Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers (8-28) at Phoenix Suns (14-20)


Phoenix Suns 108, Cleveland Cavaliers 100

Cavaliers

Suns

PHOENIX — If there’s one game the Phoenix Suns can use to right their sinking ship, it’s tonight’s matchup with the NBA bottom-feeder Cleveland Cavaliers.

But then again, that’s what we thought about the Clippers game, the Sixers game, and the Kings game.

At this point it really doesn’t matter who the Suns play, as they have no identity offensively or defensively and it’s showed to the tune of a 21.2 winning percentage over their last 14 games (3-11). They’ve used 11 different starting lineups in 34 games and as Steve Nash said, the Suns are “on that slippery slope where you can get in a dark hole.”

Phoenix needs to climb its way out of that hole before all hopes of playing into late-April go out the window only a third of the way through the season.

“The NBA is not one of those games where you can go, ‘We’re not feeling good about ourselves so can we take a week off?,’” said head coach Alvin Gentry after the Knicks loss. “One day from today and we’ll have to line it up and we’ll have to try to get out and do a hell of a lot better than we did tonight. That’s the bottom line.”

Even though the Cavs are mired in a nine-game losing streak while sitting at the bottom of the NBA standings (8-28), the Suns haven’t been much better lately.

The defense and rebounding problems were clear in December as well, with the Suns surrendering the same porous number of points and the same high field goal percentage throughout the month, while ranking 27th in rebound percentage. It’s the offensive woes that are new to the Suns.

They’re averaging 93.0 points per game over their last four, and they have scored under 100 points in all of them, which hasn’t happened since December of 2005. There is no flow in the Suns’ offense and it’s resulting in contested jump shots. Against the Knicks, 46 of their 82 shots came outside of 16 feet, according to Hoopdata.com.

When you’re only knocking down 15 of those deep jumpers, it’s going to be a long night. The Suns need to find a lineup that works, stick with it and get some sort of rhythm offensively, while improving on the boards and defensively.

So basically, the Suns need to play drastically better in every aspect of the game, while playing with more intensity and fight than they’ve showed over their last nine games (2-7).

“I think of lot of it is just that spirit,” said Grant Hill. “We’re getting a little defeated and a little deflated. That’s where we are. How do we get out of that? Maybe it’s getting a win.”

Luckily for the Suns, the NBA’s worst team is in town to offer some relief. The Cavs are allowing 108.5 points per game over their last six games, and will be without Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao due to injury.

Antawn Jamison is posting 25.0 points per game over his last five, but the Cavs have won only won three games on the road this season and have few options outside of Jamison. Phoenix needs a win move than ever to start chopping away at that “black hole” they’ve dug for themselves.

  • Mel.

    … I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

  • Mike

    I thought dismantling last seasons team was a bad idea. Notwithstanding this, the trade with Orlando wasn’t bad. Both the Lakers and Kings games could have gone either way. They need to get over feeling “deflated” and suck it up and play with a sense of urgency. And even if they don’t make the play offs, they can still show the semblance of a team by knocking other teams down the totem pole. But it’s not over yet. Come on Suns!

  • Maynard

    Polish Machine will destroy today Cavs!

  • Andy

    C’mon Marcin, show them how to play the proper basketball!

  • Kalvo

    There’s no way in hell they can lose this game tonight

  • Mel.

    “The Suns got Orlando’s scrubs, although Gortat might develop into a solid center,”

    Garbage. Vince and Pietrus have more than earned their keep since arriving here, and are better-positioned to make a consistent rotation than most of our established guys. Even if Carter doesn’t stay, his production trumps the hell out of what Hedo was bringing to the table.

    And the rest of this post is typical brat-blathering. The Suns have been so good for so long that the notion of going through the same cyclical downturn as practically every other team in the NBA somehow seems unfair to the so-called “diehards.” We like to pretend that we’re in a bubble of elite denial, wherein teams like the Knicks (Whose woes prior to this season makes our current roster look Finals-ready), 76ers (Who lived and died by a single superstar for decades, before collapsing into mediocrity) and the Kings (Once a superpower, now a running joke) don’t exist, and aren’t exemplary of the tides of the league at large.

    Fact of the matter is, it happens. Get over it, and–more importantly–get over yourselves. “Boycotting Sarver” isn’t going to somehow result in a benevolent god or fiscal tooth fairy taking pity on our “woes” and endowing the franchise with an owner who can magically bring top-tier talent to the city; we had years of prime-time players who could have clinched a championship. That’s more than most teams ever come CLOSE to.

    Can’t accept it, find a new team to root for. This pity party’s more tiresome than any turmoil that the Suns are going through at the moment.

  • tedidog

    Mel=$arver

  • JZ

    Varejao OUT!!!…If Suns lose then they might as well kick the season goodbye.

  • sun also rises

    I think if Mel were $arver then our season would be in better shape. At least we would know he’s reading the blog and the suggestions people make in here.

  • Mel.

    It’s true. Now, if you’ll excuse me; I need to go swim in my Money Bin–a’la Scrooge McDuck–while ignoring calls from D-12, Carmelo, Dirk, and all those superstars who we know are just BEGGING to come save the franchise, were it not for my evil nature and shallow pockets.

    Also: hi, mirza.

  • Auggie5000

    @ mel boycotting the home games isn’t dancing for rain or sacrificing goats. It’s speaking with our wallets. Of course it’s not magic, it’s starving the businessman of what he is in it for: money.

    Deny him money and he will go away.