I'm trying to figure out if I should be mad and feel discouraged about tonight's game. If you think about it, this was the second game of a back to back on the road and The Suns ran the floor last night like in the "good old days" for a quality win.
In a perfect world, the Suns should have won this game. They should have tried to get some momentum before going to Cleveland to face a very good team, feel good about themselves, perhaps move up in the standings, make their fans forget about trades and moron meters. But, the world is not perfect and as the Suns tried to play like in the "good old days", instead... they just looked old.
On to the Game Notes
1st Half Action
The 1st quarter started with both teams running up and down the floor. Amar'e and J-sun Richardson started working early, having their way against Sixer's defenders. But the Sixers never backed down, showing signs that they were not going to be outran by a team who is way older than them. By the end of the quarter the Sixers were shooting 48% from the field and up by 5. The Suns were the ones who couldn't keep up the pace, and Porter had to adjust his strategy.
During the second quarter Terry tried to slow down the game and give some rest to some tired legs. He went to Shaq on the post several times but the move backfired since Shaq was also tired, he missed badly on consecutive possessions -including a wide open dunk- and didn't get back in time to defend the paint.
The story of the first half was M. Speights. He shot 8-10 and had 16 points in just 12 minutes. He took advantage of the defense hitting jumpers and getting into the lane for easy lay ups and dunks. With his outburst the Sixers were able to build a comfortable lead going into the second half.
2nd Half Slowness
Problems with transition defense carried over (and got worse) to the second half. It seemed like everyone was just dragging their feet. No energy whatsoever. Once again Shaq looked like he was glued to the floor while Hill got further into foul trouble. Nash continued to miss jumpers and the young guns weren't unable to provide the spark needed.
Porter went to his bench in the fourth, they made a little bit of a run to cut the lead by eleven but weren't unable to get us close enough to get the starters in again.
Here are a few thoughts
This is the type of game were your bench has to step up. It was a good opportunity for guys like LB, Amar'e, Barnes, Goran to show their team (or other teams) that they can count on them when the "veterans" are tired. Please note that I mentioned Amar'e although he's a starter. If he ever wants to be considered NBA elite a la Lebron or Kobe, he needs to take over games like these. He needs to be the go to guy, the beast that no on can stop and that can bring back his team from a +10 deficit. It's clear that he's not that type of player yet.
It's hard to blame Porter about this game. He decided to use last night's formula, to run and get opportunities on the open floor. Once he realized it was not working, he went to Shaq. Again that didn't work and tried to get energy from his bench. I guess he did all he could to try to get a win but nothing worked.
I still don't know how to feel about this game, I think it's a sign that I shouldn't give it that much thought... maybe you guys will help me figure that out.