Alvin Gentry: Game 2 Was Amare's Best Defensive Performance Ever

Dragic and Barbosa are still re-learning how to play together. (Photo by Max Simbron)

The Phoenix Suns shot 52%, only had 7 turnovers and they pushed the pace and got easy transition baskets, but do you think that's what they were most pleased with?

No.

"I was happiest with our defense. I thought we did a real good job with that. Kudos to Grant. I know there's not another 37 year old guy in the league that can guard Andre Miller that way. Grant did a great job but I thought it was the overall defense that we had, the team defense that we had. Our bigs did a good job stepping out."

Offered Alvin Gentry.

And let's hear what that 37 year old had to say for himself, in between pulls on his oxygen mask and while holding on to his walker:

"After Game 1 we watched taped, we watched defense. As bad as our offense was, we still scored 100 points. We made so many mistakes and had so many break downs on the defensive end that I think collectively our focus was, 'Let's have better energy and let's do a better job on that side of the ball' and we did and things rolled for us on offense as well."

And what about Mr. Max Contract? We said in the Game 2 preview that this was his crucible, that he needed to rise to the occasion. Did he?

Yes, he did and don't be fooled by his "mere" 18 points. Don't forget he only played 30 minutes and who knows what kind of havoc he might have wreaked in the 4th, if needed. But beyond his scoring, it was the other things that were impressive to his mates.

"Amare has improved (his post passing) and he can continue to improve. When he realizes his options passing the ball, that's the ultimate evolution for him when he does become unplayable."

Steve Nash knows a thing or two about passing and he seems to think that Amare's three assists are just the tip of the iceberg.

You can almost picture Nash standing behind the arc watching Amare get double- or triple-teamed and seeing in his head the exact pass Amare should make, but of course, Amare isn't Nash so he rarely sees the same things in his head.

And finally, Coach Gentry on Amare's defense

"I told Amare, I thought it was his best game as far as weak side defense since I've been here. I thought he did a great job rotating over and getting back to his guy."

For all those Jarron Collins haters who think that a guy who's bounced around the league for the last few years without being able to find any playing time and spent this entire season with the Austin Toros is suddenly more qualified to start than Jarron Collins just because he looks decent in a handful of garbage time minutes?

Well, Gentry might just be agreeing with you. I asked Coach if he was happy with what he was getting from Jarron. Note how much time in his answer he talks about Collins.

"Sure. The minutes we play him and everything and I thought that second unit went in and played well. I was happy with Dwayne Jones. I thought he showed a little bit of rebounding and toughness and things like that. That other group, Lou and those guys did a fantastic job."

Does that mean Jones is going to start Game 3 in Jarron's place? Doubt it. It is not the time to experiment and Jarron does what he does without getting in the way.

Do you really want to start messing with Steve and Amare by throwing a new guy out on the floor in a playoff game?

The boys were in a raucous mood after practice. Dan Majerle (the biggest kid of the bunch) grabbed on to Suns PR man DC Headly and started wrestling around with him. Poor DC never had a chance.

Next thing you know, Dragic was tangled up in a play fight with Suns VP David Griffin. Poor Griff didn't stand a chance. Then a few minutes later, I looked over and Lou had Goran in a head lock.

Plenty of boy energy floating around.

To end practice, LB, Goran and Taylor Griffin started doing an old soccer thing of keeping the ball off the ground using feet, knees and head. You would think that Taylor - the Oklahoma kid - would have been totally out of his element. Nope, he has some mad footy skilz. Gentry even gave him crap about it.

Overall, a relaxed and goofy group of Suns players today, as you might expect.

Oh, except Robin. We was on the court taking some mid range Js, some hooks in the lane, a few little layup type things and I think I saw him dunk, but I didn't get a clear view. Needless to say, it is great to see him on the court at all. A positive sign.

Robin, of course, still looks like he's ready to tear the head off a small animal and drink its blood. That guy is all anger, wrapped in frustration and boiled in grumpiness. Oh well, that's Robin. He was happiest this season when he was playing so let's hope we get to see him back on the court at some point before another door (or reporter) needs to be replaced.

But seriously, just as a human kind of thing, you hate to see anyone that angry so often. I hope he finds some kind of peace at some point. All that anger can pull you to the dark side. Right, Anakin?

 

Goran Dragic

  • Talked about Rudy Fernandez (see here)
  • After two playoff games, Goran said he wasn't very aggressive early and didn't feel "right" but was more aggressive in his second stint
  • Still getting used to playing with LB? It's different style of game with him injured. I take more shots and make plays but now LB has ball and play pick and roll and I stay in corner. I don't see problem, we just need to find a rhythm and adjust to him and him to me. I think it's going to be fine, we just need a little more time

Audio: Goran Dragic practice 042110

Grant Hill

  • Feel better than we did after Game 1. Obviously some good things we did. We anticipate they will make adjustments and come out with a better performance
  • Good to get that win and see that we can play our style
  • Our mindset as a team was to play defense and have energy
  • If we play well and play hard and unselfish and stick to our principles defensively we'll do well
  • Although we played poorly in Game 1 we looked at stats and where we rank and we were reminded that we are a good defensive team

Audio: Hill practice 042110

 

Steve Nash

  • We played a lot better obviously in Game 2. We were more aggressive. We were passive in Game 1
  • It's that simple. Obviously, Grant's performance and defense on Andre but we just played harder
  • "I felt like I didn't change anything but we got in transition a little more. We got more stops. We got a few more turnovers. It may have presented itself differently but I didn't change my approach."

Audio: Nash practice 042110

Alvin Gentry

  • We basically played the way we've been playing the last two months, really
  • We forced the issue a little offensively and got some easy baskets
  • We had to set the tone. They did a good job in the first game setting the tone early and we didn't recover
  • We just tried to make it so he (Miller) was going against two guys. Our weak side defense was great. If he had to give the ball up then they were just going to have someone else make the play
  • They came and got a split and now somewhere we have to win a game in Portland
  • We got to play the same way we did in Game 2
  • "It's the same teams. It's a different building but it's the same two teams that are playing."
  • It's going to be a battle of wills. In the first game, they did it and in the second game, we did it.
  • It will be loud but it's not a decibel meter game. It's the players on the floor that have to decide it.
  • We're a good team and we know we're a good team
  • It's important for us to maintain spacing and when JRich isn't guarding Miller it frees him up offensively
  • It's important for us to get a good start, period. Doesn't matter where you play
  • I was most pleased with the defense. That was the thing that the most bothersome from game 1. They got too many layups and our guys did a good job correcting that
  • Batum injury? It means nothing to them. They will just plug someone else in there and they will play their butts off
  • The way we defended in the second game was more about who we are than the first game. Our bigs and guards did a better job not letting them get straight line drives to the basket
  • We changed how we covered the high screen and roll. We were going to allow Camby or even LaMarcus to beat us with jump shots but we weren't going to let them drive to the rim
  • We doubled in the post more. Our defense has been really good
  • When we don't turn it over, you guys know...

Gentry practice 042110

 

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