After threatening to set league records (in the wrong way) for three-point shooting defense, the Phoenix Suns are lately enjoying a regression to the mean by their opponents.
Across the league, teams make an average of 35.8% of their three-point attempts in the 2012-13 season. After allowing a league-high 43% over the first 18 games of the season, the Suns have limited opponents to only 29% over the last six games (22 for 79).
"We still are going to try to stay away from freeing up 3-point shooters," he said before the game. "You got to pick your poison."
Memphis made only 2 of 10 three pointers in the game while also limiting Randolph's domination by mixing in a zone defense that the Suns had not sported much at all this season. During the game-turning run in the second quarter where the Suns fought back from an 11-point deficit, the Grizzlies scored on only 3 of 12 possessions for 7 points in the last 8 minutes of the second quarter.
"We played a zone some," Gentry said afterward. "But we just weren't gonna run around and spread our defense out where they could start making 3-point shots. We tried to limit the 3-point shooting by playing Zach straight up."
While the Suns three-point defense appears to have improved, it has had little if no impact on the bottom line. Their defensive efficiency has not moved an inch (109 points allowed per 100 possessions) and they lost the first four of those five games.
Tonight's opponent, the Utah Jazz, make nearly 38% of their threes on the season so this good trend by the Suns will be interesting to watch.
Some people loved them. Some hated them. Now that debate will be reignited as the Phoenix Suns announced Wednesday that the team will wear the all black retro uniforms from mid to late 90's for ten games this season.
SUNS GOING RETRO WITH BLACK UNIFORMS | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE PHOENIX SUNS
One of seven NBA teams chosen to go retro for select games this season, the Suns chose the popular jerseys with the large, bright sunburst across the chest that were worn for occasional road games from 1994-2000.
Here's a link to a photo gallery on Suns.com showing some more pics of the players wearing black.
The dates for the retro uniforms include seven home games and three on the road:
Jan. 30: Suns vs. Lakers
Feb. 10: Suns vs. Thunder
Feb. 12: Suns @ Lakers
Feb. 22: Suns vs. Celtics
Feb. 24: Suns vs. Spurs
Feb. 27: Suns @ Spurs
March 13: Suns @ Rockets
March 18: Suns vs. Lakers
March 24: Suns vs. Nets
March 30: Suns vs. Pacers
I've seen fans over the years ask for this. Now it's happening and I'm guessing the reaction will be mixed. Let's vote and find out!
(photo Courtesy Suns.com)
As the inimitable Paul Coro puts it:
Goran Dragic's inner fire stays lit, but it had been raging during a seven-game losing streak.
The Suns point guard said, "I feel like scum," after the streak started with the franchise's third-worst blowout ever in Detroit. The trip ended in Memphis with Dragic missing a possible game-cinching free throw and getting trapped on a potential game-winning play. And before the streak went to seven with Dragic watching in illness from home, he hit his tipping point when he missed an open layup to tie against Dallas.
When the mild-mannered point guard got to his locker after the Dallas loss last Thursday, he went Hulk and ripped his jersey off his body, splitting the "SU" from the "NS." Memphis did not like him when he was angry.
Gentry loved the defense, that Randolph did not score much in the game after getting 10 in the first few minutes after tipoff. It looked like a long night for the Suns, but they adjusted and Randolph only scored eight points the rest of the way.
The Suns even threw in some zone, which they had hardly used at all this season, and it was effective. The Grizzlies struggled to score in the final eight minutes of the first half (only 7 points after taking a 36-25 lead) with the Suns playing a lot of zone defense in that time.
Jared Dudley gave away a few secrets in his euphoria over the game.
"It was a big hack-fest out there. They weren't calling fouls for us, so we started fouling them."
Other notes from the win:
Last but not least: