Bobcats Expose Suns Shortcomings: 114-109

Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry has reason to hang his head. His team once again failed to execute and win what was otherwise a very winnable game. (Photo by Max Simbron)

This is getting pretty darn old. I guess this is how it feels to follow a bad team. A sub .500 team. A team that can tease with you some bright spots only to find a way to lose. Where my T-wolves peeps at? Where my Kings fans? We need you guys for some serious fan on fan group hugging.

We are Suns fans. We don't do losing. We certainly don't do losing well. We need help!

And to top it all off the Internets were ambushed today by full frontal nude self-photos of Greg Oden's...man part. Can it get any worse?

and yes, the cheesy headline is in reference back to Oden

As for the game, well it was a familiar story. The characters changed a bit. The problems were different. The issues rotated from can't get stops to can't hit shots to can't grab boards to can't hold on to the ball. Occasionally on the same possession.

The end result as Coach Gentry said is that everyone takes the blame, "No one is going to feel sorry for us. I told the guys in the locker room that we are the only ones who can do that. It is everybody's fault. It's the players, it's the coaches, it's everybody's fault. No one can escape criticism from this. As a collective group we have to do a better job of executing and we have to do a better job of getting in that situation to do that. It's no excuse, we have to do that, and it doesn't matter what kind of defense that they're playing, or what they're doing, we have to be better than we are."

Mostly Gentry there was talking about the 15 point fourth quarter. He pointed out that holding the other team to 6 of 16 and 21 points should be enough to get it done. It wasn't tonight as the Suns had a three point lead with 24 seconds and gave up a game tying shot and then failed to get a good look to win the game at the buzzer.

The Bobcats, unlike the Suns, can turn up the defensive pressure another notch and get stops when they need to get stops. This fact isn't lost on Gentry but tonight the theme was execution and playing hard, "All I want to have happen is that when we go out there I know we're competing and playing as hard as we can and that we're mentally doing what we're supposed to do, executing what we're supposed to do and in certain situations we're not doing that and that's something that has to stop. We're not executing, we don't have a chance." Sjack_medium

So what does "executing" mean exactly. Gentry talked about setting hard screens, making hard cuts, making smart decisions defensively, and rebounding the ball. There's no excuse for the Suns to give up 20 offensive rebounds to Charlotte with only 4 of those going to their Center.

Nash talked about the last offensive possession where he had the ball in his hands with the game tied. Gentry said the play was for him to come off a screen with Amare rolling with Frye as an outlet if his man collapsed. On that play, Felton played Nash tight and didn't get rubbed off on the screen and then forced Nash to spin right - only Amare was right there in his way.

Nash was lucky to get the ball to Dudley who's man had helped off. Dudley said that he should have just shot the ball instead of trying to pump fake and draw the foul.

Here's Nash, "We didn't have good spacing. They also tried to foul. They were trying to foul and get it on the side and they didn't call it and then you are at a disadvantage after the guy's taken two hacks at your arms so it was a strange play but again our spacing wasn't great on a few possessions down the stretch."

So by spacing you know who he's talking about right? Amare. Mr. 5 Rebounds in 31 minutes. Mr. 3 Silly Fouls in the First Half. Mr. I Am Saying All The Right Things But I Sure As Hell Do Looked Like I Am Mentally Checked Out And Pricing Houses in Brooklyn.

Maybe Jason Richardson is also on the trade block and he knows it. How else do you explain 2 for 12 and 6 points. He at least played hard and hustled and came up with 7 rebounds. Wallacerebound_medium

The brightest spot for the Sun was also the most confusing. Robin Lopez started the game with a feast of cat meat. He had a quick 10 points in the first quarter but finished with only 25 minutes (5 rebounds/2blks/12 points) and didn't play down the stretch when the Bobcats went to a small lineup with Boris at the 5. Instead of taking advantage of Robin's size in that match-up the Suns reacted to what the other team was doing and went small too.

As for the zone, it once again was overused. Dudley talked a lot about the zone in his post game. He talked about the team needing to talk more and get better at executing and he said that the zone could be overused but was careful to point out that he wasn't saying the Suns were overusing it. I'll go ahead and say that. But with the poor on-ball defense, Gentry obviously feels that he doesn't have a choice. And that's really the most horrible sign I can think of pointing to how bad and how little faith this team has in its ability to get stops.

You may now feel free to resume your trade talk. Internet chatter is heating up that the Nets and Suns are getting close for a deal that would net the Suns Yi, Lee and Simmons with the sticking point being the Nets 1st round draft pick which the Suns want unprotected and the Nets obviously don't want to give up. We'll break this possible trade down in more detail tomorrow.

Game Links:

  • Rufus on Fire
  • Bobcats vs Suns boxscore
  • Bobcats vs Suns coverage
  • KTAR.com - Gambo: Time for the Suns to shake things up
    Kerr and Griffin have proven to have a keen eye for talent as witnessed by the recent draft picks, trades and free agent signings. It's time to allow them to shape the team for the future because the present isn't going anywhere. I like some of the pieces the Suns have, the young kids can play. It's time to turn the team over to them, surround them with other young talent and allow the team to grow. It may take three or four years to get back to being a contender, but sometimes you have to take a few step backwards before you can go forward. That time is now for the Phoenix Suns.

  • Bobcats sink Suns in overtime
    The Suns couldn't close out the Bobcats in regulation, and then paid the price in OT.

  • Spurs consider bidding for Stoudemire - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
    The struggling Spurs have debated whether to make an offer for Suns All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire. - National Basketball Association news

Post game audio:

In-game Notes

1st Qtr

  • Big hug and smiles between Nash and Boris. aaaahhhh
  • Wow! Robin gets beat back door and still turns and gets the block! Holy hell. Then a quick hook shoot in the paint, then a great defensive play next time down...
  • Robin is the best player on the floor right now. Who'd a thunk it
  • Bobcats missing shots early. Energy low. Flat footed
  • Now that was a solid defensive effort. Robin came to help Dudley with and then Amare blocked Nazr after SJax dumped it to him
  • Amare with two quick fouls. The second a dumb reach in on Diaw. He doesn't look like he wants to play. Gentry obliges and puts in Frye as the PF
  • Diaw w/ the sweet little flip to the rim
  • Suns have gotten several quick lobs over the top. Bobcats not getting back. Larry Brown's head about to explode
  • JRich blows Frye's chance at an assist on that drive and kick
  • Frye continues to be more aggressive putting the ball on the deck. He does not want to be a one trick pony
  • At this rate, Amare may not get back off the bench
  • Lopez just jammed that right through Nazr. Power, son. Power
  • I was just thinking about Goran having to go up against Stephan Jackson when he jab stepped him, drew the foul and hit the J. In S-Jax's face. That's balls.
  • Then he nutmeged Diop to get Robin a wide open dunk!!
  • If you guessed at the beginning of the season that by game 46 Robin and Goran would be the best Suns players for the 1st quarter of a game...well, then you are a winner (or a liar)
  • Great start for Suns. Up 33-26. Suns shot 57% in the 1st qtr. Robin 4/4, 10 pts. Amare MIA

2nd Qtr

  • Bobcats come out with no asses after Larry Brown chewed them off. Still, they are managing to play much better assless
  • Earl Clark getting fancy! Kid has handle
  • Earl is going to need to develop his range though
  • Bobcats pressure Goran hard so he uses a screen and blows right by someone and gets the rim. That will loosen up the D
  • Earl still being too aggressive offensively. Trying to do too much on his own. Hope he realizes some day that this isn't the Warriors
  • Amare with a quick 3rd foul...he's sucking it up
  • Goran shoots right over the top of DJ Augustin like he wasn't even there. Drains the three. Of course
  • S-Jax iso's on Clark and take him to school. That how Capn Jax roll
  • Wow. JRich passed up an open three and then was pissed at himself but the Suns worked the ball into Robin who drew three defenders and calmly waiting for them to bite on his pump fake and drew a foul....little things are impressive from Robin
  • Bobcats pressed hard but the Suns (Goran and Clark) did a good job busting it
  • I guess Larry Brown had a great pre-game quote. I see him talking on the TV next to me w/ the graphic "quote of the day" but I missed it...darn
  • Nash had a nice long rest. Time for him to give Goran a blow
  • Raymond Felton getting a bit feisty about Frye shoving him in the back. Frye said something to him as well to set him off a bit more
  • Jarron Cillins is in the game and the game is not a blow out!!!
  • When the announcers say "Ronald Murray" I get confused. Why can't they call him Flip like the rest of the world
  • Nash 0-7 and Suns still shooting over 50%. He does have 6 assists. I am starting to think that when he passes people the ball he some how blesses it so it is more likely to go in. That would explain his high assist totals
  • Diaw playing well. I do miss him. I really really do
  • Nash hit Collins right in the numbers. Too bad it was the numbers on the back of his jersey
  • Frye and Lopez as the starting 4/5? Not bad. Not great but not bad
  • Dudley impacting the game with his D and hustle. Good to see that. It's been awhile
  • Suns up 54-48 with Nash and Amare combining for 2 point (2 FTs for Nash)

3rd Qtr

  • Wonder if Amare is going to show up
  • Amare scores two curling off a pick from Nash off pass from Robin. Bizarro world
  • Nash hits his first shot. A wide open pull up three
  • Robin just exterminated Narz weak ass hook shot
  • Robin went to the bank! And found that it had been closed due to a lack of capital reserves
  • Amare doesn't play defense. Is this news to anyone not named Amare?
  • Or Mrs Amare?
  • Or Amare Jr?
  • Nash hits a couple of more three's just to prove that he's still alive
  • That's one way to play better defense. Suns get T'd up for having 6 men on the court...oh, maybe they only had 4. That's not going to help
  • Suns back in a zone. Shocking, I know. Lets see how long this lasts/works
  • Seems to be working and by working I mean the Bobcats are getting wide open looks....and missing them
  • That 's really the best way to describe the Suns defensive game plan. Bait you into taking wide open shots and hope you miss
  • Goran had Diaw iso'd and Amare wouldn't clear out and let him attack. Instead Goran delivered the ball to Amare who's man gambled on the steal, missed and Amare dunked. Still, I want to see Amare get out of the way on that one and let Dragic go to work
  • There you Amare, attack Boris who's overplaying your left hand, drive right and finish
  • Solid quarter of basketball. Nothing fancy. Just playing ball. 83-77. Nash and Amare stepped it up a bit - 19 of Suns 29 points

4th Qtr

  • Amare drops another pass....he's not all with it
  • S-Jax holding the ball for 10 seconds sizing up Dudley then letting a Jump shot fly over his arms. Beautiful offense
  • Suns got slaughtered on the O glass 17 to 5 and 22 to 11 in second chance points. 42-28 in points in the paint. All those numbers were thru 3 qtrs
  • Suns offense stagnant but at least they are not giving up points. Holding on to 1 pt lead
  • Diaw on Lopez. I would like to see the Suns to at that a few times
  • Lou and Dudley score twice and Suns hold and grab board to extend lead to 5
  • Bobcats return that favor. Suns back to 87-86.
  • Good defensive stretch here from both teams. 13 total points in 7 minutes. Suns out rebound Bob's 8-3 during the 4th so far. Lou and Robin doing the work
  • Nash and Amare back in. Suns back in zone. Bobs get easy layup
  • Nash goes from seeing a double team to getting a wide open three. Guessing that wasn't part of the Charlotte plan
  • Robin picks up a foul. Only his 3rd of the game. He's played well but Gentry yanks him for Frye. Not sure why b/c Amare and Frye are getting killed on the glass
  • Frye hits a three. That could be why. Maybe
  • Gerald Wallace fouls out w/ 3 min to go. That's good
  • Nash back to missing at the rim and from three. Dead legs
  • Jump ball? What!
  • Jump don't lie
  • Nash hits a three! Dead legs? ha! (ignore 5/15 shooting please)
  • And JRich with a chance to really help his team, misses a wide open three. grrrr. Suns up 96-95 with 1:45 to go
  • Nash gets stripped but Suns somehow manage to get the stop and rebound and by somehow I mean luck
  • Nash so pissed that he didn't get a foul call that he hits an FU floater
  • Wow that was a BIG stop right there. Suns still up 98-95 with 26 sec. Bob's ball. Need another one
  • and S-Jax says, I will take and make that three. But plenty of time left. Lou was on him btw. He was back peddling and gave him too much air space which Gentry promptly let him know
  • Tie game. 20 sec. Suns ball
  • Dudley can't the ball in. TO.
  • Nash goes right but Amare is there when Steve spins back. Results in contested shot from Dudley. Excellent D from Charlotte. OT time. 1st of the year

OT

  • Felton gets right up into Nash and is giving him trouble all game long
  • Amare picks up his 5th foul on a moving screen. Suns give up first four points in OT
  • Dudley hits a three but Suns give the bucket right back
  • No Gerald Wallace and the Suns are still getting killed in OT. Down 107-101
  • Bobcats have gone small for most of the end of this game but the Suns didn't take advantage by going into the post and of course they couldn't get stops
  • Turnovers. Second chance points. In ability to execute. No defense. All that adds up to sucking
  • The air went out of the building and the team after blowing the lead in regulation
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