Forget last night's blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets, the real problem was illustrated on a white board that's been hanging in the Suns locker room since early in the season. The board lists 16 NBA teams with their 10-game average for defensive field goal percentage.
The number one team on the board is the team that's held its opponents to the lowest average shooting percentage over the past ten games. The teams are listed in order from 1 to 15 with a spot available for the Suns. When the board first went up early in the season there were 15 teams and then the Suns with the rank number of about 29 next to their name.
Then the Suns got serious about playing defense. There was the famous three-hour practice on December 30 after getting stomped at home by the 76ers. The defense improved and the Suns moved up on that board until at one point they were hanging around second or third. Think about that, for a portion of the season the Suns were in the top five of all NBA teams in defensive field goal percentage.
Last night that board showed the Suns back in the high-20's (27 I believe) and that was before the game. That means over their last ten games, the Suns have slipped all the way from the top of the NBA back to the bottom in defense.
Here's the numbers in more detail and a look at three distinct portions to the season so far:
Season 1 - Defense Optional
Season 2 - Defensive Juggernaut
Well, that sucked. This game gave me deja vu while the Nuggets gave the Suns a good old fashion butt-kicking. They came out strong, set the tone and played great defense. They defended the PnR very well, trapping Nash and Brooks out on the perimeter which forced many turnovers. They played with hunger and focus that led to good anticipation on their rotations which led to a lot of steals. Got to give them their props. Yet as good as their defense was the Suns just made a lot of sloppy plays. For a team like the Nuggets who are young, versatile and athletic; you don't want to turn the ball over against them. It didn't help either that the Suns couldn't buy a shot the entire night.
Key words for the game: Flat, Sloppy. That's how the Suns looked and played.
Marcin Gortat- 14, 18, 4, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He's becoming one of my favorites. I love this guy! He plays with so much passion, hunger and aggressiveness. That's what you call "heart". No offense Lopez, but I don't care how much potential you have because Heart>Potential. If there was one bright spot this entire game it was the "Polish Hammer". It's like he was the only guy out there.
Unfortunately you can't win games 1 vs 5( unless your Jordan, Kobe...) I don't know what to take from this game. The Nuggets obviously wanted it more. We all knew it would be difficult without Channing Frye and Steve Nash playing through injury. These games will happen from time to time, but this team needs to wake up and just grind it out no matter how tired or worn down they are. For a while it even looked like Gentry had given up. I don't know what to say about this. I thought they wanted to make the playoffs?
Well, good game. The Nuggets are clearly the better team.
VC is good in NBA 2k11 because as the user you can control his shot selection unfortionatly in real life, there is no cure.- Berecki
This game is seriously worse than the day I got fired, went to jail, and found out my girlfriend cheated on me with 3rd string quarterback from Texas Tech.- TheRza82