The Arizona Republic
Feb. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
The big-screen TV inside the Suns' locker room was tuned to TNT before Thursday's game, and the endless promotions for the NBA All-Star activities this weekend set a festive mood - call it All-Star Fever.
"I hope they have it," coach Mike D'Antoni said of the five players - Steve Nash, Amaré Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson
and Joe Johnson - who headed to Denver after the game or this morning. "It should be a really exciting time for them."
Although it has been fun to think about, D'Antoni said the upcoming weekend has not disrupted the team's focus.
Playing a quality opponent on national television helped keep thoughts of the All-Star festivities on the back burner.
"Normally it would (be distracting), but this game is on TNT and it's against Dallas," D'Antoni said. "I think that helps."
Nevertheless, Johnson and Richardson talked trash about who was going to win the three-point shooting contest. Both are entered.
Richardson shook his head as he read the league's revised code of fan conduct released before Thursday's game.
"We've got good fans," Richardson said. "They don't need this. But you probably have to have it because all it takes is one person to mess it up."
Scottsdale resident Mark Monson, 35, liked the first item on the list. It read: Players will respect and appreciate each and every fan.
"The fans are paying to see them and paying their salaries," Monson said. "But it needs to be mutual respect."
Despite the loss of Nash, the Mavericks enter the All-Star break with a better record than last season.
• Nash on playing Dallas for the second time: "It helps to have one out of the way, but it's never going to be completely comfortable when you've got some of your best buddies on the other team."
• Swingman Jim Jackson returned to action after missing Monday's game against Utah because of a sprained left foot.
• Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
said the Suns remind him of some of his recent teams. "When I get the chance to read the coachspeak, Mike (D'Antoni) sounds so much like (Dallas coach Don Nelson) Nellie did the last couple years talking about having to improve our defense and having to rely on outscoring teams."
• TNT executives were likely scratching their heads after the two high-powered teams combined to score just 44 points in the first quarter.