Game Notes: Warriors at Suns
The NBA, under the stars…
It’s a novel concept, a clever marketing ploy by pro basketball’s big wigs, one that just might end up catching on. For the second time in as many years, the scenic California desert served as the backdrop for an NBA preseason game, outdoors no less, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors braved the favorable elements Saturday evening, along with thousands and thousands of interested spectators, in what turned out to be an entertaining affair although Steve Nash & Co. ultimately came up short as the Warriors won, 104-101.
With the sun setting over the Santa Rosa Mountains in the background, and the temperature in the mid-80s, the opening tip was set in motion at 6:40 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, of course.
Any potential concerns about the playing conditions were dismissed right away as the Suns and Warriors looked comfortable, both getting up and down the hardwood in a hurry. Playing defense didn’t appear to be an option, rarely is it when these two teams get together.
Nash dictated the pace of play, as always, finding Amar’e Stoudemire, Grant Hill and Jason Richardson on the fastbreak early and often. Richardson brought the pro-Suns crowd in the open-air venue to its feet with a windmill dunk on a breakaway in the opening minutes.
With Robin Lopez out two months with a foot injury, Channing Frye saw extended minutes for Phoenix. He took advantage, scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points in the 1st quarter to go along with 8 rebounds. Frye might be worth a flier in fantasy basketball leagues.
Interestingly enough, Stephen Jackson was not in uniform. Golden State suspended the disgruntled veteran for two preseason games for conduct detrimental to the team after he picked up 5 fouls, plus a technical, on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Stephen Curry started at point guard for the Warriors and played well alongside fellow backcourt mate Monta Ellis. Curry found ways to get his shot off, distributed the ball freely throughout and ended the constellation-filled night with 18 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.
Turns out, Curry might be ready for the NBA after all.
For the record, Shannon Brown was nowhere to be found, so Golden State’s Mikki Moore didn’t get banged on. He might not ever live down being posterized by the Lakers guard.
Overall, it was a memorable experience for most everyone in attendance.
And for those unadventurous types, the coach potato that enjoys the comforts of his own living room instead of getting back to nature and breathing some fresh air once in a while, the crew from TNT was on hand providing viewers with all the live action.
Reggie Miller was spotted shooting jumpers prior to the game and it should be mentioned that he’s still capable of lighting it up from long range. Marv Albert and Mike Fratello soaked up the afternoon sun on Saturday before settling into the broadcast with Miller, and his sister, Cheryl, who did her thing, roaming the sidelines, microphone in hand.
Rumor is, the images from the nationally televised game were rather amazing, although they couldn’t possibly compare to the unique atmosphere of actually being at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in person.
Let’s keep it real, these types of outdoor events don’t happen every day.
No wait, scratch that.
These types of events don’t happen every night, under the stars, mind you.