Dallas Mavericks 115, Phoenix Suns 90 -- Losing season


Aaron Brooks and the Suns lost Sunday for the ninth time in their last 12 games. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Suns’ season ended exactly two weeks ago at home against Dallas.

Or at least that’s when the team mailed in the rest of its schedule.

14 days later, it seems only fitting Phoenix would be dismantled by the playoff bound Mavericks in the Lone Star State.

The Suns were flat in all aspects Sunday afternoon, losing 115-90 to Dallas and clinching a losing season.

Phoenix came out of the gate with no purpose, falling behind from the beginning.

At the end of the first quarter, Dallas led 36-17.

The second 12 minutes was much of the same. The Suns showcased their lack of will and played poorly on both ends of the court.

By the time halftime mercifully gave Phoenix a break, the Mavericks were up 65-39. The 26-point deficit was the most the team has trailed by at the half all season.

The Suns began the third period on a 9-2 run and held Dallas to 15 points in the quarter while scoring 21 themselves.

In the fourth, the Mavericks heated up again to put away any chance of a late comeback.

Phoenix finished the game 2-of-20 from three-point land after the team missed its first 16 attempts.

Aaron Brooks hit the first one in the fourth quarter and Vince Carter added another late.

No Suns starter hit a three. The five went a combined 0-for-11.

According to The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro, Suns coach Alvin Gentry answered just one postgame question, said thanks and left.

Apparently Gentry is as fed up with the season as his team is. Phoenix didn’t show up Sunday. The team looked disinterested on the court and no one played cohesively.

There’s not exactly much motivation to play hard at this point, but getting embarrassed is about pride.

Pride for the franchise, pride for the fans and pride for the players themselves.

The loss sealed Dallas’ first season sweep of the Suns since 1986-87. But it’s been that kind of year in Phoenix. Not many highs and countless new lows.

Just two games remain now between the Suns and a long summer.

Steve Nash, who missed three of the last five games, scored six points and dished nine assists.

“We lacked energy and passion. We got what we deserve,” Nash told Suns.com. “We’ve been out of it for a little while. I think a part of it is that when you’re out of it, there’s a letdown. Even your shooting, you’re turned off mentally just a touch and you miss shots you normally make. It’s hard when you’re not playing for anything to try to make it count.”

Josh Childress played a team-high 29 minutes Sunday, scoring eight points.

Marcin Gortat, as usual, continued to play hard, leading the team with 15 points and nine rebounds. His defense wasn’t great and his play on the boards was lacking as well, but considering what was going on around him, Gortat performed admirably (the same can’t be said for the majority of his teammates).

The Polish Hammer must be getting sick of being a silver lining amid a team full of guys just praying for the season to end.

Phoenix wraps up its year this week at home against the Timberwolves and Spurs.

  • Lisa from Taos

    Tyler, this is totally unrelated to this story, but is it possible for the moderators on this site to reinstate the content filters for posts? My boys read it on a daily basis and the recent increase in profanity and other immature name-calling has got me concerned.

    Thank you! :o)

  • joe

    I agree with Lisa.

    Also, $arver is the worst owner of all time and Vince Carter is better than MJ. Now that those two issues are taken care of, can we talk basketball? What pathetic efforts against the mavs this year. I really hate losing to any Texas team.

  • sun also rises

    I agree with Lisa too. I don’t mind a dust up every now and then but I can do without Tony/Larry/Moe/Shemp/etc. classing the place up with his f-bombs and so on.

    But on the topic of tonight’s game: the only silver lining in a loss to a Texas team is that the Mavericks are now tied with the Lakers in playoff position again. I want to see Los Angeles get stuck facing OKC or Denver in the worst way possible, so that’s at least a little bit of a plus.

  • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

    Yeah, the comments from the Chicago recap in particular got pretty out of hand. Our policy in general is not to moderate because it leads you down a slippery slope of what to moderate and what to keep, but I will be sure to put in an expletive deleted with the profanity and do a better job of stopping some of the name calling that has ensued recently. I just went back and moderated a few of the particularly vulgar comments that don’t belong on a site like this. Luckily most of the issues have surrounded Vince Carter, so the best piece of moderation is the fact that he won’t be around much longer.

    But please everyone, let’s keep it classy and not resort to schoolyard name calling over the most minute of disagreements and let’s not feed the trolls.

  • Geoff

    It really has been a depressing season this year as a Suns fan. But, just like you said, when the team cashes it in like this, it make us feel bad as the fans. It’s embarrassing to see your favorite team just drop a game like this. We all know that they aren’t THAT bad, if they would just show up and play the game like they are capable of, the Suns would be back in the playoffs. But, that looks like it will have to wait until next year. Cheers to the 1.3% chance at that first pick, whoever that will be.

  • Lisa from Taos

    Michael, thank you so much. It means a lot that we have editors such as yourself that care about the readers of this blog, and it’s quality. :oD

  • Tony

    Well folks, it’s official…., the Suns stink. During last night’s game, Leander had the nerve to state that the current Suns starting lineup will be the likely starting lineup for next season as well. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic also recently wrote an article echoing the same thing. I cannot believe Sarver is such a miserable owner that he wouldn’t at least bring in a starting 2-guard or starting power forward. The team can get away with having one new starting addition and make it to the playoffs, but if not even one, then this team will compete with the T-wolves for worst record in the west.

  • Tony

    Sun rises,

    just because you are the proverbial absolute homer fan, doesn’t make your opinions viable in the least regarding the team. You can complain all you want about true fans of the Suns that actually hold both the front office and players accountable and not give endless excuses, but that does not give you the right to imply we are not true fans of the team. We are, and that’s why when we witness the atrocious decisions led by Sarver, we speak out and let our voice be heard.

  • sun also rises

    Uh-oh, he’s off his pills and posting over and over again… again. I’m guessing that the “we” you’re talking about is you and your imaginary alter-egos since pretty much everybody else on this board thinks that you’re a bad joke… with good cause.

    Of course now “Larry” will ride in and set things right. LOLOL.

  • Steve

    I assessed the “bad moves” in another string, but you should check it out if you think the front office has blown things this past year. I don’t think they’ve done as well as possible, but I actually think that the “blowing it” is taken way out of proportion. To call him the worst owner in the NBA is just ignorant. Say he’s not top half, then we could have a debate. As it is, though, it’s obvious you have no interest in being reasonable and logical.

  • sun also rises

    Steve, this guy is allergic to reason… notice how he avoids any response that challenges his whole Charlie Sheen gimmick (Like finding a single instance where I’ve ever defended Sarver by name) and only enters the convo with the purpose of insulting somebody.

    When he tries to be logical, he can’t maintain and melts down like he did here. You and Rich deserve props for taking his silly ass seriously, but I wouldn’t expect anything like a rational discussion with him or his fake multiple personalities.

  • Tony

    Sun,

    you really are funny lol. It’s just a shame I cannot have a reasonable discussion with you, as you constantly resort to personal attacks.

    When I used “we,” I was referring to the majority of Suns fans on almost every Suns blog site I have visited. In fact, this site is the only one I have seen where I am seem to be in the minority of views.

    Now Steve,

    other than Donald Sterling possibly, name me a worse owner in the NBA than Robert Sarver? You also must take into consideration that Phoenix is still a very desirable city to play basketball in and many players enjoy playing here. So it’s unfair to compare franchises such as Utah and Minnesota, where attracting top talent is quite difficult.
    With all that being said, this off-season of disasterous personnel moves by Sarver was not the first. Look to the past, where he refused to resign Joe Johnson and Marion, where he contantly sold draft picks, including this season, and where he traded players for nothing other than to dump salary. In fact, in case you’ve forgotten, the Suns didn’t have a 1st round pick this season because of the Kurt Thomas trade several years ago.
    Read Simmons article from ESPN where he stated, “you can always depend on Sarver to do the wrong thing.” I am not alone in this view.

    So, Steve, Rich, and Sun, my suggestion is for you three to review Sarver’s decisions over the years. Don’t forget to include his low-balling his own front office staff and forcing Kerr out because of it. Don’t forget to include his forcing how Colangelo’s son as well due to the very same reason.

  • Steve

    Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion are two of the biggest leaches in the NBA today. Good no-signs by Sarver.

    Selling draft picks is unforgivable in my book, you’re right about that. That’s my biggest gripe with him.

    He didn’t trade players just to dump salary. A few guys left in FA because they wanted more than they were worth. J-Rich wasn’t working out for us, so we turned him into someone with a brighter future (Gortat).

    I read the Simmons article, and I agree with him on almost everything he says, but he has a skewed view of Sarver, in my opinion. If there is one area of basketball of which I have more knowledge than Simmons, it’s the inner workings of the Suns. I do love Simmons though, funny guy.

    His handling of the front office is also a mistake, in my opinion. Many people in the Suns’ front office have left over the past couple of years, potentially in large part due to Sarver’s antics and not being willing to open up his checkbook for them. I think Sarver deserves a lot of blame for this.

    Kerr was the same guy we wanted to crucify for hiring Terry Porter and bringing in Shaq. He ran us into the ground for two seasons, then struck gold with Dudley and Amundson, and sterling silver with Richardson. Not that bad to let go of a guy who really didn’t prove anything, was going to require a major payday, couldn’t find work anywhere else in the NBA as a GM, and really just wanted to chill in SD for a few years with his kids. Not a bad move on Sarver’s part, imo.

    Colangelo is debatable. I like Colangelo, but what has he done in Toronto? Not a whole lot. And don’t tell me Toronto isn’t desirable and he has nothing to work with. This one is a toss-up. I’m not familiar with what was on the table and what both sides were asking for, but if you look at what Sarver has done since then and what Colangelo has done since then, I think Sarver won easily.

    I addressed every one of those points you brought up in that post, and submitted a reason for why Sarver probably didn’t make the wrong move and probably isn’t the worst owner in the NBA. Rich has already gone through all of his off-season moves from last year, proving Sarver didn’t have much of an option in “blowing up the team.”

    As for worse owners, here’s a list off the top of my head (and location will be considered, but just because someone’s team is in Minnesota doesn’t mean they HAVE to suck. The Cavs, Wolves, Bucks, Jazz, etc. have all been good before, and the Heat, Lakers, Magic, Rockets, etc. have all been bad before. Weather isn’t everything):

    1. Donald Sterling
    2. Michael Gearon (ATL for crippling his franchise financially with two overrated players)
    3. Michael Jordan
    4. Dan Gilbert (not just for losing LeBron, but for everything that has followed as well)
    5. Karen Davidson (for not firing Dumars yet)
    6. Herbert Simon (perennial loser minus the Miller seasons)
    7. Herb Kohl (this one is a toss-up, maybe)
    8. Glen Taylor (for continuing to employ KAAAAAHHHHHN!!!)
    9. Prokhorov (It’s early to pass judgment, but signing Williams is probably going to be something he regrets when Williams bolts for greener pastures this off-season)
    10. Richard DeVos (lucking into Shaq and Howard has helped his image a bit, but he hasn’t surrounded them with the necessary talent for ‘ships, and we all know Shaq was capable of winning them)
    11. Brian Roberts (one of the best sports cities in America, he has this team scraping the bottom of the East barrel most years)
    12. The Maloofs (running a successful franchise into the ground as we speak)
    13. Ted Leonsis (whoever the owner was before, can’t remember his name right now. Both terrible)

    K, I have thrown a bunch of names out there, and there is reason for all. I feel like I was pretty conservative with this list, as well. That means I put Sarver right in the middle of the pack, and I think there is good reason to believe that.

  • Bruce

    We need a winning season! If not for the joy of victory but at least to cease all this useless bickering. I’d rather watch Around the Horn and that ain’t saying much…

  • Steve

    Haha, can’t believe I left Dolan off the list. He’s a prime example of an awful owner.

  • sun also rises

    Tony/Larry, your “views” consist of deciding that anybody who cheers for the team is against your psycho anti-Sarver obsession, and posting crap like this:

    “What another fantastically played game by the Phenix Cavaliers, oops my mistake, the Phoenix Suns. To all the Sarver defenders out there, especially Sun rises and Rich, time to eat some crow. Bender had the nerve to actually claim that the starting lineup the Suns are using now, with Nash, Dudley, Hill, Frye, and Gortat is likely the starting lineup for next season. I give him credit though for trying to sell that to Suns fans without laughing.”

    Doggy, you can’t even keep your head straight enough to decide whether you feel like insulting the team or claiming that you support them, let alone have a “reasonable discussion”. Never mind the fake accounts (Though it’s funny that “Larry” disappeared after you got caught double dipping), you can’t even keep the crap you post on this name consistent.

  • Sean

    In hindsight, the Suns should have signed Joe Johnson to the 5 year, $50M deal on the table before the 2004-05 breakout season. Trouble was, no one knew quite yet what gold the Suns had struck. So I can’t totally blame Sarver for that; hindsight is 20/20 on this one.

    Marion was making about $17M/year when he was traded. He was very good in the Suns’ system, but the guy was complaining about credit and wanted another big payday. He eventually signed with Dallas for 5 years, about $7M a year. If the Suns could have gotten Marion for that, it’s a no-brainer: do it. But Marion wouldn’t have come within a country mile of that contract when he was with the Suns. It took a year of reality in Miami/Toronto for him to see his market value.

    Amare: time may prove me wrong, but I think the Suns made the right call here. $20M a year for 5 years is a big obligation for those knees/eyeballs. Remember, Amare only played 3.5 of the 5 years on his previous Suns deal. Was it worth it? Probably so. But it also wasn’t $20/yr, which might look even worse next year if a new CBA is ever hammered out and the salary cap goes down.

    The front office stuff has been disappointing. When Colangelo left I didn’t like that, but as someone said above, what has he done since leaving Phoenix? Kerr was up and down, ultimately way up in 2010 because they had the chemistry of a college team.

    Hedo was a mistake they parlayed into Gortat. J-Rich wouldn’t have been a good re-sign after this year for what he would have commanded ($13-15M/yr?) because Nash would have been on his way out.

    Selling draft picks has been Sarver’s biggest mistake.

    I’d give him a C- or D+ for the past 7 years. But boycotting the team doesn’t do a whole lot of good.

    Next year, I’d like to see a lineup of:

    PG – ???
    SG – Dudley
    SF – Childress/Pietrus
    PF – Frye
    C – Gortat

    It’s time to trade Nash and (probably) Hill. Those 2 guys have been incredible here, and true examples of what professional athletes should be. If the Suns can trade Nash to a contender, they should do it. I’d love to see Josh Smith from the Hawks (to add some athleticism) but that ship might have sailed this past year.

  • Tony

    Steve,

    Alright, I’m willing to concede the points you made. As bad as things are, at least the team isn’t so down in the dumps that we have to locate it to an overcrowded market like the Maloofs are trying to do.

    It’s just that this season has been a tough one to watch, especially for someone who just wants the best for Grant and Steve. Sarver has, as John Hollinger put it in a recent article, “done (them) dirty” with his decisions. No fan wants to see that happen to their franchise, and the frustration gets the better of me, sometimes.

  • Sean

    And when I say “no one knew quite yet what gold the Suns had struck” in regards to JJ, I mean that team hadn’t come together yet. I don’t mean that JJ is pure gold. He’d be a bargain at $10M/yr for the past 5 years, but an albatross at $20M/yr for the next 6. And I think time has shown that JJ is a great 2nd or 3rd option on a top team, but a so-so #1.

  • Steve

    And Tony, I can see what you’re saying. I don’t think Sarver is a great owner. I think if we had a great owner, Phoenix could be a city winning championships. As it is, I think we’ll make the playoffs most years, but ultimately be left with a team that will entertain, but not contend for the title. In my book, that actually makes Sarver pretty bad, because the only thing I care about is winning championships. But there are definitely worse onwers out there.

    You proved me wrong. You actually did want to have a reasonable conversation, and I appreciate that. Kudos.

  • Phil

    Interesting discussion. I think Sarver is a bad owner (not the worst) but I think calling him cheap, as Simmons does, is wide of the mark. Signing Banks, Diaw’s extension, taking on Shaq’s contract – these moves aren’t cheap, just mistakes. The Spurs pay roll is consistently lower and they have 4 titles.

    I also agreed with not resigning Amare, he is a health risk, but also not good enough for a max contract. His combined 17 rebounds in the 4 Laker losses last year said it all for me. But splurginga big chunk of the Amare cash on Hedo was a horrible move, and Lon Babby has (even allowing for Gortat) been horrible so far.