So if I told you that the Suns outshot the Lakers 46.8%-41.8% (including outshooting them 33.3%-29.2% from 3) and that the Suns only committed 21 fouls for the game (compared to 24 committed by the Lakers), those would seem like pretty good things, right? And they are. Those are solid numbers for the Suns.
BUT. There are some very unsolid numbers from this game. Some examples for the Suns:
- Turnovers? Suns 15, Lakers 9.
- Assists? Suns 19, Lakers 28.
- Free-Throw Shooting? Suns 69%, Lakers 87%
- Lakers ORR? 33.9% (!) Suns ORR? 24% (.)
Alright, alright. I know the numbers don’t mean everything. So let’s ask some questions about this game:
- How in the hell did Channing Frye lead the Suns in rebounds in this game?
- Why did Robin Lopez play only 8 minutes all game?
- Why did Jarron Collins get Lopez’ ninth minute?
- Why was Jarron Collins even dressed for this game?
- Why is Jarron Collins on the Suns’ roster?
- Why is the Suns’ bench completely stymied by playing in LA? (Seriously, the Suns bench went 9-23 for 31 points. That’s nasty. Their only redemption was Frye’s 10 boards…and I have no idea how that happened.)
So all the talk on the Twitter and elsewhere on the InterWebs is that the Suns “let the Lakers off the hook” in this one, or that the Lakers “stole” this game, or that somehow the Suns “deserved” to win this game. Look, that game bordered on unwatchable for the vast majority of the time. From the time Bennett Salvatore decided that the Lakers should not be alone in being over the foul limit in the first quarter (doing things like ignoring Lamar Odom’s over-the-back/in-the-cylinder play near the close of the quarter) until the fourth quarter, this was a total garbage game.
My real question, though? Why does Gentry insist on brining in the starters to fail where the bench has succeeded. This is the kind of crap that every NBA coach does, it seems…they bring in the high-energy second unit. The second unit brings the team back into the game. The starters are brought back into the game to fail. I know that’s not exactly how it worked out in this game, but cripes. The bench got it done…and the starters didn’t. The bench deserved to finish that game.
And now, I will completely contradict myself. The one bench player who should not have been on the floor that last series? Channing Frye. Channing does one thing really well: offense. Channing does two things less well: defense and rebounding (this game notwithstanding). Where was Lopez or Amundson to focus exclusively on pulling down a potential rebound? I’m sorry if you felt like shit, Alvin, but that doesn’t excuse that kind of crap. The Suns spent most of the game looking like a pile of puke. They made their way back into it, and then decided to just give away the last possession. The Lakers didn’t steal anything. They won a game they should have won. The Suns better figure out how to take things up eight or ten notches if they have any designs on making the Finals.