What I’d say to the Suns after their 111-107 loss to the Thunder on Thursday night – a game that Phoenix had well in hand until the fourth quarter.
Vince, Vince, Vince, Vince, Vince. Mr Vega – I mean, Carter.
I don’t even know what to say, Vince. I want to be mad, I really do. Going 1 for 7 in the fourth? Pulling up for a 30-footer? Really, Vince? Really? But that would be more reflex than response. You put up 33 – without you, there’s every chance you guys wouldn’t have been in position to win the game, anyway.
And the more that I think about this, the more I can’t really blame anyone. Alvin Gentry, every part of me wanted to find fault with you as I watched the game unfold for continuously designing plays for Vince. He was hot, though, and I really hesitate to second guess someone who sees this player day in, day out, and sits on the bench with them during the game. If you thought getting the ball to Mr. Carter was the right thing to do, I can accept that. After all, it’s not like he forced Kobe-esque shots that were more difficult than they should be. You said it best,
“I like the shots that we got, we got good shots. We got Vince three wide-open looks that we liked, and we just couldn’t get them in. I thought it was pretty good at the end of the game, we just didn’t make the shots. For us we’ve just got to jump up and make the shots.”
Marcin, my man, this was not one of your better games – at first glance. You only had 10 points on the night, and you were on the court for most of the fourth quarter, when the game got out of hand and the Thunder out-rebounded you guys 17-8. I even speculated before the game that this might happen tonight, so it didn’t surprise me. My reluctance to criticize you is more than lowered expectations (and a fear of a sledgehammer to the skull), though – you, personally, brought it in the fourth quarter. You had half of the Suns’ total rebounds in that period, you put up 6 points, and you even added an assist and a steal. Before that, even, you were on the floor at the end of the third when you opened up a five point lead. And, of course, you did this:
Winning this game would have been wonderful, but you’re still only 1.5 games out of the 8th seed. We can tolerate a loss to one of the better teams in the league – it’s the losses to the Charlottes and the Philadelphias and the Detroits of the league that need to stop. After all, if we can get to the playoffs, we’re in really good shape. Our top six is playing really, really well.* When rotations shorten in the postseason, we’ll be ready – but we have to get there first, and there’s not much margin for error. Someone needs to step up and fill that power forward void without disrupting the rotation and without too long of a feeling-out period. You don’t have the benefit of a few games to find your way.
*Except for you, Mr. Frye. Step your game up or we’re sending KG to your home.
Best of luck, gentlemen. I hope you can put together a nice run of games, silence some of the speculation regarding Steve (unless, of course, you do really want to leave, Mr. Nash – and if you do, please tell us as soon as possible), and spoil someone’s playoff dreams.
And if not? There’s always the draft lottery. Doesn’t that sound like fun?