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When not having Amare hurts the most (OR: Bulls loss exposes biggest offensive weakness)

 

Losing Amare hurts the Suns offensively. Yet, the level of "hurt" being inflicted varies from situation to situation.

Indeed, the question isn't "if" losing Amare weakens the offense. Nor is it "how" it weakens the offense. The question is "when," exactly, do we miss him most?

The answer? In big, capital letters: CRUNCH TIME.

Suns fans weep for a true big man, someone to clean the glass. They beg Gentry to get his rotations in order. But at the end of the day (err, 4th quarter), Phoenix lacks a go-to play. Since Nash joined the Suns, his pick-and-roll with Amare became as devastating a finisher as a Kobe fade-away. Without it, we're witnessing a mixed bag of isolation plays from so-so individual scorers.

Nash takes his turn. Hedo takes his turn. Grant takes his turn.

In order: Too small, too inconsistent, and too one-dimensional (mid-range J's or bust).

What happens next? J-Rich is hardly explosive off the dribble, and nothing greater than decent in the post. Frye is dependent on Nash.

In other words, our starting 5 is devoid of potential closers. The bench offers Hakim, but he isn't good enough to close out games. Don't get me wrong, his pick-and-roll game is Amare-esque, but how's that old saying go? If you're something-esque, you ain't that something. If the outcome of a tight game hinges on Warrick's shoulders, we're in trouble.

In the Bulls game, everything I'm saying was on display. We ran shaky offense the entire 4th quarter and overtime; iso after iso after iso.

I'd like to offer a solution to go with all this arm-chair coaching, but I don't see one. I actually feel Dragic might be our best option, because he's explosive going to the rim and has shown a nifty pull-up from every distance. But that proposition is dicey at best, and the mere suggestion of it exposes our lack of options.

How do you all feel about this?

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