This was not a fun game to witness. The Mavericks were scorching all night long and held the Suns in check defensively converting their rare misses into buckets. With Steve Nash sitting, the Suns never had a chance tonight.
The Mavericks dropped 10 of 16 threes in the first two quarters, including 6 straight to end the half. Once again a former Sun did major damage. This time it was in the form of Vince Carter (cringe), who went for 15 points on 6-9 shooting, including three out four 3-pointers. The Suns were out rebounded 23-13, with the Mavericks scoring 15 second chance points. While the Suns looked decent from a numbers standpoint: 48% fg, 4-7 from beyond the arc, and only 5 turnovers, missing 5 of their last 6 shots to end the 2nd quarter left them down by 18 at the break.
Said Suns defensive guru, Elston Turner: "..We blew assignments and allowed too much dribble penetration..."
Sound familiar? Need to read any further?
In the second half, things got no better for the Suns. The Mavericks extended their lead to as many as 26. The Suns had a couple of late runs, but it was too late. Late enough for Robin Lopez to get playing time.
The Mavericks went 14-27 from beyond the arc and shot 55% overall
The Mavericks scored 20 points off of 10 offensive rebounds
The Mavericks outrebounded the Suns 44-33 and out dished the Suns 31-21
Former Suns Vince Carter and Shawn Marion went for 41 points and +36 combined
"They shot the heck out of the ball tonight...It's hard to play catchup against that team especially when they're locked in like they were...They force you to get into rotations...You gotta try and double Dirk...he opens up other guys and they shot the ball extremely well...Their 18th in the league in shooting and we forced them to make shots and they made them...You have to play the averages..."
On Josh Childress
'He's playing well. he's a true professional. He came every day and he worked...We gave him an opportunity and I think he did a great job."
"...We played really bad on defense tonight...they made us pay. They got hot early and they kept it going."
Alvin Gentry sounded tired and somewhat apologetic of his players when commenting on this game. Without Steve Nash, the odds are stacked very high against the Suns this season. But tonight there was much talk about the defensive rotation, how helping out Grant Hill defend Dirk Nowitzki left the Mavericks with a lot of open shots. They just happened to hit those shots. Steve Nash most likely wouldn't have made much of a difference in defending the Mavericks onslaught tonight.
Gentry sounds rational, you play the averages. I get it. But maybe after two quarters when you give up 66 points you ditch the averages when you see it isn't working. What do you do to contain Dirk? On a normal day in a normal season I would have been more concerned about him. But this is not your normal Dirk whose averaging 17.1 ppg, his lowest average since his rookie year. This is tired Dirk. Dirk who had to take a week off because he was out of shape. Maybe you rough him up with Frye, Morris, and Warrick. That's 18 fouls you have to give. Then again Dirk's a decent free throw shooter.
Although I'm not much of a fan of Tom Chambers commentary, the guy seemed to disagree with Alvin Gentry: "You can't allow 55% from the field. You can't allow a team to shoot over 50% in threes." While Gentry seemed resigned at his team's defensive performance, Chambers had a different view as did Jared Dudley. Odd?