This week began on a low point with the Phoenix Suns losing their 7th game in a row against the Orlando Magic. But just when things were looking their bleakest, the Suns turned it all around with their most impressive win of the season agianst one of the top teams in the conference on Wednesday, the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Suns were able to win that game by relying more on the defensive side of the ball than we've seen in the past...Holding the Grizzlies to just 80 points and tying their lowest points scored so far this season. Surely this was a fluke, right? Well if it was, the Suns fluked twice as they back-doored that performance with another impressive defensive victory against the Jazz whom they beat by 15 points and held to just 84 points...tying their 2nd lowest points scored so far this season as well.
So who do we have to thank for this remarkable turnaround?
1. Jared Dudley
Weekly Average: 17 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in 41 minutes of play; +14
Since being moved to the starting small forward position, Jared Dudley has re-emerged as the "Junk Yard Dog" that earned him a reputation as one of the scrappiest players in the league, and made him a fan favorite. Dudley carried the weight of the team on his shoulders this week with his inspired play and energy on both ends of the court, JD was the biggest difference maker for the Suns in the last two wins, hands down.
2. Goran Dragic
Weekly Average: 14.5 points, 6.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals in 34 minutes of play; +10
Dragic didn't play against the Magic last Sunday due to an illness he had been fighting for several days prior. Many had questioned what was wrong with Goran who simply wasn't playing like himself. Well, at least we know there was a reason. Once Dragic came back healthy he showed the same aggressive, fast-paced play that he had displayed in the beginning of the season, and helped lead the Suns team to both of their victories this week.
3. Marcin Gortat
Weekly Average: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 blocks in 33 minutes of play; +5
Gortat had been in a slump over the past few weeks. While we still aren't quite sure what the cause of it was, it appears that the Polish Machine picked himself up by the boot straps and got back to work this week...Getting a little better with each game. Marcin seems to be the type of player who is easily affected by the circumstances surrounding him, and a couple of bad plays can easily snowball into a couple of bad games. But Gortat got back to form this week when the Suns needed him most, playing excellent defense and securing rebounds to help the Suns get these much needed wins.
4. P.J. Tucker
Weekly Average: 5 points, 5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes of play; +1.5
Tucker's stats certainly don't seem very impressive upon first glance...and he also missed the Magic Game last Sunday along with Dragic. However, Tucker's defense was huge for the Suns in both of their wins. His game is full of intangibles that simply don't show up on the stat sheet...but his impact couldn't be more apparent.
5. Jermaine O'Neal
Weekly Average: 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 Blocks in 15 minutes of play; +5
O'Neal found a way to make a positive impact once again this week. Jermaine has become a very consistent player for the Suns off the bench. He gives the Suns additional size in the post and almost always plays excellent defense. This week was no exception, and the Suns probably wouldn't have been able to win these past two games without him.
6, Markieff Morris
Weekly Average: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in 26 minutes of play; +8
Markieff had a pretty solid week overall. He has bounced around--both in and out of the starting line-up as head coach Alvin Gentry continues to look for the right fit. However, he has taken each change in stride and continued to play through it. Morris provided the Suns with efficient play on both ends of the court this week and helped the team.
7. Shannon Brown
Weekly Average: 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 37 minutes of play; +3
Brown actually didn't have a great week, despite his misleading stats. Although he averaged 13 points per game, he shot only 13-40 from the field at 32%, and took his fair share of bad shots in the process. He is not a very good defender, and is also at fault for a lot of the stagnation that happens on offense when there is too much dribbling and not enough passing. However, Brown can also be an explosive game changer for the Suns when he is in his groove, and he did help give life to the struggling Suns offense at times...so he wasn't all bad.
8, Sebastian Telfair
Weekly Average: 5 points, 4 assists, and 1 steal in 21 minutes of play; +4
Bassy had an average week all things considered. He got his first start of the season against the Magic when Dragic was sick, and although he only scored 6 points on 1-7 shooting from the field, he did have 8 assists to help make up for it. However, Telfair is just a better player off the bench in limited minutes. He provides defense and energy to the second unit and he certainly did his part this week.
9. Michael Beasley
Weekly Average: 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 block in 15 minutes of play; -5
Beasley was still a negative for the Suns this week, but he did seem to play slightly better as a power forward off the bench than he did at the three. Beasley was still a liability on defense, but he did make some nice plays to help set up his teammates at times and also gave the Suns some quality minutes in the first quarter against the Jazz. Beasley didn't have a good week by any means, but I did notice small improvements overall.
10. Luis Scola
Weekly Average: 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 14 minutes of play; -9
Scola just didn't play well this week at all. He shot only 8-23 from the field for 35% and simply wasn't able to contribute much in the way of rebounding or defense either. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road for Scola, as he is usually a much better player than we saw this week.
So there you have it...Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below!