Marcin Gortat has had individual success but the Suns are fading fast.

The Suns entered last week with the biggest win of the season under their belt, a 102-77 dismantling of a Portland Trailblazers squad that had rolled into town with a 5-1 record. A 109-93 thumping of the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday gave the Suns hope going into a showdown with the rival Lakers, but a Kobe Bryant supernova performance in LA foreshadowed a gigantic crash as the Suns two-game homestand featured losses to the mediocre Cavs and lowly Nets before a difficult 5-game road trip started with a loss to a Spurs team missing Manu Ginobili.

Hope and a 4-4 record gave way to injuries and 4-game losing streak, dropping the Suns to 4-8 and a tie for the #11 position in the West with upcoming road games against the Bulls, Knicks, Celtics and Mavericks.

This was a rough week, and things figure to get worse before they get better. Read on for more of the gory details.

Record for the week (January 8-15): 1-4

Average Score: Opponents 101.0, Suns 95.2

Losing to the Lakers and Spurs on the road is excusable. Losing to the Cavs and Nets at home? Not so much. And it isn't as if we can point to one or two issues that are the cause of the problems; there are plenty to choose from. Against the Lakers, Kobe had one of his tremendous scoring performances and the Suns offense collapsed down the stretch. Cavs star rookie Kyrie Irving victimized us against Cleveland, then our elderly team leaders Steve Nash and Grant Hill missed the Nets game due to minor injuries, and the Nets shot the lights out from behind the arc. And the Spurs.....well, the Spurs are simply a better team than us. Shooting, defense, rebounding, lack of a go-to scorer late in games and age have taken turns as the fatal flaws with the team.

Western Conference Position: 11th (tied)

What's troubling when looking at the Western Conference standings is that the following teams are virtual shoo-ins to make the playoffs: Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets. That's six playoff spots. Then there are the Blazers, who have cooled since their fast start but still figure to be strong players in the mix, and the Utah Jazz, off to a surprising 8-4 start behind deep frontcourt play and defense. Who among those teams can the Suns realistically be expected to pass for a playoff spot?

Offensive Rating: 103.2 (13th out of 30), PPG: 93.8 (19th out of 30)

The Suns offense started to perk up with high output nights against the Blazers and Bucks, but came back down to earth during the losing streak, and the team still has only three players averaging double figure scoring with Marcin Gortat's measly 14.3PPG leading the way.

Rk Player Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Marcin Gortat 27 12 12 28.6 6.7 10.8 .620 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.8 .545 2.3 6.2 8.4 0.8 0.7 1.6 1.3 2.0 14.3
2 Steve Nash 37 11 11 30.4 5.5 10.7 .508 1.1 3.1 .353 1.2 1.4 .867 0.4 1.1 1.5 10.1 0.7 0.0 3.3 0.9 13.2
3 Jared Dudley 26 12 12 32.4 4.3 9.4 .451 1.1 3.2 .342 1.9 2.5 .767 0.9 3.6 4.5 1.5 1.0 0.3 0.9 1.7 11.5
4 Shannon Brown 26 12 1 21.6 3.3 9.2 .364 0.7 2.7 .250 1.9 2.3 .821 0.7 1.9 2.6 1.0 1.0 0.1 1.1 1.7 9.3
5 Markieff Morris 22 12 0 21.6 3.5 7.0 .500 1.3 2.6 .516 0.8 1.0 .750 1.1 4.4 5.5 1.2 0.7 0.6 1.0 3.0 9.1
6 Hakim Warrick 29 11 0 17.9 3.2 6.9 .461 0.1 0.6 .143 2.2 2.9 .750 1.4 1.5 2.8 0.8 0.3 0.2 0.6 1.5 8.6
7 Channing Frye 28 12 12 23.0 3.1 7.7 .402 1.3 3.8 .326 0.8 0.9 .818 1.2 5.4 6.6 1.2 0.5 0.3 1.1 2.2 8.2
8 Grant Hill 39 11 11 25.0 3.0 9.0 .333 0.1 1.3 .071 1.7 1.7 1.000 0.6 2.6 3.3 1.4 0.5 0.8 0.9 1.6 7.8
9 Michael Redd 32 3 0 15.0 1.7 6.0 .278 1.0 3.3 .300 1.0 1.3 .750 0.0 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.0 0.3 1.0 5.3
10 Ronnie Price 28 12 1 16.1 1.9 4.6 .418 0.5 1.6 .316 0.8 1.0 .833 0.8 1.0 1.8 3.1 0.8 0.1 1.6 2.1 5.2
11 Robin Lopez 23 12 0 15.9 1.5 3.6 .419 0.0 0.0 1.7 2.3 .741 1.1 2.8 3.8 0.5 0.1 0.4 1.0 2.7 4.7
12 Sebastian Telfair 26 7 0 8.9 1.1 4.0 .286 0.6 1.0 .571 1.3 1.4 .900 0.3 0.3 0.6 1.1 0.4 0.0 0.3 1.3 4.1
13 Josh Childress 28 5 0 11.4 0.8 2.4 .333 0.2 1.4 .143 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.8 1.4 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.6 1.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/16/2012.

Through twelve games, the Suns have only scored 100+ points four times. Remember when the Nash-led Suns used to blow the doors off teams with relentless scoring? Those days are in the past, and there are plenty of reasons for that. Our wings are poor shooters and generally not NBA starter quality players. Gortat continues to improve his mid-range shot and post game and has been our most dependable threat, but Channing Frye is as inconsistent as ever. Markieff Morris has been a mixed bag as well, to be expected from a rookie.

Defensive Rating: 104.8 (23rd out of 30), PPG Allowed: 95.3 (17th out of 30)

Unfortunately, after a strong defensive start, this is closer to what we're used to seeing and, while the Suns have shown flashes of improved defensive play, breakdowns persist and the Suns last three opponents scored over 100 points while their star players (Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams and Tim Duncan) all exceeded their PPG averages playing against the Suns.

Pace: 90.9 (20th out of 30)

The Suns are not pushing tempo the way they were in their heyday, and the way coach Alvin Gentry claims they still want to with this team. The uptempo game has been the Suns identity throughout the Nash era. What is the team's identity now?

Game of the Week: Suns 109, Bucks 93

It seems like so long ago that the Suns blew the Milwaukee Bucks out 109-93 on January, 8th in Phoenix behind the double digit scoring of seven players and 56% shooting from the field. Of course, the Bucks are a team that a.) had played the Clippers in LA on the previous night and b.) hadn't beaten the Suns in Phoenix since Reagan was president, but the Suns dominated this game from the beginning and led the Bucks by 25 points going into the fourth before emptying the bench.

Stud of the Week: Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat has been a solid defender and rebounder since joining the Suns, and his offensive game has continued to progress. Over these last 5 games, he averaged 18.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game on 64.7% shooting. Those right there are all-star numbers, as he's playing better since the splint was removed from his thumb. We finally have a center! Now, can somebody please consistently help the Polish Hammer out?

Dud of the Week: Grant Hill

Remember the last couple of years when we marveled at how Grant Hill looked like an athlete 5-10 years younger than he is? Well, this year's edition of Grant Hill looks every day of his 39 years and 103 days of age. He had his best offensive performance of the year against the Bucks with 14 points on 6-11 shooting, then followed it up with a train wreck of a 1-12 shooting night as the Lakers dared him to take open shots. Then he injured his quad early in the Cavs game. Removing the one game he completely missed and the other he missed most of, Hill averaged 7.7 points, 1.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game on 32.1% shooting. Yes, he's been dinged up most of the season and his defense is still an asset but his offensive production is truly awful right now.

Outlook

All in all, lots of holes on this team and a brutal stretch of games coming up. It was critical that the Suns come out of the gate strong and win their games against "beatable" opponents before this road trip, and that didn't happen. Time is running out quickly. At the end of this road trip, the Suns will have completed about 25% of their schedule (16 games out of 66) and are staring 4-12 or 5-11 in the face. Day of reckoning is approaching as hopes for the season fade fast. The Suns front office will soon be forced to make a lot of hard decisions about the future of this roster because the current mix isn't getting it done.

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



The Suns began a new road trip yet encountered a familiar problem Sunday night in San Antonio, as lack of crunch time execution prevented Phoenix from stealing a game in the Alamo City. The Suns...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
The 6'7" DeJuan Blair was able to exploit the Suns' weak interior defense to his advantage. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

In a movie we've all seen before, the Phoenix Suns lacked the firepower necessary to climb back from a first half 14-point deficit to the San Antonio Spurs. Making the game just barely close enough to keep the fans watching and anticipating throughout, the Suns managed to claw back from a first half deficit to 5 points, with 5 minutes left in the game, when everything fell apart again.

A "rested" Steve Nash carried the Suns on his back for most of the game, logging 35 minutes, 20 points and 10 assists, most of which went to Marcin Gortat, the other bright spot tonight for the Suns. In keeping with his NBA-leading field goal percentage, Marcin went 11-20 for 24 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Markieff Morris had another great game for a rookie, going 6-10 from the field for 14 points, and Jared Dudley added to the fun by finally making a three, going 2-2 from behind the arc and notching 12 points.

How did the Suns lose, then? Well, everyone else was pretty bad.

The Spurs capitalized early on the Suns' absolutely atrocious defensive rotations, getting the ball to DeJuan Blair and Tim Duncan early and often. Duncan was able to notch a season-high 24 points and matched his season high with 11 boards, while Tony Parker sliced up the Suns' "matador-style" defense as per usual with 17/9.

How about those other Suns?

0-7 Channing Frye

2-5 Grant Hill

0-4 Michael Redd

0-2 Hakim Warrick

0-3 Robin Lopez

5-10 Shannon Brown (I begrudgingly give him a full 5 makes, though. Some of those shots were hideous chunks in the general direction of the basket)

The Roll Call is after the jump.

All of the Suns were a - in the +/- column.

This was a win that the Suns needed badly in order to come out of this road trip with a win or two. Steve Nash looked absolutely tired and broken at the end of this game. I wouldn't blame him if he was tired of getting everyone open shots only for them to miss every time.

Ronnie Price was another bright spot tonight, I should mention. He ran the bench unit very well and ended up with only one turnover to go along with 7 assists in a game where assists were very hard to come by. He played his heart out and I have to give him credit for that.

This is a team that we all know needs TIME to gel and to work well together. There are a lot of new faces. Things like this take time. The problem is, time is one thing that is running out. With this condensed season and without training camp there isn't an opportunity to make sure your rotation and defensive schemes work before you have to go on a five-game road trip against the Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, et al.

Forgive my negativity but I know that this team still can make it work. It just takes more time.

Game Thread Roll Call: PHXgp, East Bay Ray, Airwave, Sun God, Aztiramtempe, Toon Army Sun, SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist, Lino Canaan, rsavaj, Spit_Fire, suns68, Fritzy, sonicking, sacardsfan, phxpurple, Juac, atkammoh, AcucracK, SUNS PORTUGAL, shawndy, 36_Chambers, ArizonaCactus, jc79, Dragic_is_Magic, CKH, good like a-1 beer, rzyn, MMotherwell, steve13nash, raxado, KD1, ilintar, TheAlexSkinner, ClipperBEAST, 7footer, silverandblack_davis, lixuec, RogerM, Migonads, Skii, iceythril, 2NASHTY, jog, noonoo, Jim Coughenour, Colton Dodson, Turambar, u_must_chill, Will Slaven, the new Bradfather, blanke, Berecki, paulimer, SuperSteve, keiththejourno, N8lol, WaveOcean, Suns R Us, sidepart, Pedro Ivo, sun-arc, Larfleeze, txzona
Total Users: 63
Total Posts: 1480
Total Threads: 2

Name # of Posts
Sun God 194
shawndy 170
Lino Canaan 134
PHXgp 95
lixuec 86
CKH 81
Airwave 66
MMotherwell 66
Aztiramtempe 43
AcucracK 40
East Bay Ray 33
SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist 32
ClipperBEAST 31
Spit_Fire 28
Juac 26
SUNS PORTUGAL 24
Jim Coughenour 24
rzyn 23
iceythril 23
ArizonaCactus 22
Dragic_is_Magic 21
Colton Dodson 19
noonoo 15
phxpurple 13
the new Bradfather 13
u_must_chill 12
ilintar 11
Suns R Us 10
Skii 9
Berecki 9
Turambar 9
Migonads 8
sacardsfan 8
suns68 7
WaveOcean 5
atkammoh 5
Fritzy 5
KD1 5
SuperSteve 4
steve13nash 4
raxado 4
Pedro Ivo 4
7footer 4
RogerM 3
keiththejourno 3
jc79 3
Toon Army Sun 3
2NASHTY 3
sonicking 3
jog 3
rsavaj 2
silverandblack_davis 1
sidepart 1
sun-arc 1
txzona 1
Larfleeze 1
36_Chambers 1
Will Slaven 1
good like a-1 beer 1
paulimer 1
TheAlexSkinner 1
N8lol 1
blanke 1

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


Come on Suns! Let's get our mojo back in the second half.

Box out. Rebound. Drive. Those are some hints to help get you started Suns.

Click the Jump for the Roll Call...........

Roll Call: PHXgp, East Bay Ray, Airwave, Sun God, Aztiramtempe, Toon Army Sun, SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist, Lino Canaan, rsavaj, Spit_Fire, suns68, Fritzy, sonicking, sacardsfan, phxpurple, Juac, atkammoh, AcucracK, SUNS PORTUGAL, shawndy, 36_Chambers, ArizonaCactus, jc79, Dragic_is_Magic, CKH, good like a-1 beer, rzyn, MMotherwell, steve13nash, raxado, KD1, ilintar, TheAlexSkinner, ClipperBEAST, 7footer, silverandblack_davis, lixuec, RogerM, Migonads, Skii, iceythril, 2NASHTY, jog
Total Users: 43
Total Posts: 597
Total Threads: 1

Name # of Posts
Sun God 82
shawndy 77
Lino Canaan 46
PHXgp 46
CKH 32
East Bay Ray 31
MMotherwell 30
lixuec 25
Airwave 25
Aztiramtempe 22
AcucracK 19
SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist 16
Juac 13
ClipperBEAST 11
Dragic_is_Magic 11
Spit_Fire 9
rzyn 9
SUNS PORTUGAL 8
sacardsfan 8
phxpurple 7
Skii 6
KD1 5
ArizonaCactus 5
suns68 5
atkammoh 5
Fritzy 5
iceythril 4
ilintar 4
Toon Army Sun 3
RogerM 3
7footer 3
jc79 3
Migonads 3
raxado 3
rsavaj 2
2NASHTY 2
jog 2
steve13nash 2
TheAlexSkinner 1
36_Chambers 1
good like a-1 beer 1
sonicking 1
silverandblack_davis 1


Let's make the Alamo City cry.....cry I say!

But really let's get a win. And be good sports on the game thread.

G-G-G-ET your Flailin' Fingers Flexin' Fellas (and Ladies)! Roll call will be E-E-E-EPIC tonight.

EDIT: I have been informed that the Spurs' Malcolm Thomas is out with a stomach thing. We got this one in the bag.


Page 994 of 1512

994

Sponsored Ads