Happy Thanksgiving all...
Time to put things in perspective...As I was heavily grousing about the Suns game last night (defense, rebounding and lack of a post presence), My wife looked at me with that quirky smile of hers and said..."You've had so many good Suns seasons to be thankful of, and you are mad because they are 7 & 8 this year...? Sounds kinda ungrateful, to me..."
That struck me...For the last 7 years or so, we have been blessed with great and entertaining teams...even the year of Shaq was a 46 win season....How many other fans can lay claim to that...? The Suns have been entertaining, talented, and definitely fun to watch...
So this Thanksgiving season, instead of griping because of what we perceive the Suns to be now or any shortcomings we feel they currently have, let's be thankful for all the great Suns seasons of the past...Fix your mind on Connie Hawkins and Dick Van Arsdale, put it on the memories of Paul Westphal, Walter Davis, Alvan Adams, and Dan Marjele. Contemplate the play of Larry Nance, Dennis Johnson, Jeff Hornacek, & Danny Manning...Think about Jason Kidd and marvel about KJ, Barkley and Chambers. Fix it on the wonder of Joe Johnson, STAT, and Matrix as well. Yes, even think of all the great role players the Suns have employed such as Eddie Johnson, Kurt Rambis & Mark West. Be ye eternally thankful for Steve Nash, Grant Hill and all that the Suns have done these many years...!
Tomorrow you can resume your grousing if you must...But today, we are thankful!
More photos » Matt York - AP
8 days ago: Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) drives against Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah during the third quarter on an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
No, that's not the sequence from LOST. And it was not discovered by Mr. Fibonacci.
That's the Suns' scoring totals in 4 quarters + 2 overtimes. And that's not gonna get it done. But how does this happen? Is Tom Thibodeau that good a defensive mind?
Or was something else at work too?
How do you not do the foul-to-give on Noah at the end of regulation? Noah held that ball till 1 second was left on the clock. Foul him! Make the Bulls score on a 1-2 second play, rather than 4 seconds.
How do you not force Rose into repeated defensive situations, forcing him to foul or allow the score? He had five fouls for forever!
How do you leave Hedo in the game when he's clearly hurting and refusing to do anything but pass it back out?
I understand how Gentry couldn't take Nash out after putting him back in at the 10:19 mark, but come on Alvin. Nash could barely move. He didn't drive to the hoop, couldn't put his legs into his jumpshot. Couldn't really do anything.
Is that the reason the Suns refused to put Rose into a tough defensive situation even once after his fifth foul? No probing drives to the basket in overtime, forcing the defense's hand. No hard screens to fight through.
The questions after this game are endless.
I hold Gentry partially accountable for this game. His substitutions did not work out. He was clearly trying to "hold on" by keeping Nash and Hedo in the game, and never planned on it going to 2 overtimes. But you have to be better than that.
I know, holding the coach accountable for players' lack of performance is wrong.
Hakim Warrick was the player of the first half, with 23 easy points. After halftime? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The Bulls contested the catch and packed the lane on the roll, both or either of which was enough to befuddle Warrick into nothingness.
And once that play was gone, Nash was on his own to create via probing and dribbling around till someone popped open. But his body seemed to refuse. He really couldn't drive. Was that Rose's suffocating defense? Nah. Nash should have been able to carve Rose, Deng or Noah up, but he couldn't for some reason.
And once those two options were gone, the Suns were in big trouble.
The Bulls caught a break in this one, for sure. But you've got to give them credit for fighting for it and taking it with a vengeance.
Derrick Rose was a monster (35 pts, 12 rebs, 7 assists), as was Joakim Noah (17 and 15). But we knew they would be, and the Suns could still win.
But the real difference, as I suspected earlier today, would be the supporting casts. 36 points from Korver and James Johnson was HUGE in keeping the Bulls within striking distance for Noah and Rose to close it out.
The Suns' supporting cast in the second half? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
|Final - 11.24.2010||1||2||3||4||OT 1||OT 2||Total|
[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/24/10 11:12 PM MST ]
Not much to add. I need to go watch the game again on DVR, but the most frustrating thing I saw aside from getting out-worked the middle quarters and letting off the gas as the inability to take advantage of the switches and find the bigs in the post.
Here's what Warrick said about that specifically:
"They did a really good job. When they did switch the would try and bump and get a bigger guy out of there and a really good job of rotating. They left some shooters sometimes and we tried to make them pay. When teams do that against us we got to keep attacking."
Audio: Gentry postgame 112410
SBN AZ recap with more quotes:
Phoenix Suns Blow Early Lead To Chicago Bulls, Lose In Double OT 123-115 - SB Nation Arizona
"He (Goran Dragic) didn't play very good and as a result of that I have to play Steve (Nash) too many minutes. 48 minutes for Steve is too damn many," Gentry said about his backup point guard. Gentry also singled out Jared Dudley and Josh Childress for their lack of performance. Dragic, Childress and Dudley combined for only five points in the game.
Quote of the night:
"It's a loss. It's a bad loss but we're also 15 games into the season and we can't panic or do anything like that." - Alvin Gentry
This game sucked, but it would be a huge mistake to start making any radical changes because of it. There's a LOT of season left and this team is what it is. They will be good some nights and bad others. They are not good enough to be in the top of the West but they also shouldn't be bad enough to be in the lottery. Making panic moves have more of a chance at backfiring then making things better, especially this early in the season.
What is pretty clear now is why Gentry called Robin Lopez the second most important player on the team besides Steve Nash. Dudley said before the season that for the Suns to be a really good team they needed him playing at a near All-Star level. There's only so much you can do playing Hedo and Hakim and Frye as your three bigs and there's nothing on the bench that offers a better answer aside from the big guy with the frizzy hair.
In the mean time, this group here needs to toughen up and play better and play harder and be more consistent on the defensive end. Gentry knows this.
"Like I told our guys, we can't become at team that has a reputation that just keep playing and you'll have an opportunity to get back in the game. We can't be that team."
Right now, the Suns are that team and they've got a lot of work to do to change that, but panic moves are not the answer.
Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images
Suns need big games from Hill and Frye, among others. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Let's get this party started!
The Phoenix Suns need to scrap, claw and shoot their way to a win. They need to fight harder than the other team, and when the game goes down to the wire they need to hope for that occassional defensive stand to seal the deal.
"We're going to try and grow. The more you sleep, the more you grow," Nash said before talking about how the Suns need to make up for their lack of size and rebounding ability with desire.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/24/10 6:53 PM MST ]