Suns Fans Conditioned To Doubt

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Every time we Suns fans at the Payson Roundup count the team out, Phoenix rebounds with another impressive victory.

After the Suns lost game three 95-88 to fall behind Dallas in the seven-game series 2-1, we were sure Phoenix was on the ropes.

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The Phoenix Suns Gorilla is among those who do believe in the team.

Especially since injured Raja Bell was apparently going to spend game four on the training table rather than the playing court.

But just when we were counting the Suns down and out, Bell made a stunning return to the starting lineup to help Phoenix score a 106-86 victory over the stunned Mavericks.

The win evened the series at 2-2 with game five set for June 1 (results not available at press time).

It's now obvious this edition of the Suns is not the team of past years that had reputations of being soft and unable to win crucial games.

Playing without superstar Amare Stoudemire and Kurt Thomas, this team has rebounded from adversity time after time to prove it belongs in the NBA's final four.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Clippers had a bigger, more powerful front line, but the Suns survived by hitting their perimeter shots, especially those taken from three-point land.

Coach Mike D'Antoni has done an impressive job of making opposing teams match up with his smaller team. The lineup of Boris Diaw, Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Tim Thomas and Bell uses its quickness to exploit bigger opponents.

Although the Suns take some heat for being weak defensively, they are better on "D" than they were in past years.

Bell can put the clamps on the best of perimeter players -- just ask Kobe Bryant.

With the true grit the Suns have shown in the playoffs, it's entirely possible the team could soon find itself in the championship finals.

Then maybe, we skeptics -- conditioned by watching most Phoenix seasons end with a whimper rather than a bang -- would start believing.

No Tasers, no handcuffs, no Miranda rights

Police officers from around the state will flock to Payson June 10 and 11 to participate in the inaugural Law Enforcement Rodeo Association (LERA) rodeo.

Bryan Sepulveda of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said he and fellow LERA members have been able to schedule a first-rate competition with the help of longtime rodeo boss Bill Armstrong.

"It will be fun for the whole family," Sepulveda said.

Although the participants will be from the law enforcement profession, the competition promises to be similar to a PRCA rodeo.

"All the events will be the same with the exception of rough stock," Sepulveda said. "There will not be bulls or bareback."

However, there will be other events to replace the roughstock competition, including chute dogging and steer and calf dressing.

Also included will be team roping, tie-down roping and steer roping.

Action on both days begins at 1 p.m.

There is no admission charge and concession stands offering food, drinks and beer will be open.

The rodeo is sponsored by Corral West, Chapman Auto Center, Bud Light, APS and Phil White Ford.

Links agenda

Several upcoming golf tournaments will give the most dedicated of linksters the opportunity to put their skills to the test and help some worthwhile causes.

They include:

June 4: Carquest to benefit local Special Olympics.

Call Derrie Lucht, (928) 468-8610.

June 17: Jack Morris Memorial.

Call Gary Cordell, (928) 474-4401.

Aug. 12: Pioneer Title Tournament to benefit Payson Community Kids.

Call Pioneer Title, (928) 474-3235.

Aug. 25-26: Christmas for Kids to benefit area children.

Call Det. Matt VanCamp at (928) 474-5177, ext. 251.

Sept. 23: Safeway Shotgun to benefit Payson public schools.

Call (928) 472-8208 for more information from Russ Youngcourt or Dan Dillon.

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