Suns Experimentation Leads To Raptors Win, 121-100

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, top, drives to the hoop past Raptors guard Sonny Weems (24) during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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7 days ago: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, top, drives to the hoop past Raptors guard Sonny Weems (24) during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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It's kind of become old hat now. The Suns starters start strong and from there things go south in a hurry. But it's all good. Or at least it's all excusable.

With the majority of second half minutes played by guys who will either not be on the roster at all or will be in a deep bench role come regular season, I'm going to pretend it didn't happen. It certainly doesn't matter much.

Those minutes do matter a heck-of-a-lot to Matt Janning (18 min., 6 points); Gani Lawal (12 min., 7 points) and Zabian Dowdell (12 min., 0 points) and mostly to Earl Clark (7:40 min., 2 points) but for the Suns season overall, they are non-critical. 

And with the game not on TV, it's hard to say much about those guys other than that Al McCoy calls Matt Janning, "Matt Channing". But he's Al McCoy so he can do whatever he wants. No complaints here.

The portion of the game that was most troubling was the 2nd quarter.

The starters got out to a nice 33-22 lead after one and turned it over to the Suns Super Subs: Dudley, Warrick, Frye, Childress and Dragic -- the unit that's supposed to be great defensively and lift this team to great heights.

That unit was on the floor together for 4 minutes before Siler came in for Frye. They were outscored 9-6 in that period which isn't horrible by any means. Channing had no points, 2 turnovers and a foul in that stretch.

Gentry then went with that unit (second unit plus Siler, minus Frye) for another 3 1/2 minutes and they were +1 in that stretch. Still, not that bad.

Then Gentry brought back Nash, Hill, Richardson and Clark and left Warrick on the floor. Who's the center in that group? No matter, they were +4 over the next 3 minutes before Turkoglu came in for Warrick.

Turkoglu, Nash, Hill, Clark and Richardson. That unit went -7 over the final 2:26 of the quarter.

So on second thought, I'm not concerned about the 2nd quarter at all but if I'm Earl Clark's agent I might be worried.

4 minutes from Frye. 2:30 from Siler. No Lopez and oh, the Suns were +1 on the offensive glass. The problem was scoring (22 pts on 38% FG for the Suns) and giving up 20 points in the paint to the Raptors leading to their 31 points on 52% shooting.

It wasn't pretty but it was Gentry experimenting.

So overall, the Suns played legit regular season ball for 1 quarter and looked good. Panic button stowed ... for now.


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