Common sense tells you that the difference in winning and losing has a thousand factors, but one factor is whether your body is more rested than your opponent's body. The Phoenix Suns are suffering this year, in part, due to a more difficult schedule than anyone thought.

There is a lot of debate over whether the amount of rest a team gets between games makes a difference in their won-loss record. Teams don't necessarily lose all their back-to-backs, but the Suns have a stunningly bad record on those this year by losing 5 of 6 on the second night of a back-to-back set.

However, what about the results of teams whose rest is greater or lesser than that night's opponent? If both teams are on the back-to-back, then "rest" won't play a factor. The home team is most likely to win. But what if the home team is the more tired team? Or the road team is doubly damaged by being more tired as well?

The Suns have played 23 games so far, and only five (5) of those games have provided the Suns more rest than their opponent that night. Another ten (10) have been even, while eight (8) have been affairs where the Suns are fighting a team that's had more rest than they have had.

Coach Hornacek commented the other night that the Suns seem to have faced more rested opponents this year than last year. While the numbers are not overwhelming, that sentiment is certainly born out.

Let's see how the Suns have fared overall, and in home/road splits based on who had more rest between them and their opponent that night.

As you can see, the Suns have a tough time winning games where the opponent has more rest than they do. Curiously, and likely due to small sample size, the Suns have fared better on the road with less rest than at home. But those two roads wins on less rest where against the Celtics and the banged up Pacers, so there's that.

On the flip side, some of the Suns best wins on the season have come with being the more rested team, beating San Antonio, Golden State, Denver and Dallas under such circumstances.

Certainly, a lot of factors go into wins and losses. But it's interesting to see a trend form, and then apply that to the future to see what's in store.

Unfortunately, its not good news.

*when both teams have 2+ days rest, I called it 'even'

As you can see, the Suns only have the advantage of being the more rested team once (1) in the next 17 games, while they are on the short end seven (7) times. Factor in that 12 of 17 are on the road, and we can only hope the Suns to split the next 17 games and still be treading water when a franchise-long nine (9) game home streak starts after January 11.

Again, whether you're more rested than the other team is just one small factor in your ability to win the game.

But it sure looks like it plays a part in this Suns season.

Despite promising play lately, the Phoenix Suns dropped their third consecutive game on Tuesday night to the Miami Heat running on fumes of their fourth game in five nights.

Before the Phoenix Suns tipped off against the Miami Heat, I asked coach Jeff Hornacek if he talked to the guys about their penchant for lacking energy on the second night of back-to-back sets this year.

"We're not going to bring it up," he said with a chuckle. "Maybe they will forget about it."

Forget or not, the Suns ran with the same script they've used on every prior back to back: come out flat and struggle to compete. The only thing that kept the Suns in the game was hot three-point shooting, but in the end the Suns had the only game in franchise history in which they converted 17+ three-point shots but still didn't break 100 points on the night.

The Suns scored 0 points in the paint in the fourth quarter and only 24 for the game. They had only 7 points in transition (after averaging more than 24 fast break points per game over the last four games). Some of that was the Miami defense that packed the paint and stripped the ball from drivers, and some of that was the Suns being a step slow to every spot and even on the fast break.

"We were just a step slow," Hornacek said. "I think it was just tiredness, because they couldn't think. We ran the wrong things about four-straight times."

When asked if it was mental or physical fatigue, PG Goran Dragic wasn't sure.

"We were fighting yesterday," he said of the Clipper game on Monday night. "Tonight, we just...when you're tired your head is thinking you can do that but then your body cannot follow it. But maybe both (mental and physical). It was a lot of games in that week but that's not an excuse."

Of the Heat, coach Hornacek gave plenty of credit.

"They're a veteran team," he said. "(Chris) Bosh and (Dwyane) Wade - these guys have won championships, so they know all those little things that they can do at the end of the game and they did them."

The Heat had come in as losers of four straight games, and it was clear in their locker room that a win over Phoenix was a great relief.

"It was a great team effort," small forward Luol Deng said afterward. "I think what we did tonight was we stayed in the game. Going into the fourth quarter, we were up one or down one, I'm not sure, but on the bench we got together and just said 12 minutes to go. Lately we haven't been in games in the fourth quarter. As long as we give ourselves a chance every game, especially on the road, we'll come up with a win."

Miami has now won 9 consecutive games against the Phoenix Suns.

Here's the Suns interviews:

While Goran was a conversationalist, the other players were not. The Morris brothers declined interviews, while Gerald Green only granted one because he had the misfortune of making eye contact at the wrong time (fully dressed).

He was a man of few words.

Eric Bledsoe was one of the last in the locker room, so we grabbed him too. He didn't offer much more than Gerald did.

"We're struggling on back-to-backs right now," he said of the young Suns being 1-5 on the second night of back-to-backs despite being one of the youngest teams in the league. "We got to move onto the next game...I think we just got to fight through. We're going through a little bit right now. At the end of the day we can take some positive. I think we were aggressive and we made plays and they just didn't fall for us."

At least he got a chance to eat his birthday cake, finally. Bledsoe turned 25 years old on Tuesday and there was a nice birthday cake in his locker after the game. PR Manager Julie Fie wrapped it up for him in a shoe box (she made sure it one with a new shoe smell instead of old shoe smell) so he could take it home.

There you have it, Suns fans.

They are not happy, and not entirely sure why they are so bad on the second night of back to backs.

PHOENIX — The Suns found their floor spacing that was missing most of the year, but that was about the only thing that went right. The second night of a back-to-back predictably went against a...

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

The Phoenix Suns just couldn't get their mojo going, and the Miami Heat did what Charlotte and Orlando had already done this year: get a big win in Phoenix to break a losing streak.

First it was Charlotte breaking a losing streak and coming in with lots of injuries, but they won in Phoenix anyway. Then it was Orlando, coming in after a bad loss on the road to surprise the Suns with a big win. Now, it's the Miami Heat taking a win in Phoenix, 103-97, behind 34 points from Chris Bosh in a slogfest that was ugly to watch.

The script that didn't need any writing, just a copy machine. The Phoenix Suns dropped to 12-11 on the season with a lackadaisical loss to the Heat that was as painful to watch as the final score might suggest.

First quarter

The Suns started the game like they were only a few hours removed from their most depressing loss of the season. Slogging through the mud.

Two Keef jumpers, three missed threes and two turnovers later, the Suns were down 9-2 when Hornacek called timeout. The out-of-timeout call was a post-up by Bledsoe, but he walked.

Finally, the Suns woke up a bit with a Plum slam and a couple wide open threes by Dragic and Keef, who is now a big time threat from three.

But Chris Bosh started 4-4 on layups against Plumlee, then Len came in contested three straight drive to the rim and changed the momentum in the Suns favor.

By the end of the quarter, the Suns had sleepwalked to only a three point deficit thanks to some active defense by Len and a cameo by Tyler Ennis.

Second quarter

Tyler Ennis started the quarter with a nice pick and roll to Marcus Morris for a jumper, and the Suns scored 6 straight points overall with Len (21) and Ennis (20) on the floor with Tolliver, Green and Mook.

Anthony Tolliver seems to have found his three-point stroke, making his first attempt of the night and playing active defense.

The backup Suns played the backup Heat fairly well until Dwyane Wade came back in for some quick scores and the Suns responded with Bledsoe and soon all the starters followed.

Just before being subbed out, Len got his ankle rolled up on and came up with a limp. Still, he's probably playing better with a limp than a healthy Plumlee.

By midquarter, the Heat started posting up Dragic with Wade like many Suns opponents lately. On the first, Dragic contested the shot enough to get the turnover, then committed a foul, then got some great help from Plumlee on a faceplant block.

Someone got a gif of that Plumlee block?

The Suns kept the lead the rest of the half partially thanks to Plumlee's hustle and partially thanks to the Miami Heat really not playing very well.

Still the Suns only had a 5-point lead at half, 51-46.

Chris Bosh had 10 points, 5 rebounds at the half for the Heat.

Markieff Morris had 10 points, 2 rebounds and Marcus had 11 with 4 rebounds to lead the Suns.

Third quarter

Chris Bosh started the second half with 5 quick points on a jumper and a three, while the Suns had a lazy turnover in between. Hornacek called a TO within 54 seconds.

The Heat slogged down the game and the tired Suns complied, allowing the quarter to drag along at a snail's pace. By the end of the third, the Heat had a 1-point lead behind Bosh's offensive onslaught of 14 points.

No other highlights to discuss in this quarter. Goran Dragic helped keep the Suns close with 8 points.

Fourth quarter

The Heat started with energy and threatened to stretch the lead but Alex Len blocked a Haslem shot and the Suns started raining threes down (Tolliver, Mook and two for Green) to give the Suns a 4-point lead with 8:49 left.

Somehow, the Heat cannot get it into their heads that Gerald Green loves the pullup three from the angle. Green was 4-5 on threes by this point in the game, every one of them needed by the Suns badly.

Let me be straight, for those not watching the game: it was ugly and slow all night long. The Heat play at the league's second-slowest pace, and the Suns were dog tired from getting in at 3:00am after that slugfest in LA.

The Suns just had to find a way to pull this out. It wasn't going to come easy. The Heat took the lead a minute later and the Suns looked scuffly again.

The only thing keeping the Suns alive is making 14-of-29 threes to this point.

The Heat just kept slowing the game down more and more, and the Suns couldn't stop them. And they couldn't get themselves playing fast either.

Then Chris Bosh went on a personal 7-0 run and the Heat scored on every possession down the stretch. Even continued threes from the Suns couldn't close the gap because the Heat just kept making their own.

And when they missed (Wade) they didn't grab the rebound. Wade grabbed his own rebound on the bounce and walked into a layup to put the Heat up 5 with 33 seconds left.

Suns doing Suns things.

The guys talk about the heartbreaking Clippers loss, the Suns rotation and fun player pairings. Give it a listen, and if you have anything to add, please leave a comment! Phoenix Suns: Rotating Suns...

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

Page 777 of 2362

777

Web Links

Sponsored Ads