[Note by Phoenix Stan, 02/19/09 9:50 AM MST ]
To clarify and respond to all the great comments regarding my lack of joy with these wins and my seeing the dark side of our Sun:
1) I agree that the majority of the blame goes to Kerr and by extension Sarver. I’ve said that. I also think however that the players have some accountability here as well. Its not as if they never played well together this season. They did. Then they didn’t. Then they did again. And finally they didn’t. Grant Hill has said that. Alvin Gentry said that. And I agree.
2) If you want to enjoy beating up on the least talented, smallest line up we’ve seen all year that’s fine too. I don’t want to steal anyone’s Christmas. Personally, I don’t get joy when my son takes out the trash. That’s his job. Scoring 42 on Ricky Davis and Steve Novak and dominating DeAndre Jordan in the paint is not enjoyable to me. It is totally expected.
3) This discussion makes me realize that there’s a fundamental difference in opinion about the Suns running system. I happen to believe that it is even more flawed with this current roster (particularly without Boris) then trying to learn to play a more traditional style. That’s my opinion and I will try and find time to explain that more.
4) Sorry to pee on everyone’s corn flakes. I honestly believe that if you are hopeful and excited after beating the crap out of this Clippers team then you are being set up for a fall. The big test will come with how this team responds when that fall happens. Over the years (really since the 05-06 season) they have not shown the resilience to overcome the inevitable adversity that all teams face. So, I have no reason to believe that they will suddenly be able to do so. I hope I am wrong. I would love to eat my words.
5) Just a point of reminder that there is no other playoff team that I can think of that’s been as healthy as the Suns have this season. Knock on wood. Successful teams overcome and this Suns team has yet to prove they can. So yes, I am a skeptic.
As Clipper Steve pointed out before this game, the Suns were averaging 140 points per game under Alvin Gentry and looking to improve. They did.
The Suns are now averaging 141 points under Alvin Gentry thanks to a 41-point fourth quarter and a 142-119 destruction of the Los Angeles Clippers.
I know a lot of folks on Planet Orange are excited and there's dancing in the streets in Phoenix, but let me just throw the wet blanket here for a moment and point something out:
- The Clippers started DeAndre Jordan and Ricky Davis at Center and Power Forward
- They were missing their top 4 big men
- Take the top four big men off any 13-win team and you want to know what will happen? 142-119. Any time. Day or night.
The story here isn't the Suns scoring 80 points in the paint to LA's 40. The story is this was a one-point game after the first 12 minutes and the Clippers winning the 3rd quarter. The story is the Suns defense leaving shooters wide open all night and not giving a damn about it.
Gentry's unleashing the hounds certainly looks impressive when Steve Novak is trying to guard Amare Stoudemire, and 282 points in two nights is fun, but people please ... remember the situation and have a little self control.
You don't get excited when Team USA beats Trinidad and Tobago by 40 points. You wouldn't be thrilled by ASU destroying Phoenix College.
Let's show a little class here, okay.
Besides, all this running might be fun, but ask yourself how Shaq is going to feel running up and down the court and not touching the ball after a couple of losses. This break-neck pace was a great strategy for Shaq -- when he was in Miami and we were trying to run him off the court.
These were a couple of nice warm-up games for the final stretch. It was fun to beat up on the weak little asthmatic kids from the next block. But let's wait and see what happens against a real NBA basketball team. Let's see how all those smiles hold up after a couple of rough spots.
This style has always been good for some laughers, but don't forget this team's history of being completely unable to pull together through adversity. This is the same group of players that started the season 8 - 3, only to then turn around and lose 3 of the next 9.
After the JRich trade, the Suns looked energized and ready to roll. The joy and chemistry were back. They were 9 and 3 and declaring themselves "there."
Then came 10 losses in 16 games, resulting in a coaching change.
Two blow out wins against about as poor a level of competition possible in this league might mean this roller coaster is headed back up. But recent history should have prepared you to toss your cookies on the next drop.
Hey, this is the season of hope and change, so maybe this time will be different ... but you have absolutely no reason to expect that.
Oh, and one more thing. Isn't anyone just a little bit concerned about a group of professionals that so obviously rolled out for the last few weeks with so little pride and self motivation?
The question isn't why they are playing "well" now. The question is, why did the roll over and die before and let their disagreements with the "system" prevent them from at least playing hard every night?
You can argue that this is the best way for this team to play. I get that. But you can't tell me that it is acceptable to roll over and play dead as a way of showing your displeasure. How are we supposed to respect that?
That is just some weak sauce right there and the more "fun" they are having now, the more pathetic the last few weeks look. How would you like to be signing those paychecks or paying for those season tickets for a team that quit on itself, its coach and its city?