Weekly Average: 16 points, 5.5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steals in 30 minutes of play
Thankfully, Dragic continues to be the best player on the team. He should be in the number one spot each and every week, as he is without a doubt the best and most talented player on the roster. Most Suns fans would like to see him step it up on defense...he shouldn't continue to be torched by opposing guards with his ability to defend. Also, we would like those assist numbers to increase, but I think we also have to take into account what he has to work with in that respect.
Weekly Average: 13 points, 6.5 rebounds in 28.5 minutes of play
Gortat had a very up and down week. He had two very productive games against the Grizzlies and the...ahem...Pelicans, but then managed to score only 2 points on 2 shots along with 4 rebounds in over 26 minutes against the Thunder last night. Even with his disappearing act, Gortat's numbers overall are still good enough to keep him clinging to the 2nd spot in this weeks rankings.
Weekly Average: 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1 assist in 23 minutes of play
I'm not sure what this says about the Suns, but Beasley has become one of the best players on this team. His overall performance over the last month can't be discounted as an aberration any longer. Beasley has been given more minutes lately, and has responded with increased production.
Weekly Average: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist in 22 minutes of play
Welcome back J.O.! O'Neal returned this week after a medical scare that had him sidelined the past couple weeks, and he stepped right back onto the court like he had never left. Jermaine is our best defensive big, and his presence in the post gives the Suns a presence they simply cannot replace without him. Not only that, he is productive offensively as well, and helps the Suns in a variety of ways as you can see from his stat line.
Weekly Average: 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists in 24 minutes of play
Tucker continues to be the team's best defensive stopper, and hustle/energy guy. He has been given big minutes lately, and for the most part has done his job. He only played 16 minutes against Durant and the Thunder last night, which I don't fully understand, but when he has been asked to stop the opposing team's best player he has done it better than anyone else on the roster.
Weekly Average: 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 19 minutes of play
Scola's minutes were significantly reduced this week, down one-third of his average from the previous weeks. A lot of this has to do with the rise of Beasley who has been taking more minutes from Scola at the four...and deservedly so. But Scola just isn't the same player when he's given a reduced role.
Weekly Average: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 20 minutes of play
Dudley just hasn't been the same player lately. He had a good game against the hornets (14pts, 6rbs), but was non-existent in the other two match-ups this week scoring 0 and 3 points respectively. I'm not sure what's going on with Dudz, but he will need to step up his play soon or will risk losing more minutes to Marshall, or maybe Garrett as head coach Lindsey Hunter continues his development of the youngsters.
Weekly Average: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 24 minutes of play
Morris has been struggling offensively lately, and his woes continued this week shooting only 6-17 from the field. Markieff has been in a slump, but Hunter continues to give him plenty of playing time. I think is probably a good thing, but Morris really needs to step up and play to his potential by finding ways to help the team even when his shot isn't falling.
Weekly Average: 5 points, 3 assists in 24 minutes of play
Marshall was given his first big minutes this week, and Hunter did a nice job of finding ways to complement him on the court...especially when playing alongside Dragic which worked really well against the Grizzlies. Marshall is still very much a rookie, but found a way to make some nice passes and even some nice shots (at times). He's still very much a work in progress, but we're seeing growth, and that's what counts.
Weekly Average: 5 points, 3 rebounds in 19 minutes of play
Brown's minutes were about the same this week, but his production was down. Brown can be an electric scorer when he's dialed in, but he is still a liability on defense and if he's not producing on offense then there's little reason to keep him on the court.
So there you have it. Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below!
After a quick start by the Thunder, Goran Dragic went into "Dragon" mode, scoring 13 of the Suns first 15 points on 6-7 shooting. The Thunder just had too much firepower and led from the first basket after the opening tip. Kevin Durant did his part to match Dragic's pyrotechnics by pouring in four three pointers in four attempts. Dragic finished the quarter with 16. Durant led the Thunder with 12. Both teams shot the ball exceptionally well (Suns - 54.5%, Thunder - 60%) in a frenetic, free-wheeling quarter. Score: OKC 33, Suns 27.
The Suns took advantage of an interlude where Durant and Russell Westbrook (two early fouls) weren't on the floor and closed the gap, using an 8-0 run to tie the score at 35. The Suns stout defense was compromised, however, when Durant made Markieff Morris a Sportscenter top 10 casualty with a physics defying dunk. The Suns took their first lead of the game (46-44) on a 20 foot jumper by Michael Beasley over Westbrook. The better part of the period was tightly contested, but the Thunder ended the half on a 9-2 run. Score: OKC 55, Suns 50.
The Suns shot 53.5% in the first half, while OKC shot 51.2%. The Thunder were 7-10 from three point range. Goran Dragic led the way for Phoenix with 16 points (all in the first quarter) and 4 assists, while Durant had 16 points and 4 rebounds for the Thunder. The Thunder led in fast break points 16-4. Three Suns starters (Gortat, Dudley and Tucker) scored zero points in the first half on 0-4 combined shooting.
The Thunder opened up the third period, and the game, with a 12-5 run. Suns coach Lindsey Hunter tried to stymie the Thunder's run with a timeout four minutes into the quarter, but the Suns couldn't gain traction and it ballooned to 26-5, putting the Thunder on top 81-55 before the Suns finally scored a bucket. Westbrook followed after his partner in crime with a stentorian jam on a breakaway during the game-deciding stretch. The Suns ended up losing the quarter, and the game for that matter, 36-20. Score: OKC 91, Suns 70.
Garbage time. Game over. OKC wins 127-96 (Did you really expect me to keep trying after the Suns obviously quit?)
Player of the Game:
Nobody from the Thunder was really on the floor long enough to put up extraordinarily gaudy stats, although Westbrook's return after early foul trouble coincided with the soul crushing run by OKC, so I'll give the Thunder's starting five the nod. They were a combined +148 after all...
Comments of the Game:
Goran vs Durant so far.
Too bad it's 5 on 5. Their other 4 are quite a bit better that our other 4.
0 FGA for Gortat. He must be loving it.
So, looks like Holiday Inn Beasley is in effect.
If we gonna lose
I am happy for it to be a 115-110 game.
24 to 5 in this quarter.
Way to go in the second half Suns. Bravo.
Stealth tanking strikes again.
Make it seem like we're trying, but really just give up the game in the second half for the purpose of tanking.
Do you remember when the Suns last scored a field goal?
Pepperidge farms remembers...
All part of the plan. We're lulling them to sleep so we can jump all over them and win the second game.
This game shows the uselessness of timeouts.
They haven't once changed the flow of the game.
Parching start by Goran Dragic. The Thunder looked like they might jump out to an early lead, but Goran quelled those concerns with a proliferation of points. I am sure, without checking the veracity of my claim, that 16 first quarter points is a season high for the Suns.
Kevin Durant's posterization of Markieff Morris in the second quarter. Just because the Suns were on the receiving end doesn't mean it wasn't jaw-dropping.
Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and P.J. Tucker combined for zero points on 0-4 shooting in the first half. Dragic was shouldering the lion's share of the scoring early, but having three starters disappear for an entire half on the offensive end of the court is not a recipe for success.
Who likes 26-5 runs to start the third quarter? Well, sure they're good when you're the 26, but the Suns were definitely the 5. For that matter, it was actually a 21-0 run at one point, which stings even worse. How does a team follow up a competitive half of basketball by laying down and dying? I guess that's a good question for the postgame press conference (and the entire damn season).
The Thunder are really good. The Suns, not so much. Hopefully the Suns can avoid getting humiliated on their home floor in two days. Good luck.