Erick Dampier sits today because of a strained left shoulder suffered Friday against the Knicks, forcing Gana Diop into the starting lineup against Phoenix. Damp said he got caught his arm locked up Eddy Curry late in the game going for a rebound.
"He pushed my arm for sure behind my back," Damp said. Curry knew what he was doing, Damp said, but added it wasn't a dirty play.
He had practiced on Saturday and coach Avery Johnson felt he'd be able to go, but obviously it's better to take the safe route this late in the season. He's day-to-day.
"It does feel better today than yesterday," Damp said.
The loss may not be as severe considering the matchup. Damp normally doesn't play much against the small-ball Suns, who are committed to playing even smaller these days in an effort to get out a funk that started after beating the Mavs 129-127 double OT a few weeks back. Gana is more mobile and a better option when Avery uses a true center.
"I've just to keep moving my feet and do the things I did last year in the playoffs," Gana said.
But remember, the Suns didn't have Amare Stoudemire, who hit for 41 against the Mavs last time, in the 2006 West Finals. Dirk Nowitzki will log his share of minutes in the pivot with Devean George sliding over to play the 4.
Sure would be a good time for that emergency center. Kevin Willis is expected to be in Phoenix tonight, but isn't eligible. He'll get that 10-day contract signed most Monday and then begin practicing.
-- Art and Jeff