The Suns would normally take 105 points as a great night. They would normally accept Michael Beasley’s 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting in 23 minutes as a much-needed lift. Except...

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This was my first (and only) time watching the Suns in person this year. All I can say to you fans who have stuck it out and have (gasp!) paid to see them play is this: You are a better fan than I.

Defensively, the Suns were steamrolled by John Wall's speed (17 points, 11 assists) and Martell Webster's threes (34 points, 7-10 from three). But let's talk about the Suns offense for a sec.

It's painfully clear that this team has zero chemistry, no identity, and barely a clue as to what they want to do. They vacillate between any variety of mediocre options in the coaching equivalent of a trip to the Golden Corral buffet....and that's probably not being fair to Golden Corral.

Let's try Goran attacking off the dribble and "doing something". Let's try iso-Beasley. Let's go to O'Neal in the post. Let's go to Scola in the post. Even, let's go to P.J. Tucker in the post. (Seriously, this happened.)

I understand the Suns losing games. Heck, at this point do we even really want them to beat the Wizards in this lottery ball battle? But there's nothing about this team that says "well-coached". Then again, it's just one game and it is against the Wicked Wizards of the East.

Then the wheels, as they are prone to do, came off. -Seth Pollack

First Half:

As the Suns are prone to do, they kept the game pretty close and even sorta fun through about 18 minutes. Then the wheels, as they are prone to do, came off. The Wizards went on a 11-2 run to get separation. There was a time this season back when that other guy was coaching when the Suns would make a second half run and keep games like this close. Now? Not so much.

The only bright spots were Goran Dragic's feisty play (dude hates losing) and Jermaine O'Neal doing a few nice things. Oh, Michael Beasley had an amazing spin dunk on Nene but negated it by picking up a T for Taunting and any other number of boneheaded plays. I might find the dunk video because it was nice. Then again, I probably won't. (OK, I did.)

Second half:

The Suns were "only" down seven headed into the third quarter. Blame whatever you want for what happened next but what happened next was a 36-24 quarter. Game over.

I'm not even gonna lie. I started writing this with 10 minutes left in the game. Occasionally, I look up to see if anything important has happened. As of this second, the Suns are down 121-100...nope.

Beasley made his hometown debut as a Suns with 21 points and four turnovers. Dragic had 12 points and somehow managed to rack up 11 assists from a team that went 29 percent from three.

I'm going to get some postgame quotes and say farewell to some folks I know. I may or may not share those postgame quotes depending on their quality. Guessing they won't have much new to say after this one.

Hunter quotes:

- "I will take full responsibility for my team. But in the future it won't be a matter of practicing enough, it will be a matter of practicing until we get it right. We have a lot of things to fix, and there is only one way I know how to fix them, which is to get back in the gym and work on it."

- "If I could play Goran Dragic for 48 minutes I would, but I can't kill him that way. When he is out of the game guys have to take responsibility and step up, that's just the reality of it. But it may be a matter of me having to play him 48 mnutes and if I have to do that I will."

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Both of these 22-win teams are coming off a Friday night game and both teams are well out of lottery contention. That's about where the similarities stop between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns.

Living in the D.C. area since August, I can tell you there was some real hope that this Wizards team might be ready to jump from perennial cellar dwelling to legitimate playoff contender. Then it was announced that John Wall hurt his knee and would miss the start of the season. Then Nene also went down. Next thing you know, the Wizards are 0-12 to start the season and any chance of this team competing for the postseason went up in a puff of smoke.

Is John Wall turning a corner?

John Wall smoking threes
Bullets Forever explores the development of John Wall after one of his best shooting games ever.

But John Wall and some of his other injured mates came back. Rookie Bradley Beal learned the ways of the NBA and began to show us all that incredible potential we saw from the Florida shooting guard. The Wizards are now 18-18 since January 1. That .500 record extended over a full season would have them right where the optimists predicted -- fighting for a playoff birth.

That's a lot of words to point out that the Wizards are on the rise. John Wall continues to mature. Beal's incredible talent slowly translates into success on the court (I think Beal will easily be as good as a healthy Eric Gordon and perhaps be in James Harden's class.) The knuckleheads like Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford are gone and in their place come veterans like Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza

Baring some kind of miracle, it will be at least two or three years before your Phoenix Suns are where the Wizards are now.

Baring some kind of miracle, it will be at least two or three years before your Phoenix Suns are where the Wizards are now.

Game time: 7pm ET / 4pm PT on Fox Sports Arizona and NBALP

Prior Engagements:

This game is the first of two times these teams meet this season. The Wizards will be in Phoenix on March 20 to close out the much-anticipated season series.

The Suns beat the Wizards in their one meeting last year, 104-88. Wall had 10 points while Gortat (20 pts) and Frye (19 points and Nash (11 assists) led the Suns. Of course, none of those Phoenix players will be involved in Saturday night's affair.

Key Matchup:

Aside from the outcome's impact on the lottery ball chase, the most important and interesting aspect of this game is the point guard battle between Goran Dragic and John Wall.

Here's their season numbers via Basketball-reference.com.

Screen_shot_2013-03-16_at_1

Wall has the slight edge in raw numbers while Goran is the more efficient player.

Watching them play, it's obvious that John is the more athletic of the two, but that gap isn't overly large. Wall's biggest asset is his ridiculous speed and ability to get by pretty much anyone. He's got good vision and passing that makes him into a classic drive and kick point guard and he's surrounded by decent shooters in Webster and Beal and bigs that can finish in Nene and Okafor.

Goran is a much more well-rounded player. He's the better "pure point" and a much better shooter. He's playing this season with a less talented supporting cast.

I tend to think we will be sitting here in 10 years agreeing that Dragic is the better player. That's not a given by any means, especially if John can improve his shooting and puts up more games like he did Friday against the Hornets. He went 9-12 from beyond 10 feet for a very rare sharpshooting performance. The man has a total of six three's on the season.

Prediction:

I can see Wall and Dragic playing to a draw while the rest of the Suns struggle to keep up with the slightly superior supporting cast in Washington. Unfortunately, we may not get to see Bradley Beal.

Bullets Forever has the injury report and preview from the Washington side.

Wizards vs Suns preview: Will Wall's daggers blot out the Suns? - Bullets Forever
Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price and Bradley Beal are all up in the air for Washington.

Suns should field the same unit they did in Atlanta. I'll be at the game saying hi to my old pals.

163780248

Living in the D.C. area since August, I can tell you there was some real hope that this Wizards team might be ready to jump from perennial cellar dwelling to legitimate playoff contender. Then it was announced that John Wall hurt his knee and would miss the start of the season. Then Nene also went down. Next thing you know, the Wizards are 0-12 to start the season and any chance of this team competing for the postseason went up in a puff of smoke.

Is John Wall turning a corner?

John Wall smoking threes
Bullets Forever explores the development of John Wall after one of his best shooting games ever.

But John Wall and some of his other injured mates came back. Rookie Bradley Beal learned the ways of the NBA and began to show us all that incredible potential we saw from the Florida shooting guard. The Wizards are now 18-18 since January 1. That .500 record extended over a full season would have them right where the optimists predicted -- fighting for a playoff birth.

That's a lot of words to point out that the Wizards are on the rise. John Wall continues to mature. Beal's incredible talent slowly translates into success on the court (I think Beal will easily be as good as a healthy Eric Gordon and perhaps be in James Harden's class.) The knuckleheads like Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford are gone and in their place come veterans like Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza

Baring some kind of miracle, it will be at least two or three years before your Phoenix Suns are where the Wizards are now.

Baring some kind of miracle, it will be at least two or three years before your Phoenix Suns are where the Wizards are now.

Game time: 7pm ET / 4pm PT on Fox Sports Arizona and NBALP

Prior Engagements:

This game is the first of two times these teams meet this season. The Wizards will be in Phoenix on March 20 to close out the much-anticipated season series.

The Suns beat the Wizards in their one meeting last year, 104-88. Wall had 10 points while Gortat (20 pts) and Frye (19 points and Nash (11 assists) led the Suns. Of course, none of those Phoenix players will be involved in Saturday night's affair.

Key Matchup:

Aside from the outcome's impact on the lottery ball chase, the most important and interesting aspect of this game is the point guard battle between Goran Dragic and John Wall.

Here's their season numbers via Basketball-reference.com.

Screen_shot_2013-03-16_at_1

Wall has the slight edge in raw numbers while Goran is the more efficient player.

Watching them play, it's obvious that John is the more athletic of the two, but that gap isn't overly large. Wall's biggest asset is his ridiculous speed and ability to get by pretty much anyone. He's got good vision and passing that makes him into a classic drive and kick point guard and he's surrounded by decent shooters in Webster and Beal and bigs that can finish in Nene and Okafor.

Goran is a much more well-rounded player. He's the better "pure point" and a much better shooter. He's playing this season with a less talented supporting cast.

I tend to think we will be sitting here in 10 years agreeing that Dragic is the better player. That's not a given by any means, especially if John can improve his shooting and puts up more games like he did Friday against the Hornets. He went 9-12 from beyond 10 feet for a very rare sharpshooting performance. The man has a total of six three's on the season.

Prediction:

I can see Wall and Dragic playing to a draw while the rest of the Suns struggle to keep up with the slightly superior supporting cast in Washington. Unfortunately, we may not get to see Bradley Beal.

Bullets Forever has the injury report and preview from the Washington side.

Wizards vs Suns preview: Will Wall's daggers blot out the Suns? - Bullets Forever
Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price and Bradley Beal are all up in the air for Washington.

Suns should field the same unit they did in Atlanta. I'll be at the game saying hi to my old pals.

163475805

That means you need to watch all the guys that could come to the Suns over these next few weeks and start drooling. There may not be a LeBron coming out, or even an Anthony Davis, but frankly any of the top ten or so guys will be better than anyone on the Suns current roster. Or, at least, COULD be better.

Potential #1 overall pick Nerlens Noel, only 18 and already dominant on defense, won't play this weekend and might not play for many months. He tore up his ACL and just had surgery to fix it after waiting two months for the swelling to go down.

But other guys are stepping up to the plate. Marcus Smart, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Victor Olidapo, Alex Len, Cody Zeller (another brother!) and good old Shabazz Muhammad are all ready to set the world on fire. So are a number of other guys too, but these are the ones who've gotten my attention so far.

Here's an open thread for anyone watching the NCAA tourneys this weekend to discuss draft prospects.

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