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March 30, 2007

Comments

basketbawful

You just knew I'd chime in on this one, didn't you?

I've seen 6 of the 7 Suns games following their win against Dallas, and I can tell you this for certain: they're going through the motions.

I think, as a team, they pretty much knew they weren't going to catch Dallas in the race for the league's best record, so they wanted to prove to themselves they could beat the Mavs *in* Dallas. Once they did that, it's like they lost all sense of urgency.

Take last night's game, for instance. I've watched a played enough basketball to know the Suns were dogging it last night. Not consciously, because they were trying (sort of) on the offensive end. But even though they aren't a great defensive team, they aren't *that* bad (letting Stephen Jackson shoot 11 for 17?!).

I think a big part of the problem is that the Suns primary players just play too many damn minutes. As a Suns fan, I cringe every time I open up the newspaper to review the box scores. Every other team in the league will play 9, 10, sometimes even 11 or 12 players in a given game. The Suns always have the same 7 players, at least 3 or 4 of which are playing 40 minutes a night.

If Mike D'Antoni has a weakness as a coach (and he has a few of them), his worst is the absolute lack of faith he has in his bench. Take Pat Burke. The guy's not bad. If D'Antoni consistently played him 10-12 minutes a game, not only would he produce, but he'd take some of the burden off of the Suns top-tier players.

I'm telling you right now, the Suns are going to lose in the playoffs because of fatigue. You wait. I promise you that they will lose 4th quarter leads in most of the games they lose, because they're going to get tired and their jumpers will stop falling.

Daniel

I think the Suns have been coasting because they assumed they were locked in at two -- they know they can't catch Dallas for the top seed and until the last couple days it didn't look like the Spurs could catch them for the two seed. Their crappy play has put even that in jeopardy.

If you're an elite team with legitimate expectations for a title, you're not going to jockey around so you can face the #6 seed instead of a #7. I can understand lower-seeded teams tanking games to get the most favorable matchup possible -- if I were Golden State, I'd much rather face Dallas as a #8 seed than Phoenix or San Antonio at a slightly higher spot. If you're a championship team, you can beat anybody, anywhere, anytime. If the Suns have this sort of jockeying mentality, which I don't think they do, but if that is indeed the case, they're toast. I don't think Avery Johnson is losing any sleep over facing the Warriors in the first round, and that's the difference between Phoenix and Dallas.

Also, D'Antoni's weakness isn't as a coach but in his role as GM. He's the guy who gave Banks their entire midlevel. I wouldn't trust that bench either, but it's D'Antoni the GM's fault that D'Antoni the coach has to ride his core so hard.

John R.

They did it last year. That no-Nash-no-Bell loss that was the first time the Lakers beat the Suns in the post-Shaq era? Designed to get the Lakers in the first round by keeping them above Sacramento. The Suns see the Lakers as marks, and they are right. And they are even better this year than last. Maybe they will beat them 6-1 this year instead of only 5-2.

"Of course the Lakers as a whole can't match up with the Suns, but I'm guessing nobody wants to see Kobe in these playoffs."

People keep saying this. He couldn't do crap against Detroit in the Finals and with all the officiating help in the world he couldn't get them past the Amare-less Suns last year before quitting in game 7. Noone is afraid of these Lakers.

Schism

Wow, that's a great picture isn't it? I remember watching the game and thinking that Nash might have drawn a charge or something. But it turns out the man just got posterized emphatically.

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