The title is not a typo.
Everyone lauds the Suns' offense while deriding their defense. Given their performances over the last half-decade, that's understandable.
But take a look during that same span at the Suns' offense when the game comes down to the wire. You'll find, to your surprise, the Suns struggling as much, sometimes more, to score a basket as stopping one.
A closer look at the Suns' personnel (and coaching calls) reveals why this seemingly bizarre Jekyll/Hyde twist happens.
1) Steve Nash, for all his shooting and passing prowess, is one of the worst candidates for guaranteeing at least free throws when the game is on the line. He needs an open jumper or teammate to make something happen in that scenario. He's not strong enough to force the issue inside or even to clear up his own shot.
For a guy who handles the ball that much, that really limits your crunch time cajones.
2) For whatever reason, the Suns' coaching staff (whether it be D'Antoni, Porter, or Gentry) forgets what got them their points over the first 45 minutes of the game. Think about it -- how often do you see the pick-and-roll run when the game is tight in the final minutes?
Game 4 was a perfect example of this offensive stupidity -- instead of feeding Stoudemire, who had finally figured out the Blazers' defense, Nash dribbled out the clock...and that was when he didn't turn it over beforehand.
3) I've mentioned killer instinct (or lack thereof) with this team before. Watch the Suns during crunch time -- not a single one has the guts to take over at the end of the game (Channing Frye's amazingly imbecilic three-pointers notwithstanding).
Look, the Suns are great when they blow teams out. But put them in a tight game, and any and every Suns fan will have a sick feeling in the pit of their gut. He/she knows Phoenix will probably succumb to the pressure.
People have been wondering why Amare Stoudemire has never stepped up as the prototype "franchise player." Well, maybe because he's never been treated like the franchise player. That happens in crunch time. Do you see the ball go to him when it matters? You're lying if you say yes.
Instead, Nash will dribble it out and/or jack up a three, Grant Hill will make a half-hearted drive and pull up from 16 feet, or someone else will end up with a bad shot with the clock running out.
That's not crunch time basketball. What's more disturbing is that it's bad offense -- from the Phoenix Suns.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Suns had better find their offense...for the last three minutes, anyway.