Suns take the long, tiring road - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Suns take the long, tiring road

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Posted: Monday, May 29, 2006 11:28 pm | Updated: 3:57 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Suns play their 100th game of the season tonight. That the Suns have played more games than any NBA team — counting the regular season plus 17 playoff games — shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who saw their loss Sunday night to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns appeared sluggish in managing only 88 points, including only four fast-break points.

The Mavericks, by the way, are playing their 97th game tonight, including 14 in the postseason.

They also have used 11 players in this series; the Suns have played just eight, and with the absence of Raja Bell (who is expected to be out again tonight), they’ve gone with a seven-man rotation.

More evidence that the Suns are tired: They’ve also been ahead at halftime in each of the games, yet are 1-2 in the series.

“I can only speak for myself,” Suns guard Steve Nash said. “I feel pretty good.”

And yet, he acknowledged the subject’s validity by saying, “I don’t know if guys realize we’re only playing seven right now, and they’re trying to save themselves.

“But you can’t do that. You’ve got to leave it all out there.

“It’s not a perfect situation. But we’re more than capable.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni spoke in different directions on the subject Monday.

He tried to beat down the idea the Suns are tired, saying, “I don’t think we are  . . . A lot of teams go with seven, maybe eight guys (in the playoffs). Not many teams go with nine or 10.”

Nash played 38 minutes Sunday, a normal playoff game for him, while “other guys played 40 minutes. They need to do that.”

The Mavs’ Josh Howard played 43 minutes, “And I don’t see him getting tired,” D’Antoni argued.

But at one point, the Suns coach acknowledged, “We could be fatigued a little bit.

“But let’s say you’re tired. Who cares?

“You’ve got to go through it. And we can go through it.”

Shawn Marion said, “I’m more mind-tired than anything,” suggesting he’s getting weary about answering questions about every possible aspect of the series.

Boris Diaw said, “We’re used to playing a lot and running a lot. Of course, sometimes you get a little tired. But it’s more of a mental thing.”

D’Antoni said that “more than fatigue,” the Suns have been slowed up by doubts entering their minds about their chances of winning the series.

“It’s more thinking, ‘We can’t get it done.’ It’s a mental thing that we’ll change.

“We need to run more and spread the floor.  . . . A lot of times when doubt creeps in, you close the floor.

“We’ll address that and do a better job.”

That the Suns openly talked about the possibility of fatigue on Monday seemed to surprise the Mavs’ Jerry Stackhouse.

“It’s hard for me to fathom not having energy at this time of year,” Stackhouse said.

“That could be their story. But we’d like to give ourselves a little credit for getting back on defense and cutting some of that off.”

And yet, maybe the Suns are simply being candid, suggested Stackhouse, who predicted after the Suns’ Game 1 win that the Mavs’ superior depth would come into play in the series.

“Maybe they’re tired and maybe that’s why our defense has been getting better.

“We’ve played fewer games, and we have more bodies.”

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