Were All A Big Team: Suns, Mercury Support For Each Other Evident In WNBA Finals

No problem. No problem at all.

Suns coach Monty Williams said his team was more than willing to adjust the start time of a second preseason game so the Mercury can play another home playoff game at Footprint Center instead of Grand Canyon University and Arizona State University, as they did earlier in the playoffs.

The Suns will play Portland at 2 p.m. Wednesday in their final preseason game. That will be followed by Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Chicago Sky and Mercury at 6 p.m.

"I actually like it," Williams said Monday.

The Suns moved up last week's preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers so the Mercury could play the Las Vegas Aces in Game 4 of the WNBA semifinals at Footprint Center.

"Playing a preseason game and getting to go watch the ladies is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to supporting them, but also having a productive day. So it's an easy adjustment for us." 

The Mercury will look to even up the finals series after dropping Game 1 Sunday afternoon to the Sky.

"We know we have to play better," Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said after Game 1's 91-77 loss. "We know we have to be better individually and collectively. It's a really, really good team we're playing. That's going to be our focus from here on out."

The Suns and Mercury became the first NBA and WNBA teams from the same city to reach the finals in the same calendar year since the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks did it in 2002.

"What a cool time for our city," Williams said.

History aside, the Suns and Mercury have developed a special bond as they not only share the same arena, but the same practice facility.

"This is my 17th year in the league and this is the first time I've been on a team that had a women's team to where we're all a big team," Suns All-Star Chris Paul said.

Paul and Deandre Ayton have each bought 500 tickets for a Mercury playoff game this year that were made available to the public. Several Suns players have attended Mercury playoff games in showing their support for the WNBA sisters.

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"It goes both ways," Paul said. "We support them and they support us."

Mercury coach Sandy Brondello gave high praise to Suns General Manager James Jones for making sure the Mercury have their needs met at the practice facility.

"That hasn't happened before," Brondello said. "Just giving us a few more resources."  

Maybe Brondello should ask for a little bit more.

After all, the Mercury have three WNBA titles while the Suns are still trying to win their first NBA championship.

"I told Coach she deserves my office," Williams said with a smile. "She's got three championships. I've got zilch. She's over here in her office, which is nice, but I got this thing over here that's like, I'm like, you need to be in my office. She just laughs it off."

Just part of Williams' way of showing how much he respects Brondello.

"I watched them practice a lot this summer and see the way they respond to her leadership," Williams said.

The respect is mutual from Brondello towards Williams.

"Not just as a coach, but as a person," she said.  

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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Source : https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2021/10/11/were-all-big-team-phoenix-suns-mercury-support-each-other/6098060001/

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