of the first 12 autographed Dudley jerseys by entering contests through the Suns’ official Twitter page. In addition to those 12, the gritty small forward gave away 50 jerseys himself to the first 50 fans that showed up outside the Casino Arizona Pavilion at US Airways Center Tuesday afternoon. The remaining jerseys will be given out during Friday’s home game against the Los Angles Clippers.
Ride the Rail to the game (and Majerle’s)
Speaking of the home game this Friday against the Clippers, Suns fans are encouraged to attend the game via the light rail as part of the Ride the Rail Event, which allows anyone with a ticket to an event at US Airways Center to ride the METRO light rail for free. And, for those that are looking for a place to grab drinks before or after the game, be sure to swing on by Majerle’s, just up the street from the Purple Palace at 24 N. 2nd St., as it will be open on Christmas day to serve those in the area and those attending the game.
A little Suns holiday spirit
On one last note, everyone should head over to the Bright Side of the Sun to check out Mike Lisboa’s brilliant Suns-themed holiday poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Clips-mas. You won’t be disappointed.
Are you gonna be Downtown on Christmas Eve? Well, not everything is boarded up. Hopefully you don’t have last-minute shopping to do. Hopefully you don’t even have any last-minute food to buy for your feast. But, if you’re a-slackin’, or if you’re just looking for something to do on your day off, you do have options.
The Heard Museum Shop (2301 N. Central Ave. in Midtown) is open until 3 p.m., and it’s full of unique American Indian art and gift ideas.
Bunky Boutique (812 N. 3rd St. in Evans Churchill), home to an array of clothes, jewelry and accessories, is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and is a perfect stop for the fashionista in your life.
Made (922 N. 5th St. in Evans Churchill) will be open and dishing out its usual trinkets and artsy goodies for the home. It’s a perfect spot to stock up on stocking stuffers and presents for those people who are entirely too difficult to shop for.
Across Roosevelt Street, Tammie Coe Cakes (610 E. Roosevelt St. in Evans Churchill) is open until 5 p.m., and can save you from arriving to your Christmas destination dessert-less. Though it’s far too late to order custom cakes, Tammie Coe still provides a good selection of ready-to-purchase (and awesomely delicious) sweets.
Hopefully you aren’t stuck cooking the holiday feast, but if you’re stocking up on grub last minute, the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (14 E. Pierce St. in Evans Churchill) will be open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and it can provide you with fresh, local fare that’s sure to be a hit at the dinner table.
Need a good thank-you gift to bring to the festivities? Lola Coffee‘s Roosevelt location (1001 N. 3rd Ave.) is open 7 a.m.-2 p.m., and its house-roasted espresso beans complement any meal nicely.
If you get hungry, Local Breeze (606 N. 4th Ave. in Roosevelt), just a few blocks from Lola, is open for brunch and lunch until 2:30 p.m.
And, if you need a beer after a hectic day of preparation, Lost Leaf (914 N. 5th St. in Evans Churchill) opens at 5 p.m., and it’s open on Christmas, too!
Know of more places Downtown that are open during the holidays? Comment and share!
I found myself rising early on a Saturday (11 a.m. for you nosy folks) and I was in much need of a boost of caffeine to my system. I had heard a wild party broke out at the grand opening of the new Lola Coffee the previous evening. Since I am of the adventurous motive, I decided I should check it out. Well, I should witness the aftermath at least.
I decided to get the life blood pumping by walking over. Considering that this “season” of winter is generally 70º and sunny by day, this was a good choice. Honestly, I half-expected to find people still crashed out on the floor when I arrived. Sadly, it had on its Clark Kent exterior and was operating as normal. I asked about the night before. Apparently, it was “pretty amazing.” Dang, I knew I missed out.
Well, I will tell you that this location’s counter is just as wonderfully adorned with sweets and deliciousness as the Central Avenue location, so I was automatically in love with this place. I have occasionally had wild, vivid dreams about the baked goods at Lola — most of them end with me attempting to eat my pillow. I seriously have never tried something from the Lola pastry selection that has not been like a party in my mouth.
I quickly selected a slice of cinnamon coffee cake and my old standby coffee drink: a white chocolate mocha. I love them, and I don’t care who knows it.
I went and took my seat with my slice of cake and semi-patiently waited for my mocha. Looking around this place, you can just feel the hip emanating off the walls. It reeks of a quiet cool that is noticeable once you enter the doorway. With wide open spaces, cool art adorning the walls (wondering how they managed to get that huge piece inside the building?) and alluring furniture to rest on, this place is very much one to put on your route.
Once my mocha arrived, I immediately thought of the opening scene in So I Married an Axe Murderer, where the camera follows a giant latte into Mike Myers’ hands. “I’m sorry. I thought I ordered the large. Hello!!!” Interestingly enough, I only ordered the medium, and this mammoth drink was placed beside me. I was unsure I could even drink all of it, but my internal caffeine monster was grumbling, so I felt up to the challenge. Also, I had saved my first bite of cake for the moment I had my mocha in hand. I’m fairly certain there were fireworks that exploded in my mouth. This must be what heaven is like. My mouth was running through cinnamon fields of amazingness and my throat was swimming in a sea of white mocha.
There are not enough glorious adjectives that can describe the revelry that my palate encountered at Lola. I thoroughly enjoyed my “manly” coffee drink, and I’m completely OK with that.
Lola Coffee is located at 1001 N. 3rd Ave. in Roosevelt — light rail station at Central/Roosevelt. 602.265.5652
It’s the holiday season. There’s hustle. There’s bustle.
But seriously, people — you’re going way too fast.
On Saturday, my wife and I spent some time cleaning up the section of 7th Avenue that borders the North Park Central neighborhood, and cars were screaming up and down the road. Both 7th Avenue and 7th Street have a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit posted, and for good reason: they are residential areas. In fact, many of the streets in Downtown Phoenix are residential roads because (newsflash) people live in Downtown Phoenix.
Beside the fact that there are people living up and down these major arterial roads, speedy and congested traffic discourages alternative modes of transportation like walking and biking — furthering the auto-centric bias that has plagued our developing city for some time. A simple plea: Next time you have to use 7th Avenue or 7th Street to get somewhere by vehicle, give yourself enough time between appointments to drive 35. Bikers, walkers and residents alike will thank you.
Previous week’s games
12/11/09 SUNS 106, Magic 103
12/12/09 Nuggets 105, SUNS 99
12/15/09 SUNS 116, Spurs 104
Next week’s games
12/17/09 SUNS @ Blazers 8:30 p.m., TNT
12/19/09 SUNS vs Wizards 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/21/09 SUNS vs Cavs 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/23/09 SUNS vs Thunder 7 p.m., My45
At about 10 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, December 15, Jeramie McPeek, VP, Digital for the Suns, of sent this tweet:
“Just realized the @Spurs are in the building practicing downstairs. I thought I felt a disturbance in the force.”
Yes indeed, the Galactic Empire was in town. The evil, hated, dirty, flopping, no good, trouble-causing, Empire was back. On this night, though, the dark side fell victim to the light speed attack of the Rebel Alliance.
In case you haven’t realized it by now, the dark side of the empire refers to the San Antonio Spurs (I want to vomit every time I type their name, so from here on out, they’ll be known as the Sterns (since NBA commish David Stern seems to be oh-so favorable toward them), leaving the Rebel Alliance to be played by the Suns.
Normally, I wouldn’t dedicate an entire Suns Spot post to one game, but I think it’s safe to say a victory over the Sterns is well worth it. This was a huge win for the Suns. You might say its just one game, counts as much as the rest, but that’s not true. A win over the Sterns is a huge confidence boost for not only the team, but also the fans. And, I don’t want to hear, “Oh, but the Sterns haven’t been as good this year.” I don’t care. A win over the Sterns is still a quality win, no matter their record, because as much as I hate to say it, come season’s end, the Sterns will be a tough playoff match-up for anyone. I’m happy to say most Suns fans seem to agree on the importance of this game, as US Airways Center was rocking Tuesday night.
It was more than just the win; it was how the Suns managed to get the win. They dominated the Sterns from the get-go, with their light sabers swinging, going up 11 at the end of one en route to a 67-point first half that had Phoenix leading by 15 at the break.
The Suns got the job done offensively with a combination of scoring in the paint, as Amar’e Stoudemire looked to be playing on a Nerf basket for most of the game, as well as lights-out shooting from the outside, with Goran Dragic nailing four of five three pointers — one right in the grill of Tony Parker. Can you believe he Sterns drafted Dragic for us?
On the other end of the court, the Suns’ defense showed some grit and hustle. Stoudemire was beastly on the boards, pulling down 14 rebounds. In addition to the rebounds, he had three steals, one on Tim Duncan in the fourth that led to a Dragic layup that essentially sealed the victory for Phoenix.
The Sterns’ Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobili and Parker were held in check. Combined they totaled for 26 points on 31% shooting. That’s simply amazing. Hats off to Jared Dudley and Dragic, who played stellar defense on the night, helping to contribute to the poor play of three out of four of the Sterns’ big four. In past years, Phoenix couldn’t contain Parker or Ginobili, let alone both. Add in this year’s addition of Jefferson, and it’s even more impressive.
To me, this game was a big deal. It was against the freaking Sterns! This is the only team that can rival the hatred I have for the Lakers (and I assure you, I absolutely hate the Lakers). I know it’s just one game and we’re still fairly early in the season, but roughing up a team that’s been very successful in recent years (one that Suns fans hate with a passion) is always a positive. Couple that with the Suns’ recent struggles, especially against top-tier teams, and this hard-fought victory over the dark side gives us a new hope.