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The Suns weren't expected to have much of a chance against the mighty Heat and they didn't disappoint.

The good news is this Phoenix Suns team isn't led by old folks who are burdened by playing back-to-back games. In fact, you could -- and probably should -- argue that the best possible thing for Alvin Gentry's youngish gaggle of misfits on Monday is to take their limited talents to South Beach and climb right back on the bucking bronco that is the NBA schedule.

It's probably a given that LeBron James and his merry cast of Heatsters care not one whit for the travails of Jared Dudley's missing jump shot, Michael Beasley's attempts to Melo-ize his game, Alvin Gentry's whacky rotations, or the carnival that is Suns basketball all of three games into the season.

There was a sweet time a few years back when confident Phoenix fans looked at "Miami" on the schedule and mentally assured themselves a win. Then a win would happen.

Now the golden hightop is on the other foot and the tanned gods and goddesses of South Florida are rightly convinced that they will be treated to a victory (once they bother to show up around halftime).

Knowing what we've seen from the Suns, it's pretty hard to argue with them. Also, they are just so damned good looking that any attempts at basketball discussion quickly dissolve into a drooling puddle of bikini mush. (And that's with the male Heat fans.)

Highly Detailed Analysis of Miami Heat Roster

LeBron James is amazing.

Game Schedule

The game starts at 7:30pm ET and likely will be over by 8:00pm ET. Doing some quick daylight savings time adjusted math, that means...carry the one...subtract the remainder...take off the shoes....that for Suns fans in sunny Arizona, be sure to have your TeeVees on by 5:30pm and you can confidently make dinner plans starting at 6:00pm.

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona (the best Fox Sports in the entire state) and on NBA League Pass which is now free for a few more days. In Miami people can watch on something called "SunSpM" but honestly, if I lived in Miami and was a Heat fan I'd probably find a few other things to do tonight.

Quote and Power Ranking

Goran pretty much sums it up here:

Phoenix Suns’ Jared Dudley must improve on shots
“The third quarter, we were too selfish and our defense was terrible,” guard Goran Dragic said.

Good quote aside, how striking is it to see Goran's English at this level. I guarantee you this quote a couple of years ago would have read: "I think so that third quarter defense was very, very horrible and that we play selfishly."

I miss that Goran.

And here we have weekly power rankings from Seth Rosenthal (aka lil Seth) who has the Suns in his top ten!

NBA week 2 power rankings: Ignore these rankings - SBNation.com
They're not even thaaaaaat bad so far, just super flaky and unreliable, which, when you look at who's getting minutes, kind of makes sense. Regardless of context, watching Luis Scola in his new home has been fun.

What, did you believe me?

Links to stuff


Next Game


And because nobody loves you as much as I love you...there's this:

Writer's Notebook: There is literally no story that can't be told with K-Pop.


Uspw_6709288

The good news is this Phoenix Suns team isn't led by old folks who are burdened by playing back-to-back games. In fact, you could -- and probably should -- argue that the best possible thing for Alvin Gentry's youngish gaggle of misfits on Monday is to take their limited talents to South Beach and climb right back on the bucking bronco that is the NBA schedule.

It's probably a given that LeBron James and his merry cast of Heatsters care not one whit for the travails of Jared Dudley's missing jump shot, Michael Beasley's attempts to Melo-ize his game, Alvin Gentry's whacky rotations, or the carnival that is Suns basketball all of three games into the season.

There was a sweet time a few years back when confident Phoenix fans looked at "Miami" on the schedule and mentally assured themselves a win. Then a win would happen.

Now the golden hightop is on the other foot and the tanned gods and goddesses of South Florida are rightly convinced that they will be treated to a victory (once they bother to show up around halftime).

Knowing what we've seen from the Suns, it's pretty hard to argue with them. Also, they are just so damned good looking that any attempts at basketball discussion quickly dissolve into a drooling puddle of bikini mush. (And that's with the male Heat fans.)

Highly Detailed Analysis of Miami Heat Roster

LeBron James is amazing.

Game Schedule

The game starts at 7:30pm ET and likely will be over by 8:00pm ET. Doing some quick daylight savings time adjusted math, that means...carry the one...subtract the remainder...take off the shoes....that for Suns fans in sunny Arizona, be sure to have your TeeVees on by 5:30pm and you can confidently make dinner plans starting at 6:00pm.

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona (the best Fox Sports in the entire state) and on NBA League Pass which is now free for a few more days. In Miami people can watch on something called "SunSpM" but honestly, if I lived in Miami and was a Heat fan I'd probably find a few other things to do tonight.

Quote and Power Ranking

Goran pretty much sums it up here:

Phoenix Suns’ Jared Dudley must improve on shots
“The third quarter, we were too selfish and our defense was terrible,” guard Goran Dragic said.

Good quote aside, how striking is it to see Goran's English at this level. I guarantee you this quote a couple of years ago would have read: "I think so that third quarter defense was very, very horrible and that we play selfishly."

I miss that Goran.

And here we have weekly power rankings from Seth Rosenthal (aka lil Seth) who has the Suns in his top ten!

NBA week 2 power rankings: Ignore these rankings - SBNation.com
They're not even thaaaaaat bad so far, just super flaky and unreliable, which, when you look at who's getting minutes, kind of makes sense. Regardless of context, watching Luis Scola in his new home has been fun.

What, did you believe me?

Links to stuff


Next Game


And because nobody loves you as much as I love you...there's this:

Writer's Notebook: There is literally no story that can't be told with K-Pop.


Phoenix Suns 124, Miami Heat 99 The Phoenix Suns have little time to dwell on their worst loss of the season — a 115-94 defeat Sunday night to the Orlando Magic — with a 5:30 p.m. MST...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
20121102_mjr_su5_040

To get a better look at how much the Suns rolled out these line-ups and to gauge their effectiveness, I turned to popcornmachine.net, which tracks the performance of each line-up used in a game and charts them in handy-dandy color-coded charts, like the one you see below.

Phx-det_popcornmachine_medium

BENCH

Let's start right away by taking a look at the all-bench units used by both teams.

The Suns chose to send out all reserve line-ups twice: at the beginning of the second and fourth quarters. Between those two stints, the second unit was out there for a total of 10:33 and was outscored by four.

In comparison, the Pistons only used an all-bench line-up once: for the first 1:30 of the second quarter, during which they out-scored the Suns' second unit by two points.

So it certainly was true that Gentry made use of an all-reserve line-up much more than his Detroit counterpart did. And while the Suns weren't totally crushed over the course of the game, they were definitely out-played during this time. As you can expect if you watched the game, the bench unit did worse in its second quarter stint (-3) than it did in the 4th quarter (-1) after the players settled down a bit.

STARTERS

The starting five is clearly the strength of this team, but exactly how strong is it?

The Suns sent out the entire starting five on three separate occasions.

The first is obviously the beginning of the game, and the whole group played for the first 6:57 before Scola took a seat. During that time, the Suns were +1.

The starting five was reunited at the 2:53 mark of the second quarter, an in essence played the duration of the period (Morris and Johnson came in for the final five seconds or so), and during that time the Suns reasserted control and outscored the Pistons by 10.

The starters opened the third quarter together, and played until the 3:32 mark, a total of 8:28 and their longest stretch together. During that time, the Suns were outscored by 1.

In total, the starting five played 18:13 together and were +10, although basically all 10 of those came during the nearly 3 minute stretch late in the first half. For the rest of their 15 minutes together, the Suns played the Pistons to a draw.

As for the Pistons, they also played their starting five three times. They played the first 5:43 and were +3, returned in the second at the 4:35 mark for 1:42 and played even basketball and finally they played the first 7:31 of the second half and were +1. They played together a few minutes less than the Suns at 14:56, but were +4 in that time.

If you look at those times, all of the Pistons' starting five minutes minus the short stretch in the second quarter (where they were even anyway) came head-to-head against the Suns' starting five, and the Pistons came out on top outscoring the Suns by four.

Where the Suns starters really did their damage is when at least one of the Pistons' starters took a seat and a bench player came in. Against Detroit line-ups including at least one reserve, the Suns' starting five was +14 in 4:59. The Suns +10 stretch at the end of the half came against four pistons starters plus rookie shooting guard Kim English.

So as far as starting fives go, the Suns aren't all that dominant. Where their advantage came, at least in this game, was playing their starters together longer and taking advantage when the other team put in a bench player or two. PHX 1-5 > DET 1-2+4-6

GOING STREAKING

There were a couple different significant runs made during this game: a few smaller ones by Detroit and one big one by the Suns.

Detroit went on a 7-4 run early against the Suns' starting five, then went on a 10-4 run later in the period when Markieff Morris stepped into the line-up in place of Luis Scola. Thanks to these runs, the Pistons held a 28-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Piston went on another min-run to start the second quarter, out-scoring the Suns second unit 11-4. The Piston also went on a 6-0 run in the closing moments, but the Suns were able to hold on for the victory.

A big reason why the Suns were able to hold on came later in the quarter as Phoenix responded with a huge 24-7 run, starting with the last 30 or so seconds of the bench five, continuing with a line-up consisting of Scola and four bench players and finishing up with the starting five.

POPCORN

  • Luis Scola was the first starter to take a seat for the Suns, and the first one to return in the second quarter to play with the bench
  • Scola played alongside four reserves for 1:53, besting Marcin Gortat's :44 for the most playing time as the only starter on the floor, and the Suns were +3 during that time; evidence for MMotherwell's suggestion of playing Scola more with the bench?
  • The Suns were even with Shannon Brown in during the first three quarters, but were -5 in the fourth as Brown played the entire period; Brown got it going and had 10 of his 14 in the fourth, but was that really good for the Suns?
  • Wes Johnson was -3 in the first half and P.J. Tucker was -4 in the second, so the change didn't make much of a difference
  • Gortat played the entire first and third quarters and the last five minutes and change of the second and fourth quarters
  • All Dragic's minutes came alongside Gortat
  • The Suns only used 15 different line-ups, while the Pistons used 21 (the Pistons substituted more often, basically)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Alvin Gentry has a difficult dilemma on his hands. The first unit is mostly good, while the second unit is mostly bad. The first five versus second five disparity isn't quite as bad as most think, but it is there. So what should Gentry do? At least in this game, the Suns had an advantage by keeping their starting five in longer and allowing them to play a couple minutes against a line-up including Detroit reserves. Should Gentry sacrifice that advantage to sit a starter or two early in order to bring them back earlier to bolster the bench? Or would that make the starting five worse just as much as doing so would make the bench better? Would that plan be a net positive, negative or no change?

**Note - For whatever reason, popcornmachine.net doesn't have the numbers from the game with GSW up on their site, so I don't know how much changed from game one to game two. However, they do have the numbers up from the ORL game, and a quick glance tells me there was some change. This particular post was getting a little long, so to spare you from a wall of text I'm publishing it as is. I will examine the ORL game soon, and maybe the MIA game as well, to see what changes Gentry has made. But this game against Detroit can be considered the starting point of Gentry's experimentation.


20121102_mjr_su5_044

The Suns have started the season 1-2 despite leading in all 3 of their games in the second half. This week, they play four games, with three of those on the road. The only home game this week (through Sunday) is hosting a young, upstart Cleveland team.

Here's a couple of links on the Suns. Don't be surprised by the tenor.

One person's weekly NBA power rankings have the Suns in the bottom five of the NBA, where they belong after last night's debacle.

Hoopsworld points out how the Suns are struggling with their new pieces.

The first few weeks of the NBA season are crazy and not always predictable or sustainable. Let's use this thread to talk about random Suns stuff as well as random stuff throughout the rest of the league.

Have at it...


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