The Phoenix Suns’ second home game of the season brought back memories from last season. Plenty of them to be exact. Following a tightly contested first quarter, Los Angeles blew the doors off outscoring Phoenix 44-24. At halftime, the Lakers led 76-54.
Need I go further?
Sure, well, I have to anyways so let’s try to parse through the positives and negatives of this blowout loss.
Thumbs Down: Usually I would start it off with the biggest thumbs up, but this game showed how embarrassing of an effort it actually was for the Suns. Honestly, it was probably the worst quarter of basketball I’ve seen on that side compared to last year’s tanking fest. No communication. No rim protection. No closing out on shooters. It was simply terrible fundamental basketball on that end, an area that’s been rearing it’s ugly head since Saturday’s loss in Denver. Until head coach Igor Kokoskov makes changes to his rotation, this is going to continuously be a trend.
Thumbs Down: The first time I’ve ever started this off with two negatives, but this game deserved it. It’s actually Igor Kokoskov himself. Some of the rotations he was making were confusing me alongside others on media row.
Why not play Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton together outside of the first few minutes in the first quarter? Why not play Mikal Bridges in the first half in a blowout when both of the forwards ahead of him are playing subpar? Is Richaun Holmes really this bad that Tyson Chandler is going to be playing 15-20 minutes every game?
It definitely confused me, and looking forward to seeing what changes Kokoskov makes to these lineups. It’s painfully obvious that Ryan Anderson is playing too much already, while Bridges can’t even see the floor.
Kokoskov probably didn’t want to implement these types of changes so early, but it has to be done for the greater good of this roster’s development.
Thumbs Up: Trying to hunt for an opposite takeaway, Deandre Ayton had some good moments. Most of the time, Ayton would finish inside when fed, but some moments he was switched onto LeBron James defensively and held his own. Also, Ayton had a few blocks in the third quarter from some overaggressive drives, but it’s a moot point in this one-sided contest. That’s a good sign long term, but from Wednesday’s action, it was a highlight in a game filled with lowlights. Ayton finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks on 11-14 shooting.
Thumbs Down: The Suns racked up 19 turnovers, and it’s been a consistent problem outside of their home opener. And it won’t go away, until the Suns finally make a trade to address it. Isaiah Canaan isn’t the answer, neither is Jamal Crawford. Something has to be done soon if the Suns truly want to be a competitive team in the Western Conference gauntlet. Hopefully, it’s not a panic trade from majority owner Robert Sarver, but we of course can’t rule that idea out.
Thumbs Up: Devin Booker was a plus once more on the offensive end, finishing with 23 points, 7 rebounds, ad 7 assists on 50% shooting (8-16 FGA). He seems to be rounding into form balancing taking more three-pointers and drives to the basket to draw contact. Both of those areas need to see rises, and Booker is doing it so far. On Wednesday, Booker had six three-pointers attempted and seven total free throws.
Booker’s been even worse on the defensive end than last season, but the offensive growth is taking place right in front of our eyes.
As you could tell, not much positives to take away from this blowout loss. The Suns’ third straight, and with Booker leaving with a hamstring injury, the losing could continue for a little while longer.