After an incredibly impressive defensive performance last night in New Orleans, the Phoenix Suns crash landed hard in Oklahoma City. Though the score ended up as only a 10-point differential, the...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
CAPTION CONTEST YA'LL!!!  (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Phoenix Suns (1-3) end the 2011 calendar year with a loss to the extremely hot, cohesive and still unbeaten Oklahoma City Thunder (5-0). Kevin Durant was held in check for most of the night but despite shooting 4 of 11 the Thunder easily handled the Suns. They really didn't need him.

As expected on the second night of a back-to-back our Suns starters came out very cold and slow and early found themselves down 19-9 at one point. The rest of the game was a tale of ups and downs... but mostly downs. Though the Suns had pulled to within 3 at one point and ended the 1st quarter down by only 5 - the second quarter got out of hand as Daequan Cook nailed 4 of 5 3-point attempts and the Thunder pulled away for a 20 point lead. The Suns defense clamped down near the end of the half and only allowed the Thunder to score 6 points in the final 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter - still the Thunder shot 58% from the field and the score was 60-46 Oklahoma at the half.

Coming back from the break the Suns again came out offensively flat and the Thunder improved their shooting percentages and pulled away to a comfortable lead. With about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the Suns starters (with the exception of Jared Dudley) took a seat for good and the bench played out the rest of the game.

There were some positives... there were a lot of negatives... AND there's always next year. Let's just pretend like 2011 didn't happen, OK? Jump it for a few extra notes - or else, go and party hard and welcome in the New Year - be safe everyone!

Here are my notes - because I'm too lazy on this New Year's Eve to take extra time on this loss recap.. you get table scrap notes! Yay!

NOTES:

  • Gortat's thumb really hindering his ability - frustrating, but still playing great defense
  • Robin Lopez and Jared Dudley working hard
  • Josh Childress with a lot of energy tonight
  • Morris with a lot of rookie mistakes - (bad passes, not recovering from screen help, dumb fouls)
  • Ronnie Price with some questionable PG decisions (cross court jump pass, bounce pass to Robin Lopez on a 3 v. 1 fastbreak)
  • Defense slippage in the 2nd and Nobody can make a shot
  • Daquan Cook with 4 3's in the 2nd... boo.
  • Nash hurt? Leander "He does not look healthy" - wincing and tugging his shorts after making a 3-point shot
  • Shannon Brown playing really well.. but still dribbling the air out of the ball and stagnating the offense
  • Suns switched to a zone with 2 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter... interesting because it worked. But we never saw it again this game.
  • --
  • Sloppy basketball in the 3rd - but gritty performances by some (Jared Dudley especially)
  • Price showing a very physical competitive edge late in the 3rd. Getting under Westbrooks skin and getting a hand in on every play
  • This game is gone.
  • Durant won't return.
  • A lot of standing around.. stagnant putrid depressing offense
  • Bla blablablalalk;jdaokdvma;okjf I'm done.
  • Is it time for new years yet?

Conclusion:

Hey did we really expect to win this? The Thunder are the number 1 team in the Western Conference and many pundits have chosen them to win it all. They have the most returning players, they have the best player (debatable) in the NBA and they have a seemingly endless fountain of youth, talent, shooters, bigs, and other important basketball stuff that makes your team good.

The Suns, not as much. While the Thunder are a team that is boiling and running at a full sprint, the Phoenix Suns are team struggling to simmer.

Like I've said this past week, 1-4 isn't good - but I won't lose hope or realistic expectation for this Suns team to make the playoffs until there is a big enough pool of games and team adjustments to judge from. The West is wide open, and playing the OKC Thunder was a good measuring stick. We need A LOT of work.

Be safe this New Years my friends. Stay Frosty.

Eutychus' Record: 0-1 :(


He MUST be stopped (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Up and Down, Up and Down... you'd think this Suns team was a team trying to find some kind of balance like it was the first week of the season or something...

Eat your rally bananas and get your New Year's party hats on - we've got to come out the gate quick in the second half!

Have at you!


Let's get ready to rumble!  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)




Happy New Year! ... almost.

Let's prep for the fun night with some Phoenix Suns basketball!

What are your plans for after the game tonight?

Any 'New Year's Resolutions' out there?

If the Phoenix Suns had a New Year's Resolution what do you think it would be?

Poll
Who is your pick to win?

  106 votes | Results


He can fly.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

You want a test eh? You want a measuring stick? Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kevin Durant has his team playing terrific basketball already and in their fourth game in five nights last night against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks the Thunder shot a crazy 58.7% from the field and won the game on an insane Durant buzzerbeater. The Thunder sit atop the Western Conference at 4-0.

After 3 games the Phoenix Suns sit 1-2 and have the 9th best team DRtg in the league. What? You can continue to make excuses about how the Hornets' offense was terrible last night but there is no question that the Suns are playing a much higher level of defense than we're used to seeing here in the desert. The Suns also hold the 3rd lowest turnover average per game at 13 - they are taking care of the ball and getting after it defensively, those are good things.

Another positive is that our offensive identity started to poke it's head out just a little bit last night, especially from our shooting guard position and in our fastbreak transition points. The team was legitimately 'running' again last night and it was a very welcome familiar sight.

So tonight we will see if the Suns can continue to improve. The Thunder are a very young and athletic group of physical dudes, this will be our first back to back game of the season - but also this will be the 5th game in 6 nights for the Thunder. Let's get ready to rumble. A little more after the jump.

Here's a few positives and Negatives I noted from last night's game -

Positive:

  • Our team chemistry and rhythm looked really good last night - the team was running and moving the ball well, but more importantly (to me anyways) was how the team stuck together last night when things got gritty. Shannon Brown picked up a technical foul halfway through the 2nd quarter after Warrick was questionably called for an offensive foul, and when Trevor Ariza lost his mind and decided to try and be tough guy with Robin Lopez (BAD idea) all four of his on court teammates rushed to his defense. These might be little insignificant things - but there is no question that they improve the overall team chemistry... it's like in Super Mario Brothers when Mario eats a flower and then turns into Fire Mario and can shoot fireballs... yeah something like that.
  • Defense was really tight - rotations were good, close outs were fast and the game was very physical from the start to the finish.
  • Hakim Warrick continues to shine.
  • Our Shooting guards (Dudley and Brown) combined for 27 points - that is a good day. We need need need that.
  • Nash really was pushing the offense and Price did a good job backing him up - not too many times did I see our PGs walk the ball up.
  • In the Suns first two games combined - they only made 7 3-point shots - in last nights game they matched that with 7.
Negatives:
  • Our Rebounding differential is terrible. We are the 6th worst in the NBA after 3 games and we gave up 24 offensive rebounds last night (that is uber-terrible)... I'm guessing because the shooting was so bad last night the ball was hitting the rims at all kinds of crazy angles and that always makes securing the rebound a challenge. But the Suns have to improve their rebounding regardless. It's frustrating when you hear Elston Turner before the season harp on how that's what the Suns need to do most and here we sit at 6th worst in the league. Must improve.
  • We still only shot 42% from the field - and a dirty 30% from 3. That's not going to get it done - especially not tonight against Kevin Durant and the Thunder.
  • Through 3 games Channing Frye is shooting 20% from the field and a ridiculously laughable 17% from 3. His timing is off and he's rushing everything. I don't know exactly what it is he needs to do but I can see that his shooting motion is not consistent like it was last year, he's fading to weird angles, his feet are discombobulated, he's pump faking and still chucking up bad shots A LOT. We need Frye to figure it out soon.
Historically Grant Hill has been able to do an amazing Job on Kevin Durant defensively, for whatever reason Durant is one of the Superstars in the league that has a really hard time with Grant Hill defending him - but my big concern is that Hill and Nash played well over 30 minutes in last night's game and historically as well those two have not been the sharpest on the 2nd half of back-to-back series. But again like I mentioned above - the Thunder are playing their 5th game in 6 nights and very well might have some spaghetti legs too. At least I'm crossing my fingers.

I'm looking forward to seeing how our new defense will contain Russel Westbrook. It seems like every time we play the Thunder he is constantly just bull-rushing his way to the rim. Every game I think to myself, "Somebody just needs to knock him on his back just one time to make him think twice before running over Nash and wildly hurling his body towards the hoop". RoLo, Keef - I'm looking to you guys to inflict some pain.

Anyways - here's to hoping we can get another road win and even up our record. I'm very jealous that Alex was the first Bright Side staffer to notch a win under his watch... and it's curious that nobody from the staff wanted to take this game, maybe it's because it's New Years Eve and they all have plans to hang with Sun God and Scott and get plastered... or maybe they were scared of the Thunder. Either way I'll be here with you and I'm confident the Suns can get a win, let's end 2011 with a bang!

See you at 5:30 for the game thread.

Check out what the opposition has to say Welcome to Loud City


For more exclusive content, follow us on Twitter @Brightsidesun and "Like" us on Facebook.


Page 906 of 1407

906

Sponsored Ads