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Phoenix Suns Practice Report: BASKETBALL!!!!

Coach Gentry talking to the beasts. (Photo by Max Simbron)
Coach Gentry talking to the beasts. (Photo by Max Simbron)

Guess what else happened at Suns practice today? There was shooting. Dribbling. Some talking even.

And at some point, there was a dispute about a dunk I didn't see, but there was a lot of loud banter and Jarron Collins went into the little room adjacent to the practice court and returned with a long stick that is obviously used to determine if the rim is exactly 10 feet off the floor. It appeared to be so. Peace was restored. If it were only that easy to solve the world's problems.

Here's another interesting question. How many media people can gather around Coach while he is talking with his back against a wall?

I don't know the exact answer, but it is more than 20.

Robin Lopez Update:

No real update today. Coach Gentry said he is still making progress it would be a long shot that he would play in Game 2 but they would, "see what would happen before we take off for San Antonio."

Encouraging. As was Robin's visible mood, which was sunny. Whereas yesterday he gingerly walked up the stairs and out the door he broke in December, today he walked up those stairs with a much livelier gait.

Steve Nash Update:

Nash said he was excited that he had no set backs after playing in Game 1 and he's hopeful he can play the series with no problems.

I've listened through all the other post practice discussions today for anything that might be of interest and honestly, it's a lot of what you might imagine.


We need to play with desperation in Game 2 and match them. We played well but can play better. Tim and those guys are great players, you are not going to stop them every time. Steve was aggressive early. Steve said he just took what the defense gave him. The Suns are a great offensive team -- the focus is on defense right now. These guys (Spurs) are seasoned vets and will come back strong in Game 2.

This one from Amare kind of stood out though. He was asked if he expected more small-ball from the Spurs. "Not necessarily. I don't think they're going to play too much small ball, but they can, but I don't see it."

See, here I don't agree with Amare. I mean he might understand that the Spurs can't afford to play that much small ball without the Suns taking advantage, but Popovich doesn't seem to have any other choice. Especially if the Suns have a lead.


Both teams will review film and find things they can do better. You try and play better individually and as a group. Give thought to everything, not sure yet if Tony will start. Problem was transition defense. Can't give Suns 27 points in transition. A lot of teams play small to try and get better scoring or more speed on the court. A lot of teams have employed that. No excuses. Everybody's fine. They ran faster than we did.

Asked about Richard Jefferson's play Popovich responded, "Transition D really hurt us."



Breaking down the plays:

Taking a quick look at the Synergy Sports data you can see how balanced the Suns were in their attack.


Suns plays break-down


Spurs plays break-down


You will note that Phoenix was able to run a lot of effective plays and were much more efficient and prolific in the post.

The Spurs on the other hand ended up with 28% (29) of their plays coming on Spot-ups which was a factor of the Suns defense closing off the pick and roll and forcing the Spurs main guys into passing to a secondary option.

The Suns also were VERY effective against Tim Duncan in the post. They had only 9 post up attempts and converted on just 17% of them. The Suns who posted up Grant Hill, Jason Richardson and Amare had 7 most attempts in the post and converted 39%. Both teams missed some shots they can make but the Suns defense also was very effective against Duncan and the Spurs have no other post players.

While the focus will be on transition opportunities, I am going to keep my eye on these post-ups as the series goes on.

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