Before we dig into this bloody business, it's important to note that the Suns have not been plagued by turnovers this season. In fact, their ability to NOT turn the ball over has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise blah start to the season.

The Suns are fourth-best in the NBA with a turnover rate of 12.8 per 100 possessions. They are behind Toronto, Philadelphia, and New York -- all teams, ironically, that the Suns have fallen to in the last week.

Here's the nine turnovers from the first quarter on Sunday. They have eight more for the entire game so you could argue this one issue caused the loss (although I don't fully buy that).

Turnover #1: One their second offensive possession less than a minute into the game, the Suns come down and run a high pick and roll with Dragic and Gortat. The defense collapses with Morris' defender helping in the lane. Instead of kicking out to the open Morris for a three, Dragic tries to force the ball to Gortat in the lane and travels.

Turnover #2: At about the ten minute mark, Shannon Brown beats his man to the middle but has his head down and barrels right into the chest of Kurt Thomas who was camped out just below the free throw line long enough to have the paint transfer to the soles of his shoes. The game was 6-4, Knicks at this point.

Brown was the only starter with "just" one turnover. The rest had two each. Brown only played four minutes in the period


Turnover #3: The Suns run a nice little play designed to take advantage of the Knick tendency to switch picks (just like Woodsen's Hawks teams used to do). Brown sets a cross screen for Gortat's man (Chandler) coming across the lane and Ronnie Brewer switches on to the Polish center who has good post position with a guard on his back.

Beasley, however, throws a horrible entry bounce pass that skips out of bounds. That's about the 7:55 mark with the Suns already down 13-6.

Turnover #4: About a minute later with the Suns now down 16-6, Gortat sets a ball screen for Beasley who denies the screen and drives past Melo. Melo, however, comes around from behind and swipes the ball. This was a pretty nice little steal from Anthony.


Turnover #5: About 30 seconds later (Suns down 18-6), Dudley tries to throw an entry pass to Morris who has J.R. Smith on his back after another Knicks switched screen. Smith does a good job battling Morris which forces Dudley to pass the ball a bit high. Morris should have still grabbed it but seems to take his eye off the ball and it gets away from him.

Turnover #6: Michael Beasley is advancing the ball after a rebound and around the half court line picks up his dribble to advance the ball to Goran but Goran isn't looking for the pass and the ball goes out of bounds. 5:44, Suns down 18-6.

Turnover #7: Dragic and Gortat run a high screen and roll. Morris is spaced behind the three-point line but is too close to the middle and when Dragic tries to bounce him the ball, Brewer easily reads the plays and gets the steal.

Turnover #8: With about 3:33 left and the Suns down 21-10, Morris runs down the floor and barrels into Steve Novak as he tries to get good post position. Offensive foul.

Turnover #9: Dragic and Gortat run a high screen and roll. Instead of trying a bounce pass, Goran lobs the ball to the rim for what should have been a dunk but the lob is off and hits the rim and Gortat touches it for an offensive basket interference call. Suns down 21-14 with 1:45 to go.


That's it folks. Do you see a pattern here? Both of Morris' turnovers were just dumb. Beasley's too. Goran made a couple of bad passes.

The Suns were down by seven before the third turnover and down by ten by the fourth. But the Suns defense, at least statistically, didn't suck. New York shot 39% from the field (25% from three) while the Suns shot 46.7% in the first quarter. Those numbers will win you games, but the Suns only had 15 FGAs to the Knicks 23 thanks to those lost possessions.

So yeah, nine turnover in the first quarter killed the Suns in this game. Of course, getting outscored 35-22 in the second quarter and giving up 56% shooting and four threes didn't help either.

Dude, Bright Side of the Sun is on the FaceBook.

Here's some postgame video featuring Suns coach Alvin Gentry and center Marcin Gortat on Sunday after the team's loss to the New York Knicks. The two men weren't on the same page when it came to describing the slow starts the team seems to suffer...except they kind of were.
After a three-game respite, the Phoenix Suns played to the script they have followed most of the season by getting down big early before fighting back and ultimately falling short thanks to far too...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

The Suns would have won this game if only Jermaine O'Neal (thigh bruise) had been able to play. Or perhaps if the start time hadn't been so early on a Sunday. Maybe they would have won if they weren't on the tail end of a very long road trip. Or perhaps if they had only held on to the ball a little better (17 turnovers). If they were only able to stay with the sneaky-fast Steve Novak as he camped out at the three-point line and took uncontested shots.

So close. So close.

Not really that close at all. Down 15-points within the first few minutes and unable to capitalize on foul trouble for Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith and mouth trouble for Rasheed Wallace (ejected after 1:25 minutes of floor time) the Suns were quickly in their familiar early hole. It must be very warm and cozy there since they go to that place so frequently.

As they are prone to do, Phoenix clawed to within six early in the second but that guy who never hits a three (Novak) went 3-5 for nine points and Carmelo Anthony mixed in some incredibly difficult shots with a stupendous missed dunk (also nine points in the 2nd) to power the Knicks to 35 points in the period.

Game ovah.

Except it technically wasn't, unfortunately, ovah quite yet.

The third quarter featured some Mad Brown Bombs (13 points) and a heavy dose of Melo (also 13 points). The rest of the professional basketball players that played all combined for a total of 34 points evenly distributed among both teams.

Math quiz: Based on the previous information, how many points did each team score in the quarter.

Hint: 30 each.

In the fourth, the Suns made it kinda exciting (except we knew they were just teasing). The perimeter defense improved and so 46% shooting from three was replaced with 0% (0-3) and as a result, the Suns won the quarter 27-17.

"Too little, too late" comes to mind.

Bassy played the entire quarter and looked sharp(ish) with 8 of his 11 points but the lead was too big and the Suns not talented enough to make it closer than a four-point margin. But at least they beat the 11.5-point spread! Victory!!!

Some bullet points on how you lose a game:

- turn the ball over 17 times (giving up 23 points) while the other guys only give up the ball 8 times (10 points)

- get beat 20-12 on second chance points

- let Raymond Felton add his own efficient 23 points to Melo's inefficient 34 points

- Steve Novak (12 points, 4-9 from three)

- shoot 48% from the field and lose because you have a team that can't play defense worth a lick

Good night day.

Final - 12.2.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Phoenix Suns 20 22 30 27 99
New York Knicks 24 35 30 17 106

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Next up, Memphis. How hard could that be?

Facebook is for losers...and Bright Side of the Sun.


The Phoenix Suns went into Madison Square Garden and got blown out by the New York Knicks. It was hardly a surprise, but still a disappointment.

The easy part of the Suns 11-day road trip is over. They couldn't manage wins against Philly (10-7), Cleveland (4-13) or Toronto (4-13). So, what do you think the odds are the rag-tag Phoenix squad will leave Madison Square Garden (11-4) with anything other than a loss?

The odds are actually not posted yet (probably due to injury uncertainty with the Knicks...or more likely, a lack of betting interest in this Sunday game that's going up against the mighty NFL). now posted and have the Suns as an 11.5 point underdog.

The Knicks, in their first full season with Mike D'Antoni's replacement (Mike Woodsen), are playing fantastic basketball despite Amare Stoudemire's inability to yet take the floor (knee).

They are defending well (Def. Eff. 103.7, 13th) thanks to DPOY Tyson Chandler and a renewed commitment to play team defense.

With Carmelo Anthony playing the four, they are scoring the ball as well (Off. Eff. 112.7, 1st). The amazing stylings of J.R. Smith and Steve Novak help too. And Raymond Felton but down the pie and is playing solid PG ball (15 pts, 7 ast. per game).

In theory, it's a team the Suns might be able to beat in the paint with the power forward combo of Luis Scola and Markieff Morris if they are going to go small. But of course, do you really look forward to seeing either of those guys defending Melo?

Anyway, the Knicks seem like they will start with a traditional line up with Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Melo on the front line and Felton and Ronnie Brewer in the back. Jason Kidd (back spasms / old man) is listed as "doubtful".

In years past, Gentry would give Grant Hill that Melo assignment. I'm curious (only slightly) to see if Gentry goes small as well and uses P.J. Tucker on Melo and maybe even plays Morris or Scola at the five a bit.

- Start time: 10:00am local / 12:00pm ET

- TV: Fox Sports AZ / NBALP

- Knicks roster and stats

- Posting and Toasting

New theory, the balance bane

The Toronto game was interesting to me. The team looked like they were focused and determined coming off the Detroit Disaster, but I'm starting to think this roster's biggest problem (outside the lack of top flight talent, duh) is too many guys who are too good to bench but not good enough to dominate.

There are no clear roles. There are no clear patterns and predictable moves. There is no guy or guys who the team can look to on a consistent basis to deliver on either end (P.J. Tucker excluded). They are looking at their teammates and saying, "I'm the guy" instead of trusting and following each other.

As a result, Gentry seems to spend the first half the game spreading the ball around trying to find a hot hand and then the second half adjusting to what he thinks might work. The problem is that none of his "hot hands" are good enough to really dominate. No Suns player has scored over 30 this season. No one player has shown the ability to put the team on his back. As a result, everyone thinks they are good enough to do it and they all want the ball, but none of them are "the man".

It's been Gentry's M.O. early in the season to spread the minutes and the touches around and he's already "tightened" up to a ten-man rotation and benched Wes Johnson. Is it time to try cutting that back to eight?

Would it help to look at Michael Beasley and say, go get me 30 points, I don't care how many shots you take? Probably not.

The balance could be an advantage if teams don't know which Suns will bite them on a given night. But if none of them are good enough to do it, maybe there's another strategy to use.

Probably not.

This roster was always destined to be a sub-.500 team and early season struggles should come as no surprise -- we've seen it every year of Gentry's tenure including the 14-17 start to the 2010 WCF team.

One day at a time, folks. At least this game will be over early in the day.

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