A 4-game losing streak thanks in part to injuries to Steve Nash and Channing Frye in the key moment of the season put the Suns back at .500 (33-33) and 3 games behind Memphis and the Playoffs in the Western Conference. Not exactly what we needed.
What went wrong during those 4 games: rebounding, outside shooting and the absence of Steve Nash. And I’m not even mentioning defense here…
Vs Denver, 97-116. No Frye, Nash played only 10 minutes in the second half and Suns shot 5-of-22 from 3-point range and got out-rebounded 51-42. Carter 2-for-11. “We didn’t shrink the floor. We didn’t play physically with them, and we made stupid turnovers” Gortat (14 points and 18 rebounds in the losing effort) said after the loss. Nuggets PG Lawson scored 20 and added 11 assists.
Vs Orlando, 88-111. No Frye, No Nash and a total Magic domination. Howard 26-15 in 3 quarters of work “My job is to dominate on both ends of the court” were is word of wisdom…Orlando out-rebounded Phoenix 57-40 and the Suns shot 4-of-15 from outside the arch.
At Houston, 93-95. No Frye, No Nash and a little heart-breaker. Phoenix shot 5-of-15 from 3-point and was out-rebounded 45-40. A solid team effort (decent games by Hill, Gortat, Childress and Carter) wasted in the loss to a contender for the 8th place in the Conference. “It’s too bad we didn’t play the first half with a sense of urgency” Vince Carter said as the Suns were down 50-42 at halftime.
At New Orleans, 95-100. No Frye, ½ Nash and PG Chris Paul “having a ball” (26 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds), “He dominated the game” said an excellent Dudley (25 points, 8 boards). Suns shot 14-of-34 from 3-point (34 attempts!).
Now I think 3-point shooting and rebounding could be explain those losses at least 3 of the 4 games. Orlando dominated that game and stats are more or less irrelevant.
On the boards the Suns are grabbing 42.2 rebounds on winning nights and 38 in losing ones but 3-point shooting is probably the key to the Suns success: in losses Suns are shooting a low .342 in wins a very good .421. During the current 4-game losing streaks the Suns shot a combined 28-of-86 (.326) on 3’s.
Is this the end of our hopes to make the Playoffs? I think so, but with a few easier games coming up to end the month of March (Clippers and Warriors) the Suns could temporarily get back into contention, at least until we consider the awfully tough month of April coming up next…8 games, a 5-game/8-day road trip against San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans and Chicago.
Mock Draft anyone?
Luca, the Steve Fan