Markieff!!!!!!!

Enjoy this one, Suns fans! This is the best the Suns can play. Now, CLOSE IT OUT!!!!!


Dear Channing Frye, please hit your open 3s.
Thanks,
Suns fans







Troy Murphy cowers in fear of Marcin Gortat's monster jam. Ooooh, ahhhh.

After losing in LA Friday night to drop to 12-19, the Suns get another crack at the Lakers in Phoenix tonight. Struggling teams who want to get well always have a team to play in the Suns, and Friday night's game had the LA Times celebrating the Lakers improvement on offense as they scored a season-high 111 points led by Kobe Bryant's 36. The Lakers' bench, also a problem area for them, came to life with 34 points.

As for the Suns, they're simply not a good basketball team, having lost 5 of their last 6 games and languishing in the #13 spot in the West. The reasons are many:

  1. Poor bench play, especially at point guard.
  2. Improved, but still below average defense.
  3. Subpar spot up shooting from wing players.
  4. Lack of go-to plays/players in crunch time.

That list isn't comprehensive but it's enough to start with. For the Suns to win games against quality opponents will take all the breaks falling their way and lots of open outside shots to fall. We could say that the Suns have a puncher's chance, but their punching abilities are more on the welterweight level now, as opposed to the Mike Tyson knockouts this team used to be able to deliver.

To be a rivalry, each team has to win from time to time, right? How about tonight, Suns?

The last time the Suns beat the Lakers was November 14, 2010. Jason Richardson led the way with 30 points, Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 17, Channing Frye hit for 20 off the bench and the Suns made 22-40 3-point shots in a 121-116 win. The win gave the Suns a winning record (what's that??) at 5-4 and provided one of the few high points of last season.

Richardson and Turkoglu are gone, of course, and Frye's shooting has run hot and cold this season but, as Alex astutely noted, the Suns need to improve their spot up shooting to have a chance to win games. To win tonight, they'll need big performances from Jared Dudley, Michael Redd, Frye, Grant Hill and even Shannon Brown. Those players combined for 4-18 3-point shooting in the Suns 111-99 loss Friday night.

The Lakers are still all Kobe, all the time and Grant Hill will be working hard on defense to at least make it difficult for him. He'll get his points anyway, but the Suns held Lakers big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to only 27 points combined on Friday and it will be an achievement if they can replicate that.

Marcin Gortat played another strong game Friday night with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Nash and Gortat's pick and roll game is working just fine but the Suns have too many other flaws for it to carry them to wins. What fluky, freak occurrence can the Suns get to pull out a win tonight? A terrible Kobe shooting performance? An explosive scoring night from Shannon Brown? A Robin Lopez sighting?


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
Kobe Bryant 30 38.2 10.5 23.9 44.0 1.4 4.9 29.5 6.4 7.6 84.2 1.2 4.6 5.9 5.0 3.7 1.2 0.3 2.0 28.9
Pau Gasol 30 37.0 6.8 13.8 49.5 0.1 0.5 21.4 2.8 3.6 78.7 3.2 7.4 10.6 3.0 1.8 0.5 1.3 2.0 16.6
Andrew Bynum 26 34.7 6.7 12.2 54.7 0.0 0.1 0.0 3.0 5.2 59.0 3.4 9.2 12.6 1.3 2.5 0.5 2.0 2.1 16.3
Matt Barnes 28 21.9 2.5 5.4 46.1 0.4 1.5 26.2 1.9 2.4 81.8 1.4 3.3 4.7 1.6 1.3 0.6 0.8 2.8 7.3
Steve Blake 17 25.5 2.5 6.8 37.4 1.3 4.1 31.9 0.4 0.6 63.6 0.2 1.8 2.0 3.1 1.4 0.6 0.0 1.4 6.8
Derek Fisher 30 25.7 2.1 5.7 36.5 0.4 1.5 26.7 0.8 1.0 79.3 0.2 1.9 2.0 3.6 1.2 0.9 0.1 2.0 5.3
Metta World Peace 29 22.7 1.9 5.6 33.5 0.4 2.2 20.6 0.7 1.3 51.4 0.6 2.0 2.6 1.8 1.1 0.8 0.3 1.7 4.8
Andrew Goudelock 22 11.7 1.9 4.2 44.1 0.7 1.8 41.0 0.4 0.4 100.0 0.2 0.6 0.8 0.5 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.8 4.8
Troy Murphy 27 18.9 1.5 3.4 44.6 0.7 1.6 44.2 0.1 0.3 57.1 0.8 3.0 3.7 1.1 0.6 0.4 0.3 2.1 3.9
Darius Morris 10 13.0 1.2 2.4 50.0 0.3 0.5 60.0 0.6 0.9 66.7 0.2 1.0 1.2 1.2 1.1 0.2 0.0 1.3 3.3
Josh McRoberts 18 15.6 1.1 2.2 51.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.9 52.9 1.1 2.5 3.6 1.1 0.8 0.4 0.6 2.1 2.7
Devin Ebanks 12 12.5 0.8 2.1 40.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 1.0 1.5 66.7 0.9 1.1 2.0 0.5 0.7 0.3 0.3 1.4 2.7
Jason Kapono 21 11.0 0.9 2.3 39.6 0.4 1.1 33.3 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.7 2.3
Luke Walton 6 9.0 0.8 2.2 38.5 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.2 2.0 0.8 0.2 0.2 0.0 1.3 1.7

Bill Cartwright Tribute at USF

Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright was honored at the University of San Francisco versus Gonzaga game in SF last night. The leading scorer in USF history was in attendance at War Memorial Gym, fans wore replica #24 Cartwright jerseys, and the Dons beat a ranked Gonzaga team in a thrilling 66-65 upset. USF's other legendary basketball alum? BIll Russell.




Phoenix Suns 102, Los Angeles Lakers 90 The Phoenix Suns lately haven’t had a tad bit of the Los Angeles Lakers’ ┬áKryptonite. The Lakers’ size is too much to handle, their firepower...

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PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 15:  Channing Frye #8 of the Phoenix Suns reacts with Steve Nash #13 after Frye missed a three point shot against the Atlanta Hawks in the final moments of the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 15, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For years, we have been pining for an improved defense, all along assuming that the offense would remain prolific as long as Steve Nash manned the PG duties.

You may be surprised to know that spot-up jump shots are the largest overall component of the Suns offense. While nearly every Suns play begins with a pick-and-roll, more of them culminate with a kick-out to an open spot-up than either Nash or the roll man taking the shot. This is the beauty of Nash's offense. Force the defense to react, then kick the ball to where they're not.

Yet, Steve can't be both the passer and the shooter at the same time. When he delivers the ball for an open jump shot this season, the Suns are much less likely to make it than in years past.

And I've got the numbers to prove it, thanks to mySynergySports.com.

According to mySynergySports.com data, what we see with our eyes is fully proven in the numbers. Everything about the Suns offense is the same this year as last year.

The % distribution of plays (spot-up vs. pick-and-roll finishing vs. cuts vs. o-rebounds, etc) is nearly identical. Also, the Suns proficiency in the pick-and-roll is just as good as years past.

In fact, some areas of the Suns offense has improved, like isolations and in transition.

But anything tha culminates in a jump-shot has clanked off the rim.

Suns 2010-11 offense:

Suns-10-11-offense-mss_medium

Suns 2011-2012 offense:

Suns-11-12-offense_medium

(click on either picture to make it bigger and readable)

One glaring difference between these two offenses sticks out. The field-goal % on spot-ups has dropped precipitously. And because such a large part of the Suns offense is the "kick out 3" (22% of all plays), the overall offensive efficiency has dropped as well.

You saw it in the Laker game. It happened so often I started making sound effect, out loud, in an otherwise empty room. Doink...Doink, doink...doink...! All those missed OPEN jump shots. Ugh. If that were a drinking game, I wouldn't have been able to coherently write the recap.

So if you're wondering why retread Michael Redd is playing so many minutes, this is it. Someone has to hit some shots. Yet, so far he's worse than most. At least his shots are smart (as opposed to Brown, Price and Telfair), but he's still not making them any more than they are.

Nash is Nash, and Gortat is Gortat. They are deadly in the pick-and-roll, compared to the rest of the league. However, if the defense overplays them and leaves a shooter open, the Suns are not making them pay like in years past.

Who has been the biggest culprit, you ask?

As we've all said this year: the Suns second unit is abysmal, especially the backup shooters

Jared Dudley is making shots comparable to last season, and actually so is Frye, in spot-up situations. But the rest of the wing players just can't hit spot-up shots with any regularity. In the past, the Suns had a plethora of shooters who couldn't defend. Now the Suns have a group of guys who are marginally better at defense but can't shoot.

What else sticks out at you in those offensive numbers?

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