I got up this morning hoping there would be some kind of explanation of why coach Alvin Gentry benched Marcin Gortat in favor of Jermaine O'Neal in the fourth quarter. Gortat, fresh of his public moaning about his lack of touches, seemed to get plenty of leather in the first half which he didn't convert (2-5, 5 points) and then came out and esploded in the third quarter (5-6, 13 points).
I'm sure Gentry was asked why O'Neal played while Gortat sat and I'm willing to bet your lunch money that he gave a non-answer along the lines of -- "I just went with the match ups I thought would work." -- or something equally useless. That's his prerogative to not answer a potentially loaded question, but it leaves us only with speculation for our morning gruel.
In reading through what was said, this quote from J.O. seemed most telling on the topic (and in general).
Phoenix Suns can’t complete rally against Philadelphia 76ers
“We’re not good enough to feel comfortable or relaxed after winning two games in a row until we’re 10 games over .500,” O’Neal said.
“We’re a below-.500 team. Our record is who we are. We’ve earned that. We could get quickly put in the basement with the bottom-of-the-barrel teams if we don’t get our act together. These guys played last night and went into overtime and, at times, had a lot more energy than we had.” [emphasis added]
So, is O'Neal calling out his younger colleague for waiting until the second half to turn it on and was Gentry's benching a message along those lines? We will probably never know so let's just go ahead and say that, maybe it could have possibly been the reason unless there was some other reason....ahem, Spencer "horrible defender" Hawes was also benched.
As Suns fans are likely to never forget, Jrue Holiday was passed over in favor of Earl Clark in the 2009 NBA Draft. Sarver really should fire all the front office people involved in that horrible decision!...oh, right.
The folks at Liberty Ballers certainly have plenty of Jrue love, but point out another factor in the win:
Evan Turner's jumper. Turner knocked down three triples tonight, which, coupled with Notre Dame's unexpected success, has people wondering if we really only do have 28 days left on this earth.
Yup, the Suns gave up MORE open threes and the defensive suckitude was the focus of Alvin Gentry's postgame concern.
POSTGAME QUOTES: SUNS AT 76ERS - NOV. 25, 2012 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE PHOENIX SUNS
Overall, (Jrue Holiday's) 33 points hurt, but those aren’t the ones that beat us. The ones that beat us were the ones that we gave up when we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do. When rotations broke down and we rotated up from the corner when we weren’t supposed to, or we pre-rotated, or we tried to go for steals. That’s what got us in trouble. So we just have to correct that."
And more from Gentry as transcribed by Valley of the Suns:
Philadelphia 76ers 104, Phoenix Suns 101 -- Holiday's weekend
“I would say once again it’s a great effort game for us, but we’ve got to do a better job of executing,” Gentry said. “I thought we did a great job down the stretch, but you go back in the game and we have five or six plays where we don’t execute defensively and we give up three-point shots. It comes down to a one-possession game, so we’ve got to do better in that area right there.
“The effort is great. We continue to really compete and do a good job, but we have to be able to make the plays that win games for you. Tonight we had too many breakdowns, not at the crucial moments, but it creates crucial moments because we don’t do it then and before you know it we’ve given up three, four three-point shots, and that’s 12 points. We’ve just got to do a much better job in that department right there, but we played well.”
You will note no quotes posted from Beasley. You can go read them yourself, but basically he said, oops, that final shot should have gone in. Sorry, guys. I need to work on my right hand.
Overall, I'm not inclined to blast Beasley for missing the shot. He had a decent offensive game but as many others have said, it's time for him to get consistent on both ends.
And what's up with Goran Dragic? He looks like he's playing with cement shoes on his feet lately. Hidden small injury? Illness? Fight with his girlfriend? Who knows, but hopefully he snaps out of it soon.
One final link to Kris Habbas' Suns week in review:
Center of the Sun: A Week In Review 11/19 - 11/25 - SB Nation Arizona
A belated Center of the Sun today as the team played a midday Sunday game against the 76ers, but nonetheless here is the best, worst, and everything in-between for the Phoenix Suns this week.
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