4th_qtr_shot_chart

After the Suns home loss on Halloween night, Goran Dragic talked about the need to make open shots. There's no denying that. Guys that are open, like Jared Dudley at the top of the arc without a defender in the same zip code, need to make those shots -- and on many nights they will.

But that doesn't change one basic fact that's kind of like the law of gravity: the closer you are to the hoop, the higher percentage of shots you will make. Sure, there will be times when that rule is broken by a hot hand, but we all know what to do when the hand goes cold.

You attack the rim.

You do that via the dribble drive. You do that with a competent post player who can back his guy down, turn, fire, and swish. Kind of like that ONE time at the 1:43 mark when Scola abused David Lee (a horrible defensive player).

What I saw during that stretch was Shannon Brown taking too many contested outside shots (he went 1-4 in the quarter).

I also remember Dragic and Gortat trying to run middle pick and roll but with Scola out behind the three-point line angle right where Frye normally chills. When the defense collapsed, they kicked to the open Scola who doesn't shoot threes like Frye. Miss.

Another time running the pick and roll they kicked to Tucker on the left wing who missed a wide open long jump shot (he's not a jump shooter either).

So, basically, the Suns tried to run their old pick and roll plays that were so effective in 2010 when Frye, Dudley and J-Rich were lights out floor spacers but with with guys who are not lights out floor spacers. Shockingly, that didn't work.

The only thing that did work was P.J. Tucker who scored 10 of the Suns 18 total points and was 5-7 in the 4th. He was also the guy who finished almost every play the Suns did manage to score in the paint during the quarter. He moved without the ball and received passes from Dragic and Dudley and had an offensive rebound put back.

The numbers below (via NBA.com) support what we saw during the game. Too many outside shots. Look:

4th_qtr_shot_chart_medium

Screen_shot_2012-11-01_at_1

It's one game. Not the end of the world. They'll improve. Yadda yadda yadda.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/01/12 2:13 PM EDT ]

Let me add a few things here...because I've clearly not said enough on this subject yet.

There's no problem with taking outside shots. Defenses are going to pack the paint and make you beat them from "over the top". You have to take those shots when they are open to loosen things up. Sometimes they just aren't going to fall.

A perfect example was the wide open three Jared got late in the game. It was a great play. Goran got deep into the paint. The defense collapsed. Goran made a fantastic pass from the baseline to the top of the arc. Jared is a great shooter. He missed. Whatever. Shit happens.

The problem I saw was the decision making with the second unit (in particular our old buddy Mr. Brown) and the play calling that ignored the post too many times in favor of the pick and roll.

Pick and roll is nice, but if we've learned one thing over the years watching the Suns run it ALL THE TIME, is that you need shooters to space the floor unless the defense is totally asleep. The Warriors rotated well. The Suns didn't have the gunners to make them pay. So why run the play? Why ignore Scola who's got a mismatch against Lee in the post? Hell, why not even give Jermaine O'Neal a shot at going against the much smaller Carl Landry in the post?


20121031_ajl_as8_274

First, let's look to our friend Kris Habbas at SB Nation Arizona:

Prior to the 87-85 loss the Phoenix Suns suffered on Wednesday in their season opener to the Golden State Warriors, head coach Alvin Gentry talked about how his rotation is not going to be set in stone. "I think you've got to do it on a per game basis," he said. "Closing out will be a game-by-game basis. I think the guys that are going good and and played well and feeling good about it, then those are the guys that are going to close out games."

That is what happened on Wednesday night. Reserve forward P.J. Tucker came in off the bench and sparked the team with his defensive play in the first half and scored some big buckets in the second half, and ended up closing out the game in place of the talented Michael Beasley, whom the team is counting on to become their go-to player.

Now, let's check out the Suns beat reporter from the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com: Paul Coro

Twice, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat lost offensive rebounds by battling each other for them down the stretch. Twice, the Suns hesitated when they needed a tying 3-pointer and let Golden State foul in the final seconds. And given a gift by Stephen Curry's two free-throw misses, Goran Dragic raced upcourt and passed to Sebastian Telfair rather than taking a shot to win in time.

"We're trying to change the personality what our teams have been in the past and be able to win a game where you can grind it out," Gentry said.

Our sister blog, Golden State of Mind, had this to say about their team's opening night win:

Well, that was an interesting game, to top an interesting day. The good news is we leave Phoenix with a win. The really good news is that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut were able to play significant minutes on Opening Night. The bad news is that Stephen Curry and David Lee sucked on ice, in terms of shooting tonight.

cbssports.com had a recap that included a quote from Mark Jackson

"If you would have told me coming in that David Lee and Steph Curry would go 4 for 30, I'd say we'd be in trouble," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.

And a few more...

Old problems lead to loss for new-look Suns
For those wondering if the Phoenix Suns' offseason was more of a neat trick than a retreat, Wednesday's season-opening date with Golden State Warriors was scary at times, but not totally creepy.

Golden State Warriors 87, Phoenix Suns 85 -- New era, same result
First and foremost, the Suns failed to make a field goal after Luis Scola banked in a nine-footer with 1:43 remaining to put Phoenix on top by one.


20121031_ajl_as8_274

First, let's look to our friend Kris Habbas at SB Nation Arizona:

Prior to the 87-85 loss the Phoenix Suns suffered on Wednesday in their season opener to the Golden State Warriors, head coach Alvin Gentry talked about how his rotation is not going to be set in stone. "I think you've got to do it on a per game basis," he said. "Closing out will be a game-by-game basis. I think the guys that are going good and and played well and feeling good about it, then those are the guys that are going to close out games."

That is what happened on Wednesday night. Reserve forward P.J. Tucker came in off the bench and sparked the team with his defensive play in the first half and scored some big buckets in the second half, and ended up closing out the game in place of the talented Michael Beasley, whom the team is counting on to become their go-to player.

Now, let's check out the Suns beat reporter from the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com: Paul Coro

Twice, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat lost offensive rebounds by battling each other for them down the stretch. Twice, the Suns hesitated when they needed a tying 3-pointer and let Golden State foul in the final seconds. And given a gift by Stephen Curry's two free-throw misses, Goran Dragic raced upcourt and passed to Sebastian Telfair rather than taking a shot to win in time.

"We're trying to change the personality what our teams have been in the past and be able to win a game where you can grind it out," Gentry said.

Our sister blog, Golden State of Mind, had this to say about their team's opening night win:

Well, that was an interesting game, to top an interesting day. The good news is we leave Phoenix with a win. The really good news is that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut were able to play significant minutes on Opening Night. The bad news is that Stephen Curry and David Lee sucked on ice, in terms of shooting tonight.

cbssports.com had a recap that included a quote from Mark Jackson

"If you would have told me coming in that David Lee and Steph Curry would go 4 for 30, I'd say we'd be in trouble," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.

And a few more...

Old problems lead to loss for new-look Suns
For those wondering if the Phoenix Suns' offseason was more of a neat trick than a retreat, Wednesday's season-opening date with Golden State Warriors was scary at times, but not totally creepy.

Golden State Warriors 87, Phoenix Suns 85 -- New era, same result
First and foremost, the Suns failed to make a field goal after Luis Scola banked in a nine-footer with 1:43 remaining to put Phoenix on top by one.


The Phoenix Suns opened their season with a home loss to the Golden State Warriors. There were a few positive signs but mostly just "areas for improvement".


The Phoenix Suns opened their season with a home loss to the Golden State Warriors. There were a few positive signs but mostly just "areas for improvement".


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