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You (or at least I) always hate to blame the outcome of a game on a single play. After 47.5 minutes and like 90 different possessions which all count for the same amount on the scoreboard, it's a mistake to focus on a single attempt.

Let's focus on the Suns final attempt to win Tuesday's game in Memphis...and ignore the inability to defend Zach Randolph, the coaching decision not to double-team Z-bo, the inability to rebound (-18), and the lack of talent.

Before we get into the play itself, remind yourself that the Suns don't have a LeBron James (who failed in crunch time to beat the Wizards last night) or a Kobe Bryant (who's team got beat in the fourth quarter by Craig Smith and Toney Douglas).

In other words, winning on the final possession is always a crap shoot (horse dead and beaten) and for the Suns with this roster, the odds are never going to favorable.

Here's the play. When you watch it a few dozen times, it's pretty clear that getting O'Neal the ball for a fadeaway over Gasol wasn't the plan...at least we can hope it wasn't.

You can see here the Suns appear to be setting up for a high screen and roll but with a double screen using the combined beef of Jermaine O'Neal and Luis Scola to try and create some space for Goran to work.

On the execution front, the bigs probably set up for the double screen too soon which made the play too easy to read.

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Mike Conley, a good defender who's 4th in the league in steals, reads the play (it wasn't exactly rocket science to see what's coming here) and hedges over to deny Dragic the opportunity to use the screens.

At this point, the play is now broken and we are in improv mode.

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Goran takes the path open to him and drives down the sideline which forces Darrell Arthur to help off Scola and deny Dragic a path to the rim.

O' Neal reads the play and being the unguarded dude, breaks towards the rim.

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Marc Gasol is forced to switch on to O'Neal and retreat down the lane. Scola, you can see below, sets up to rescreen Conley but Mike is quicker than Goran and cuts off that angle brilliantly and forces Dragic back.

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By this point, Scola has flared off and pulled his man (Arthur) with him b/c he's still a threat to shoot and can't be ignored. Goran has Conley isolated but instead of trying to beat him, delivers the ball to O'Neal in the post with about four seconds on the clock.

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At this point, J.O. is matched up with a big, strong and very good defender and has no real option other than the prayer he threw up.

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One thing that jumps out when you watch all that was just described is how badly Dragic got stuffed by Conley. We have to give Mike credit, but you also would hope Goran would have found a way to be more aggressive and made something else happen.

You can just imagine the voice in his head saying "DONT TURN THE BALL OVER" and knowing Conley's reputation as a thief being afraid to try anything too fancy.

In other words, Goran Dragic is no Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook.

Maybe after more experience in these kinds of situations he'll learn what he can and can't do or simply have the confidence to try and do what he is able to but in this case, didn't attempt. Or maybe, this is just his ceiling.

Before dumping all the blame on Goran, let's also take our eyes off the action near the ball and look at the weak side where Dudley and Beasley were about as helpful as you and I on the play.

When you go back and watch the action on the far side, what stands out is Dudley doing nothing. Beasley, when he sees Goran get denied the chance to use the screens and start moving baseline, at least takes a few steps and looks like might have wanted to screen Dudley's man.

Dudley, however, doesn't move an inch and Beasley gives up on the screen (if he ever really intended to set one).

In an alternate universe, Beasley sets a hard screen on Dudley's man and Jared flares to the open spot at the top of the key where he potentially could have received the pass from Goran and got off a better shot.

Or maybe, Beasley's man switches on to Dudley and denies that but then Beasley is able to cut baseline and get open for a quick pass from O'Neal.

Or maybe none of that works, but regardless, have some weak side action that at least opens the door to a different outcome once Goran is stuffed twice by Conley and denied the opportunity to run off those screens.

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Have a nice day.

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Some of the topics discussed include the Suns woefully pathetic defense, rotations, personnel, scheme, coaching, organizational changes, (lack of) talent, over/under on a player going for 30, the TNT refund game and a look ahead into the coming week.

Like I mentioned, it's a pilot, so please have mercy on us me. It can only get better (or not). Special thanks to Kris for joining me in this undertaking.

I was also thinking about doing some artwork (even better than my current creation) for the standard tag image for the podcast posts and a name, so any suggestions would be more than welcome.

Enjoy.

Podcast #1 12/4/12

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In Kendall Marshall's second D-league game the trend continued. The rookie PG known for his passing has clearly taken to heart the instruction that obviously mirrors what the team was telling him during summer league -- SHOOT THE BALL.

Marshall went 5-13 (0-3 from three) in his second game, a 109-95 win for the Jam.

His complete line was: 11 points, 10 assists, two steals, two turnovers three rebounds in 32 minutes. The starting point guard for the LA Defenders, Courtney Fortson is a 5-11 guard with some NBA experience.

Here's the box score.

And here's a very nice look at how different NBA teams are using the D-league to develop their young players. The trend in the NBA is to "own" your own D-league team like the Lakers and Spurs and Warriors do. The Suns, however, share the Jam with three other teams and therefor have less control over how things in Bakersfield are run.

NBA Teams Getting D-League Assignments Down To A Science - Ridiculous Upside


With so many direct affiliations between NBA and D-League squads, the parent squads are working things down to a science with regard to minor league assignments. Donning an NBA jersey one night, and a minor league one the next, is becoming the new norm as squads look to further the development of younger prospects.

If you missed the Marshall game because you were watching the Suns losing to the Grizzlies, we got you covered.


The Phoenix Suns will head home after their 10-day road trip with little more than a head-scratching 1-5 record to show for themselves. There were nights where they were simply outplayed (against...

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With less than a minute to go, the Suns secured a rebound and called a timeout down a point. Out of the timeout, the Suns run their offense and Luis Scola finishes off a beautiful spin and right hook off the glass to give the Suns the lead with 37 seconds left.

On the next play, Scola hedges hard on a screen and knocks the ball away from Mike Conley. Goran Dragic recovers the ball and is fouled by Marc Gasol (Gasol's sixth foul). With 26 seconds left and holding a one-point lead, Goran Dragic steps to the line with the chance to out his team up three points.

Clank.

Dragic sank the second shot, but the damage was already done as the Grizzlies only needed a 2-pointer to tie the game. And that missed free throw turned out to be the game.

Rudy Gay hit a tough shot over P.J. Tucker and Luis Scola to tie the game with 15.9 seconds. After a timeout, the Suns came out with a chance to win the game, and failed miserably. Whether it was a bad play call by Gentry, poor execution by the players or a bad decision by Dragic, the Suns barely even got a shot off. Dragic dribbled out the clock up top, waited to long to go, for some reason unbeknownst to me picked up the ball, and then found Jermaine O'Neal for a crazy fadeaway 17-footer. Awful.

The overtime period was all Memphis as the Grizzlies outscored the Suns 14-4 behind three tough buckets by Zach Ranolph. Z-Bo was clearly the best player on the court all night, but even more so in OT. He was the difference.

It's a real shame the Suns blew what was otherwise a tremendous effort. Phoenix built a lead as large as 16 in the first half behind excellent defense and lackadaisical play by the Grizzlies. The Suns forced 12 turnovers and held the Grizzlies to 39 percent shooting. However, the Grizz woke up and made a late run to cut the Suns' lead to 52-45 at the break. For the rest of the night the Suns fought to hold onto the lead, but still let it slip away.

Standout Stats

  • 50-32 edge in rebounding for Memphis; time and time again, the Suns played good defense and forced a miss, but couldn't secure the board as either the Grizzlies were able to get a hand on it and tip it around or Zach Randolph just beat everyone to the ball. Speaking of Z-Bo...
  • Randolph torched the Suns for 38 points and 22 rebounds, and single-handedly outscored the Suns 6-4 in OT; Z-Bo was the best player on the floor, worked harder than everyone else and had everything fall for him, not a good recipe for his opponents
  • Goran Dragic played 43 total minutes tonight, 38 in regulation; those who were calling for Dragic to play extended minutes got their wish with Sebastian Telfair missing the game, and Dragic responded with 19 points and seven assists; however, he also missed that free throw
  • Marcin Gortat only took four shots and made three of them; he also shot 5-6 from the free-throw line; why didn't he get more looks?
  • 46-24 edge in bench points for the Suns; however, the starters were outscored 84-52
  • Spotlight on Garrett: Diante Garrett played less than 10 minutes, but he finished with one point, three assists, one rebound, one steal, two turnovers and was +2; that's the kind of player Garrett is - a do-it-all guard and a willing passer
  • Tweet by Suns stat guru Vince Kozar: "@SunsStats #Suns coming home with seven wins, three losses by four points or less, two losses in overtime. #keepthefaith #longseason"

BOXSCORE


Final - 12.4.2012 1 2 3 4 OT 1 Total
Phoenix Suns 25 27 20 22 4 98
Memphis Grizzlies 18 27 23 26 14 108

Complete Coverage >


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