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Blogcat's Take, 2/8

Well, well, well.  Now it suddenly makes a lot more sense why Marcus Banks entered the game in the first quarter on Monday night against us.  In between plugs for his numerous local restaurants, even FSN Arizona color commentator Dan Majerle expressed surprise at how early in the game Banks appeared.  Majerle concluded that Coach D’Antoni must be trying to get Banks more involved with the Suns offense…survey says?  (obnoxious “buzzer” noise).  Turns out Banks was being showcased for a potential trade.  And after 11 minutes, 0-for-5 shooting and 3 personal fouls, Heat Coach Pat Riley apparently had seen enough—sold!  Off Banks went to the Heat on Wednesday, thereby ending his terrible stint in Phoenix.  I don’t know who the Suns got in return, but I’ll bet they didn’t get saddled with anything worse than Banks’ $4 million-a-year contract, ha-ha!  Whew! 
None of this meant anything to us, of course, as we suffered another ho-hum beat-down at the hands of the Suns.  Forget about having never beaten Phoenix in 8 games, I don’t even think we’ve taken 8 total quarters from them.  At least we’ve earned their respect, though.  Did you hear Coach D’Antoni afterwards?  “It was not bad. It was just one of those games,” he said, clearly moved by the experience of playing us. “We got it over with,” he went on, sounding embarrassingly similar to my high school prom date, “and we have a great game coming up Wednesday.”
And no wonder he was so breathless with exhilaration, as this one stayed in doubt until there were only 42 minutes left.  Leandro Barbosa had his own personal Brazilian Carnival on us, hitting 11-of-17 for 30 points.  Meanwhile, Raja Bell drained 7 three-pointers.  What is it with defensive stoppers who are also ace 3-point shooters?  Don’t the ability to effectively guard an opponent and being a highly accurate long-distance shooter seem like totally random skills to have at the same time?  And yet there are so many of them!  Bell, Bruce Bowen, Shane Battier, Anthony Parker…It’d be like if there was a thriving industry of mimes who were also certified accountants.  “Those guys can shoot, man,” said our own Raymond Felton. “Barbosa and Raja, those guys were putting that thing up in the air.”
The “thing” Felton was referring to was an orange spheroid object called a “basketball.”  And even more impressive than their ability to place it “up in the air” was their deft manipulation of its trajectory such that its return to the earth via gravitational attraction resulted in its bisection of a circular area created by an aluminum cylinder attached to which nylon netting dangles.  They also had 7 blocks.
Thus came to an end our first West Coast trip, and it went pretty much how we would expect, which is to say “poorly.”  But cheer up, everyone, because the Nets are next, and unless they’re suddenly galvanized by the charisma and magnetism of Stromile Swift, we’ve got a chance in this one.