In some ways I feel like this is a statement game. The Phoenix Suns have been humiliated twice in the past few days and it would suck to end the year on a bad note with a loss to the (11-21) Pistons. I'm with a lot of you in that I feel like the Suns just need to get a win, any win to stop the bleeding. Another loss would just add salt to the wound and with what appears to be a now shaky, chemistry they can't afford much more of those.
The former "Bad Boys" are coming off of an impressive win vs the Boston Celtics in which their starting PG Rodney Stuckey didn't play(probable for tonight's game- flu). Tracy McGrady utilized the point for them and collected 8 assist to go with his 21 points on a 7-11 shooting. He's been playing better recently and so has Chris Wilcox who collected 10 points and 8 rebounds on 4-4 shooting to follow up his 15 and 8 the night before in Charlotte. Not to mention Austin Daye who came off the bench for 12 points on 5-7 shooting. He's a nice, young big-man who can hit the three. These are guys that can hurt the Suns if they don't come prepared, or read the scouting reports...
I was quite disappointed with the Suns the other night as most of you were; mainly the defense. According to Nash they were trying, but were quite hesitant due to not really getting the scheme. I thought Dudley said something interesting-
"Maybe it's film, maybe it's calling people out, maybe showing them what we have to do...We could defiantly talk a lot more, were over-thinking"
Originally, I thought this was something they already did? I'd expect that they'd watch the film and the coach would call out specific players for their mistakes and show them how to fix it. I guess, that's not how all coaches are; I never played organized basketball, so I'm not sure?
According to Dudley, he believes the awful defense is due to mental mistakes more so than effort. Nash kind of said the same thing. I think this is due to over-complicating the schemes. Whatever Gentry had them doing was just too much and the team just isn't ready for it. Apparently, he realized that too and has simplified his defensive plan. Hopefully, that works because they can't continue to expect to beat anybody if they let them shoot open jumpers, rebound missed shots and drive to the line with no fear. They played like a bunch of softies and they need to toughen up.
Maybe it's just me, but I want to see more emotion, more fire, more passion, more yelling, scrapping, banging... in their play and not the kind that comes from frustration, but the kind that comes from the heart and desire to win? The Suns need to get back that intensity they use to have last year. Lets face it, the starters miss Amar'e the bench misses Frye, but too bad, things change. They've officially got their backs to the wall and now everybody is calling them out-
The Suns are even worse on defense than you think- "I'm not sure people truly understand just how awful they've been this season"- Matt McHale
Sad thing is that it's true, no argument there. Things are going to get tough for the Suns now that the Media has finally noticed their historically, awful defense. However, they can't let that get to them. They have to be strong emotionally. They have to go out there and prove the doubters wrong. They need to play with an edge! Lol, I feel like they need to get a bit more "bad" or "rebellious". Somewhere a long the lines of this-
Well, I still have hope that they can turn things around and I believe they will.
Phoenix Suns New Year's Eve Plan Includes Some Detroit Pistons In A 'Need A Win' Game - SB Nation Arizona
The Phoenix Suns feel like they need to get this win tonight over the Detroit Pistons. They are right.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/31/10 12:39 PM MST ]
Some quick notes and quotes from shootaround:
"One game's not going to do it, I feel like I still need a few more but I feel more comfortable because of the practices but it's nothing like going through it at game speed. I feel like quarter-by-quarter I get more comfortable."
"Just playing against (the Suns) for so long you kind of have a feel for it. It's nothing like actually running the ins and outs of it, then you kind of see the big picture of what they're trying to accomplish. I say that because that's how I break down offenses. You can see plays run and be like, 'OK, fine. It's for him, it's for him, they're going to do this.' But when you see the big picture and reasons you're running it and why you have guys in particular positions, you (understand) it's a pretty good play. I've said that a couple of times."
"Just watching him (Tracy McGrady) the last couple of days he looks pretty good so he's back to his old self. I'm sure there's going to be some trash talking out there tonight," Carter said. "I'm just glad to see him back out there."
"Intensity level was a lot better yesterday. Not that we've not been playing hard, we've just been doing a poor job of containing guys and having guys drive by us. And it's not one guy, it's a couple here and there and a few more and a few more and before you know it it's too much for us to win a game on."
"I think we're playing hard. I think we're competing. I think we just have to do a better job of guarding the ball and keeping guys in front of us and doing a good job on screen and rolls."
"As I said to our guys, we still have a ton of game left to play but it's something that we need to get corrected because we're already trying to put three new guys into the mix and so that's going to take some getting used to. But defensively, we have to be better. We have to improve in that area right away."
"I wouldn't say frustrating. I would say I'm a little bit disappointed. But in defense of the guys too, we've tried to change a few things and do something differently because with the personnel that we originally had here we thought that would work best. That didn't work out so now we're going back to what we did originally with different personnel so it's been a little bit of a trying time for them too."
"I don't totally blame the players. I have to take some of the responsibility on that too because I changed what we were doing and thought it would work best for the guys we had here before we made the trade and now we're going to go back to what we were originally doing because I think it will help the guys that we have here now."
"I've been really happy with the focus and effort we've had down here (on the practice floor) but that's still got to translate to doing the job in the game. We'll get a gauge of it tonight."
"We're at simplicity where accountability is pretty easy to gauge. We're going to be a simplistic team that tries to be proactive. That's what we're going to be."
"We've got one thing thing we're going to do on screen and rolls, and post defense and isolations and things like that and we're not going to try and do three or four things."
"We've got to get back to keeping (teams) out of the 50 percent (shooting) range. It puts way way way too much pressure on the offense. If they're scoring every time it puts pressure on you to score every time. Somewhere along the line if you're getting stop it takes some of the pressure off your offense. We're very good offensively but we can't be that good."
"We've got to develop some consistency on the road and at home."
Will take a look at playing with a small line up with one big and three small guys and Steve.
Not certain the Warrick and Childress won't play. Go by feel based on match-ups. Those guys need to keep themselves ready to play which is difficult to do.
"I think he's (McGrady) played great. I watched the Boston game the other night and obviously he played really well in that game right there. He seems to be feeling a lot better and he's not an old guy. He's 31 years old, I think, so when he's healthy he's got a lot of basketball left in him."
Ben Gordon when he goes well, they go well and he plays well in this building.
"They've got five guys averaging in double-figures and that's all you need to know about them. There's not one guy you've got to zero in on, there's a bunch of guys you've got to do a good job on."
"We've got to keep working on that situation right there to get the right people out there with (Dragic) and stuff. As I've said, he's got to play a little better but we're going to have to try and surround him with some guys that's going to make the game a little bit easier for him too."