It's all over but the crying...Time to go fishing.
Does Kenny Smith even bother to put on a fishing hat for teams that don't make the playoff's? That might be saddest part in all of this if we don't get to see Nash and Shaq holding up the catch of the day one more time.
No, I take that back. The saddest part is that the Bulls, Pistons and 76ers are playoff teams and the Suns are not. Not in any sense of the word.
Playoff teams don't go 2-12 on the road (Utah Jazz being the exception).
Playoff teams show up to play in big games.
Playoff teams understand that you can't win if you don't compete.
There's a lot that can be said about this game...like the Suns were completely and totally unprepared to deal with Jason Kidd in the post and it killed their entire defensive game plan. And yes, I do assume that there was a game plan but it was pretty evident from Grant Hill's comments that it didn't include Jason Kidd posting up.
"I thought the turning point was when they started to go post-up Kidd and we just had some mental breakdowns." Explained Grant who was 8 -12 for 23 points which is 21 points more then the We Believe crew. Or is that the We Belove crew? We Believed? We Used to Once Believe? Anyway...
The good news is that Leandro put my doubts to bed regarding a let down after his 15 points in 15 minutes performance in his first game back. Other then Hill, LB was the only Suns perimeter player that played well from the perimeter. Unfortunately, his defense suffered during his absence as he was unable to stay in front of his man. No fair calling LB out for that though. It's not like anyone else did either although I do recall one brilliant sequence when Jared Dudley stone cold stopped Jason Terry who thought he could drive on JD.
|Final - 4.5.2009||1||2||3||4||Total|
Speaking of defense, I take a lot of crap for daring to say anything negative about a certain two-time MVP and all around great guy but did anyone else have the sense that Nash was not all that interested in playing beyond April 15th? Is that just me being overly harsh or did you all see that too?
We are know he's not a great defensive player and that's fine. But how does it look to the rest of the team when the "leader" and "floor general" stops even trying. Take for example the 8:15 mark of the 1st period when the game was in the pre-laughable stage and Steve hit a high screen set by Dirk. Most players at that point follow their man into the lane and at least try and bother the shooter or get into position for a rebound. Great defensive players fight hard through the screen and bother their man so much that they can't get a clean shot off. Very few simple stop and watch their man go uncontested to the rim. And that wasn't the only time but hey, let's not saying anything bad about the guy that brought fun back to the desert.
At least he didn't take it too hard. After the game he was seen all smiles congratulating Jason Kidd for "..put[ting] us out of our misery."
To be fair, Steve wasn't the only Suns
player starter that got completely out-worked by the Mavs. Barnes? JRich? I guess they were too beat up to contribute much more then a combined 2 points and 6 rebounds. We believe! We believe that the next time JRich shows up in a big game for the Suns will be the first time.
Maybe Larry Brown and Michael Jordan aren't complete chumps after all. At least we got one baller out of the deal and in the long run Jared might easily prove to be the most valuable piece in that trade (aside from Boris Diaw).
Then there's the big guy in the middle. The Big Tweeter. Shaq was a lousy 6 for 9 from the field with only 14 points and 7 rebounds. I don't understand why if this guy is feeling so good and is the M.D.E. why he doesn't do more with the ball to create his own shot. All he does it run to the post and wait for someone to pass him the ball. Only then, after someone else does all the work to get him the rock does he bother to try and score. Why can't he do more without the ball to be more aggressive in his scoring opportunities? Why?
Defensively, he was disaster as well. Dampier and Hollins torched him for a combined 5 points. Disgraceful, and on top of that he let the Mavericks have 46 points in the paint compared to the Suns 48!
Shaq's biggest failing though was behind the arc where he helped the team to a 28% shooting night from downtown and certainly didn't do anything at all to stop the Mavs from going off for 60%! from behind the arc. If Robin Lopez can shoot a three why can't Shaq?
Ok, obviously I am being tongue in check mostly directed at Matt Moore from Hardwood Paraoxysm. Matt and I have a running thing this year about Shaq and Nash. He thinks I am too hard on Steve and should be more appreciative of what's he's done for the Suns and I think Matt's all too willing to ignore Shaq's accomplishments this year simply because he hates Steve Kerr for bringing him here.
We've hashed this out over Twitter and IM for weeks now getting absolutely no where. I've admitted that I expect more from Nash and am disappointed in his response to Terry Porter and of late with how he's taken every opportunity to express his 'frustration with the changes this season' as opposed to focusing on closing strong. Matt's admitted nothing. No, that's not true. Every now and again he gives Shaq credit for not killing anyone.
You folks have watched the same Suns team that I have. You don't need me to tell you what to believe. I will only say that it surprises me as much as it does Matt that I find myself inclined to defend The Big Cactus who's trade here I hated from the minute I heard the first rumor and instead seek to find fault with Captain Canada. In my own defense I will only say one final time, that I call it like I see it. You don't have to agree.
Where does this beat down leave us?
First, there's no doubt now the season is over. Ever the optimist even Coach Gentry said, "I mean let’s be honest, it would have to be a total collapse by them. They would have to lose every game, and they’re not going to do that. We’re probably not going to make it quite honestly, that’s pretty obvious."
Thank you, Coach for the honesty. He went on to talk about the team being professional and playing hard for the next five games. Other teams are fighting for playoff position and we owe to them and to the fans who paid good money to at least put up a decent enough fight.
We've seen what the bench can do. Perhaps a bit more Lopez would be nice. He's certainly been playing better when he's gotten more minutes lately but you don't shut anyone down and you don't throw in the towel now. That's easy enough to say anyway and I for one am not going to be critical if we see a sub-par performance from the veterans from here on in. Why should the final five games be any different from today's must win?
Many of you have started looking forward to the summer and the talk of who to bring back and how big the blow up should be. I think it's premature to really get into that. On May 19th we will know what the draft order is and then we can get serious about what deals might make sense. I think at this point everything is on the table and you don't go into it with any preconceived notions about who you might or might not want to deal.
You take the best offer out there that moves either Richardson, Amare, Shaq or Nash and you keep Barbosa, Dudley, Dragic and Amundson and Lopez. Swift and Barnes will probably be left to explore a buyers market for free agents and Hill will have to make up his own mind on where he wants to play next year.
The key in my mind is looking at the top three or five teams in the draft order and see what their needs and cap situations are and then explore what deals you can make.
Regardless or how it plays out this summer or even if Steve Kerr is the guy calling the shots, there is no doubt that the Nash era run and gun Suns wheezed it's last dying breadth today in a pathetic performance in Dallas.
An unfortunate way to close out a great era of Phoenix Suns basketball.