20121206_ajl_as8_120

One of the lasting impressions from the Mavericks game, other than Craig Sager following the Suns dancers around all night, was Michael Beasley playfully racing one of the ushers back to the locker room after pregame warm-ups.

The problem is, it was the most effort 'Beez' showed all night.

After trading San Diego-related barbs with Jared Dudley and Serbian jokes with Coach Igor [Kokoskov], I made it to my seat on press row. John Gambadoro was my seating partner who, as you know, is hardly a fan of Michael Beasley's. He quickly predicted that Michael would be benched by the Suns' next game.

Whether it's the 4 minutes he played in the second half or the quiet pow-wow Gambo had with Alvin Gentry after the game, something tells me he's right. When pushed on the topic postgame, Gentry pretty much confirmed that a lineup change was coming. However, when asked if Beasley was hurting the team, coach said "I wouldn't go that far."

I did notice that Alvin gave Beasley dap every time he walked over to the bench. Maybe it's time coach use some tough love with Mr. Beasley. Overall, the southwestern matchup vs the Dallas Mavericks reminded me of an old western.

The Good

Luis Scola was the best Phoenix Sun out there. He did all of the little and big things. The problem is, Luis can't be the best player on an NBA team. There are just too many athletes and high-flyers...this ain't the Euroleague. Scola's high IQ and solid play is wasted by a bonehead play or two (see Michael Beasley). He's tailormade for a veteran team that's playoff-bound.

The Bad

Michael Beasley decided to go with a headband to start the second half.....maybe he shouldn't have. The Suns had a late start to the 3rd quarter, like 6 minutes late. It wasn't until Beasley and Brown went out for Tucker and Dudley that things started to get better. In the end, that 3rd quarter malaise was what cost the Suns the game.

The Ugly

Does Rick Carlisle owe Vince Carter money? Despite a hot O.J. Mayo on the outside and productive Brandan Wright on the inside, the Mavs' coach kept calling plays for VC down the stretch. The result was a nearly-blown game.

If not for the aforementioned Mayo hitting a huge step-through jumper to regain the lead, this one wreaked of overtime (which usually favors the home team). On the play in question, Vince actually looked over to Carlisle on the way downcourt. Rick held up a 5, which turned out to be a high pick n' roll for Collison. To be honest, it looked like coach was telling Carter to just go stand in the corner and not do anything. Either way, Dallas was able to get the momentum back and hold on for the win.

Equally ugly was the rash of 2nd half injuries...Jermaine O'neal poked his eye, Shawn Marion pulled his groin, and P.J. Tucker sprained his MCL. I have a bad feeling that P.J. won't be heard from this weekend.

Lastly

The Phoenix fans really disappointed me tonight. With the Suns down 5 and 4:36 left in the game, a lot of them headed for the exits. That may be acceptable at a Laker game, but not in the Valley of the Sun. Sure, their team sleepwalked in the 3rd quarter and then let Brandan Wright terrorize them inside late, but four minutes is like four hours in an NBA game. If the fans are giving up in December, what'll happen in March or April?

But then again, they probably just wanted to get their money back before the Suns made a run. Don't blame them, blame the economy.

*Follow me at www.Twitter.com/@NBAKnez

For more of my stuff, checkout www.BlogNBAsketball.com

Postgame video featuring Alvin Gentry, Markieff Morris and Luis Scola following the Suns Thursday night loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
157839193

Suns fans, this one hurts. Read this report from the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro and tell me how much faith you have right now in the front office's ability to lead this team out of the basketball desert it's current stuck in. The details are many and shocking and kind of depressing.

azcentral.com staff blogs - Coro's Orange Slices blog - PaulCoro - O.J. Mayo haunts Suns in person

Mayo returned to US Airways Center on Thursday night for the first time since he came to Phoenix in July hoping to sign with the Suns. He left that meeting without a deal after being told he would not start and that he was not the caliber of Eric Gordon. Mayo would not acknowledge that his friends and background had been questioned in the meeting but members of his new team affirmed that the questioning struck him strangely.

A couple of points that jump out:

- The Suns didn't trust Mayo's character and basically insulted him with their questioning. He's had a few public issues in Memphis including a fight with a teammate and a suspension for taking the wrong energy drink, but he's never struck me as a "problem child".

- The Suns were concerned about taking Mayo giving his potential "character issues" when they already had Beasley with his checkered past. There's an old saying about living with one bad apple, but you can't have two in the locker room. This is sound thinking, but you wonder about the Suns' ability to pick good fruit from bad.

- Mayo wanted to be a starter but the Suns told him that job was Jared Dudley's (although Gentry wasn't involved in the meetings and Dudley is now coming off the bench in favor of Brown).

- For the record, I had advocated for signing Beasley and still don't regret it. As poorly as he's played, it was a risk the Suns had to take. The sainted Daryl Morey talks about needing to gamble some times and Beasley was a good gamble. However, I don't agree with passing on Mayo just because you also had Michael.

Adding these sage words from Jim (via the comments below):

Just because we look atrociously incompetent right now doesn't mean that 20 games is the omega of the discussion.

At this point it appears the Suns may have made an egregious mistake in both talent evaluation and diplomacy, but it doesn't mean that a deviation in the current trajectory is impossible. There are always instances where situations that initially appear bleak reverse course and end up refulgent and resplendent.

Is Beasley woefully pathetic right now? Yes. Is Mayo playing like an all-star and making us look like fatuous buffoons? Yes. Do these 20 games absolutely define the remainder of these player's careers or their time with their current teams? No.

No reason to get defeatist and disconsolate or throw in the towel. Things aren't that bad. If you think we look stupid now, I would offer that we still have a chance to look much stupider in the coming days.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - O.J. Mayo 19 34.8 6.9 14.7 47.3 2.7 5.4 51.0 3.2 3.8 83.6 0.6 3.0 3.6 3.5 2.6 0.8 0.3 2.4 19.8


157839041

On the NBA's first ever "Satisfaction Guaranteed" Night, where the Suns will refund the ticket price to anyone who was not satisfied, the Phoenix Suns fell to an equally-in-transition Dallas Maverick team looking for an identity.

The Phoenix Suns will give you your money back if you don't enjoy this game tonight. All you need to do is fill out something online and ask. That's it. Boom. Free NBA game, if that's what you're angling for.

Me, I'd rather enjoy a fun game and go home happy. So yeah, let's do this Suns! Gimme a fun game!

As I looked through the stats to preview Suns vs. Mavericks, I was shocked by the similarities between these teams. Dallas' big advantage is that they do have a star, but he's been sidelined all season. Without Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks and Suns are pretty much evenly matched.

Given evenly matched teams, the advantage goes to the home team. And lucky for Suns fans, for the first time in almost two weeks they are the home team.

Be happy the Suns are at home

Below average teams are terrible on the road. The Phoenix Suns are 5-3 at home, but only 2-9 on the road. Of the Suns five home wins, four of them were come-from-behind variety.

Dallas is 6-3 at home, but only 2-7 on the road. They just lost by 19 last night to the Clippers, a game that was never in doubt after the first quarter.

Don't get whiplash!

Both teams play really fast, likely a product of their lack of overall talent. Dallas is 4th in the league in pace at 94.2, while the Suns are 8th. Expect that ball to move quickly up and down the court.

Hope the Suns to score 100+ points

Both teams are good when they score 100 points - Dallas is 6-1 while the Suns are 5-3. But neither team wants the other to score 100 points, but their opponents almost always do it anyway - Dallas is 3-9 in those situations, while the Suns are 4-9.

But don't expect a pretty game

Neither team is very good at offense, but the Suns are slightly better. Dallas is 18th in offensive rating, while the Suns are 14th.

However, not surprisingly, the Mavericks are a little better on the defensive end - ranking 19th overall in defensive rating, while the Suns are a lowly 29th there.

Dallas can defend, but they can't pull down the rebound.

Especially from the starters

The three Suns who have been starters all season long - Michael Beasley, Marcin Gortat and Goran Dragic - have the team's worst +/- on the season (-7 and -5 and -3 per game, respectively). By far. The question is whether all three guys are really that bad, or whether one guy is bringing the others down. Buy contrast, the team's second unit is a net positive.

Just when you think that's bad, the Mavericks are led in net +/- by none other than Derek Fisher, who has only played a grand total of two games after getting signed last week off the street. The rest of the Mavericks +/- resembles the Suns' - their starters being the worst on the team, with Collison, Mayo and Marion at the bottom of their list.

Adventures in rebounding

When a shot clangs off the rim, adventure begins. Neither team is good at rebounding, but the Suns are much better than the Mavericks.

When the Suns miss: The Phoenix Suns are 15th in the NBA in offensive rebound % (the percent of the time that the Suns pull down their own misses, as compared to the rest of the league), while the Mavericks are a lowly 28th in defensive rebound %.

When Dallas misses: The Phoenix Suns are not bad on the defensive glass, ranking 20th in the NBA in defensive rebound %, while the Mavericks are once again woeful at 29th in offensive rebound %.

Did I mention these teams are not world-beaters?

The Phoenix Suns have not beaten a team that is currently over .500. Dallas has only done it once (Knicks - 114-111). If you look at it in terms of playing teams that were above .500 at the time they played, the Suns are 3-8 in that situation and Dallas is 4-6.

But let's not waste any more time on that stat, since neither team is over .500 in this game.

Battle of top offseason signings

Dallas' top offseason signing was O.J. Mayo, while Phoenix's was Goran Dragic. Mayo scores more, while Dragic passes more. Dragic has more "win shares" on the season (2.0 vs. 1.7), both leading their respective teams.

Both are down a bit after hot starts. Dragic is only averaging 15 and 6 lately, while Mayo's 3-point shooting has cooled off from a blistering start.

Battle of incumbent shooting guards to compliment the top offseason signing

Will Vince Carter go off on us, thanks to Scott Howard's fan club? Carter is the Mavericks best offensive weapon after O.J. Mayo, to the tune of 13.1 PPG (20 points/36 min) and 42% on three-pointers.

On the Suns side, Shannon Brown is doing okay this year but was more stat-filling and impactful off the bench.

We don't need no stinkin' third (or even second) option!

Neither teams boasts a great third option, even if you consider Carter/Brown as valid second options. Neither team has a second or third leading scorer getting more than 13 points per game.

Battle of the new point guards

Darren Collison was acquired to take over for Jason Kidd, but has not played well - only 11 and 6 in 31 minutes. For this reason, reason Derek Fisher was signed off the street last week.

"We need help at point guard," coach Rick Carlisle said in The Dallas Morning News after the team's loss in Chicago last week. "We feel [Fisher] can help us. It's not a cure-all to all of our team challenges, but his expertise and experience will help."

This, of course, was largely due to the suspect play of offseason pickup Darren Collison, who was benched last week after playing inconsistently on offense and poorly on defense throughout November. Replacing him with younger, less experienced players on the roster like Dominique Jones or Rodrigue Beaubois clearly wasn't the answer -- and it only took two straight losses for Dallas to come to that conclusion.

Battle of the Amnesty Claims

Elton Brand basically out of the rotation in favor of Troy "statue" Murphy, while fellow amnesty claim Luis Scola lost his to an inconsistent second-year player. Both began the season in the starting lineup, and now both come off the bench - an unfamiliar role. Brand has an injury history, so he's used to missing time. But he'd nearly always been a starter, just like Scola.

Battle of the Earth-Bound, Bald-Pated Centers

At center, you've got two similarly profiled guys - Chris Kaman vs. Marvin Marcin Gortat. Even their hair is the same this season. They both bring similarities on the court as well. They can rebound, block a few shots and act big around the basket. And they both produce about the same numbers, when it's all said and done.

Battle of the Underwhelming Small Forward Who Fits Best At Undersized Power Forward

Former Sun Shawn Marion faces off against uninspiring Michael Beasley. Marion is now 3,000 years old and showing it, while Michael Beasley only moves like he's that old. Both are their team's worst +/- player on the season.

Unlike other matchups, Suns fans probably wouldn't mind if this one goes Dallas' way.

And it's all about Satisfaction, right?

Hit these other links on the game, too

Mavericks vs Suns coverage

Mavs Moneyball

See the Future: Dallas at Phoenix, Game 19 - Mavs Moneyball
Right now, at this very moment, Dallas is horrible. Truly horrible. And they aren't going to magically improve over night. I don't really see how they improve at all. We're a quarter of the way through the season and they've not corrected any of the problems they've displayed over the past few weeks.

The Phoenix Suns organization put together quite an evening at US Airways Center Thursday for “Satisfaction Guaranteed Night.” The in-game entertainment was lively, the concession lines...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Page 740 of 1565

740

Sponsored Ads