Coming into the week, the Phoenix Suns had two seemingly winnable games: one that could have easily been a lopsided loss, and another that ended up being exactly what it should have been.

In classic 2013 Suns fashion, they dropped both games against the lesser opponents, beat a playoff team, and then were routed by another playoff team. It has been that type of season for the Suns so far and after going 1-3 in their last four games, they hit the road for three games in four nights.

Game Recaps

@ Toronto Raptors - L (71-98)

@ Sacramento Kings - L (112-121)

vs. Houston Rockets - W (107-105)

vs. Denver Nuggets - L (108-93)

Jared Dudley on Tanking

"It is understandable because you want to have the highest pick but at the same time, if I lose on purpose, I may not be able to find a job in Phoenix. If Jared is not playing well, let's get rid of him. I am trying to be here for a long time and have a good reputation in the league. At the end of the day, we will be in the lottery no matter, so hopefully we get the best pick."

Lottery Update

These three losses pushed the Suns into the sixth slot in the lottery after getting as high as third just a week ago. The schedule gets very interesting over the next few weeks as they will play the Wizards, Lakers, Timberwolves, and Jazz, all of which have some significance on the season. A win over the Lakers is beneficial, but losses to the Jazz, Timberwolves, and Wizards could easily vault the Suns back into the Top three of the lottery.

More on lottery odds in the coming weeks.

Key Stat

360 (5.62 per game)

Season to date, the Suns have scored 6,056 points to the 6,416 that they have given up to their opponents.

The margin of victory (or loss) this season has been, on average, -5.62 points per game. There were a lot of close calls, some wins, and some blow-out losses. That was the identity of the team through roughly 50 games of basketball. Well, since the All-Star Break, the team has gone 5-6 overall, but the margin has gotten worse at -7.27.

The Highs

This season, there have been very few highlights, but against the Rockets, they had a few that were noteworthy. Kendall Marshall threw a pass between the legs of Omer Asik that drew national attention on Twitter and more as one of the highlights of the night.

Later that night, Marshall hit a circus shot with the shot clock expiring that helped the Suns stay on top late in the fourth quarter.

The Lows

Another week, another dance with franchise futility on the offensive end. The switch to the defensive culture has been tough to watch at times, but it has allowed the Suns to go 5-6 since the All-Star Break, allowing 101.7 points per game on the defensive end. Of course, the offense has struggled, only scoring 94.4 points per game and to reference the key stat, that is not an improvement, as that is a differential of -7.27 points per game.


A look at three different players on the Suns for the week forming a good, bad, and a surprise either way each week.

  • B+ for Jared Dudley: The demotion to the bench didn't effect Dudley on the whole, as he went out there and still put up numbers and was productive. He is a more natural bench player that has developed the ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.
  • D+ for Luis Scola: His role has been limited in order to give the younger bigs more playing time, but when he was on the court, he shot poorly at 32.1% from the field, hurting the team offensively.
  • B+ for Marcus Morris: Consistency was the key for the newer Morris. He scored at least nine points every game and shot the ball over 50% from the field. The defensive effort and rebounding has been of quality while playing the three or the four.

Player of the Week:

Hamed Haddadi - 5.3 PPG 6.3 RPG 0.5 APG 2.0 BPG 41.2% FG

Why not? The team dropped two games that were lost in fairly embarrassing fashion and the win was paced by the play of Haddadi. There was not one member of the Suns that played a consistently good brand of basketball for three games, but Haddadi had arguably the best game based on circumstance. He is now the only center on the roster and when facing teams with larger frontcourts, he becomes a valuable asset. This week, he achieved his career-highs in points, rebounds, and minutes played over the past four games.

Previewing the Week Ahead:

Wednesday, March 13th @ Houston Rockets (34-30)

Friday, March 15th @ Atlanta Hawks (34-28)

Saturday, March 16th @ Washington Wizards (18-46)


The Phoenix Suns fell to 22-42 after losing 108-93 to a Denver Nuggets team that is surging towards the top of the Western Conference Standings. They played tough, but the Nuggets were just too much.

The Denver Nuggets are 44-22 on the season, but only 14-19 on the road.

The Phoenix Suns are 22-41 on the season, but at least they are 15-16 at home.

Yet, it's difficult to imagine anything but a blowout in favor of the Nuggets tonight. Denver has topped 100 points in 22 of their last 23 games for an average of 104. The Suns average about 10 points less than that on the season.

Even factoring in the Suns' improved D (keeping opponents to 4 points below their season average of late), you've still got a clean victory for the Nuggets.

Add in the fact the Suns topped 100 points on Saturday night for the first time at home in 2013 (the hadn't scored 100+ points at home since before Christmas), the outlook looks even bleaker.

Not to be a pessimist, but...the Nuggets have won 9 consecutive games (18 of their last 22), while the Suns are feeling pretty about a 5-5 record since the All-Star break (9 of of their last 22).

Key Matchups

Kenneth Faried vs. the Morri

In a part-time matchup of 2011 draft picks, the Suns trot out Markieff and Marcus Morris ("the Morri") - who were drafted #13 and #14 overall - opposite the Nuggets' Kenneth Faried who went #22 overall.

It's easy - and proper - to bash the Suns' front office for this oversight, but don't forget to throw 20 other teams into the same fire. Faried has exceeded pre-draft expectations of pundits, scouts and front office personnel alike.

Faried starts at PF for a winning team, bringing the kind of fire and energy that new Suns coach Lindsey Hunter absolutely craves. He grabs 9.6 rebounds a night despite being only 6'8", and drops 11 points in the bucket each night as well.

Marcus and Markieff Morris bring less to the table - about 9 points and 4 rebounds per game, each.

Don't expect the Morri to outplay Faried, but it will be interesting to see how they fare.

Ty Lawson vs. Goran Dragic

Here is a better matchup to watch. Both point guards will dominate the ball, trying to score first and pass second.

Lawson's stats (17 points, 7 assists on the season, but 23 and 7 over his last 10 games) are gaudier than Dragic's.

Dragic has season averages of 14 and 7, with 15 and 9.8 in his last 10 games.

Expect one of these guys to set the tone, while the other takes a back seat in comparison. Could be either of them.

Andre Miller vs. Kendall Marshall

Some have looked at Marshall's physique and skills and tried to peg his ceiling as Andre Miller. Well, Suns fans get to see a first-hand comparison tonight when each steps into his team's second unit, even pairing with the starter for stretches at a time.

My guess is that you won't see a lot of similarities once you see them facing off.

Marshall is a better passer and even slightly better at shooting open 3s (33% now on the season). Marshall sees the floor better, but as a rookie he struggles to predict the speed of the NBA game at times.

Andre Miller is a good passer and a pretty good defender, but still a terrible shooter after more than a decade to work on it. Miller defends better than Marshall ever will.

Neither is good at creating their own shot anywhere on the court, so there's that.

Good wings vs. average wings

Both teams play a lot of wings. It's just that Denver's are better. Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala start, with Wilson Chandler backing them up along with Corey Brewer.

Phoenix counters with Jared Dudley, P.J. Tucker, Wesley Johnson, Marcus Morris and Michael Beasley. The most engaged players that night play the most minutes.

No superstars

Denver is the poster child of winning without a superstar. They have a lot of pretty good players, but no one guy who can carry the team. Not one guy made the All-Star game this year, even.

Can they win a championship without a superstar? Probably not. But they are a darn good team regardless.


The Suns did beat Denver at home earlier this season. It was Phoenix's first win of the year against a winning team (only 4-3 at the time).

So take that for what it's worth.

I wish I could say the Suns will win this game, but don't count on it.

PHOENIX — Channing Frye was relaxing in the Suns locker room before the Monday night game against the Denver Nuggets. With the Pac-12 tournament on his mind, he was dishing on the Arizona...

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PHOENIX – The Suns own the worst three-point defense in the league. The Denver Nuggets didn’t do much with it. It didn’t matter. Corey Brewer scored 20 points, and outside of a Ty Lawson...

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