Chicago Bulls 118, Phoenix Suns 97 — Defensive indifference

Posted by on January 18th, 12:34 am

Marcin Gortat could not have been pleased with the Suns' defensive effort. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Marcin Gortat could not have been pleased with the Suns' defensive effort. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Phoenix Suns shot better than 50 percent, stayed close on the boards and received a superstar offensive performance from Steve Nash yet the Chicago Bulls still found a way to wallop them even with their All-Star point guard in street clothes.

The Suns managed to score 30 more points than the Bulls were allowing on their home floor, yet the defense broke down in their 118-97 loss, Phoenix’s fifth consecutive defeat.

Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls throttled the Suns’ defense to the tune of a 126.9 efficiency and that’s counting a fourth quarter of garbage time. For the season previously with Rose missing just two games the Bulls scored 101.8 per 100.

During their five-game losing streak, the Suns’ defense has suddenly reverted to old form, yielding offensive ratings of 120.9, 111.2, 108.6 and 104.1 before this horrific 126.9. By comparison, Orlando’s league-leading offense entered the day with an efficiency of 107.1.

The Phoenix defense’s stay in the top 10 was all too short, as it entered the day ranked tied for 21st before continuing to free fall Tuesday night in the United Center.

“The big difference was we just didn’t slow them down,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “We are not the Phoenix Suns of old. We need to slow down and guard them more closely. We just need to play closer to players like Boozer. We just can’t go out and say on their jump shots ‘make them and beat us.’ We need to defend better, we need to be more physical especially on our rebounding. We also need to communicate better on our defensive rotations.”

Carlos Boozer was the main perpetrator on this night as he got hot from the perimeter and torched the Suns for a season-high 31 points on 14-for-21 shooting, including 26 in the first half alone. C.J. Watson was superb in relief of Rose by contributing 23 on 8-of-12 shooting and all the Chicago starters scored in double digits.

On the bright side the Suns’ offense was actually quite good as well in the early going, scoring 31 points in the first quarter alone, which is about half of what the Bulls had been given up during home games all game … yet they still found themselves trailing by eight due to the porous defensive effort.

Their offense slowed a bit in the second quarter but the Bulls kept right on clicking and the Suns were buried from there.

“We just played catch up all night,” said Gentry, whose team still managed to score 23 more points than any other United Center visitor despite 19 turnovers. “That is really tough to do against a good team like this. They just had control of the game from halftime on.”

Nash played about as good an offensive game as a point guard can, exploding for 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting while dishing nine assists in 30 minutes of play before sitting out the fourth. However, he did turn the ball over five times and somehow left with a team-worst -26.

Aside from Nash, the Suns received superlative performances from their centers, and that’s about it. Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez split the center spot’s 48 minutes and produced 30 points and 21 rebounds, including all but 17 of Phoenix’s total rebounds (no other player grabbed more than four), with Gortat going for 14 and 15 and Lopez 16 and six on 6-for-7 shooting in 17 active minutes.

Nash and Gortat playing excellent ball without getting much help has become the story of the losing streak, but Lopez scored more than five points for the first time since the season’s opening week in his best game of the season since the opener.

Ronnie Price fed him an early layup, and from there his activity level was off the charts. During one fourth quarter sequence he blocked a Taj Gibson shot and then ran down to nail an open jumper of his own as the trail guy, and another time he darted through the lane to tip in a teammate’s miss as he so seldom did last season. Lopez was a true difference maker during both of his stints on the floor tonight.

Usually a Suns loss in Chicago would be chalked up to nothing other than the Bulls’ elite status, but a confluence of circumstances seemed to give Phoenix a chance.

Most importantly, the Bulls ran without the reigning MVP of the league, and they were playing on consecutive days after getting routed by Memphis the day before without Rose while the Suns enjoyed a day off in Chicago. Yet the Bulls played like the well-rested team.

“For a team missing their best player and a team that played yesterday they sure came out with a lot of energy,” Grant Hill said. “They played harder than us. They played like the team in the Eastern Conference with the best record. We didn’t come out with that same intensity level. If you’re not going to play that hard, you’re going to get embarrassed like we did tonight.”

If Elston Turner cannot fix what’s ailed the Suns’ defense during their now five-game losing streak, there could be many more embarrassing nights ahead of them.

And 1

  • Steve Nash earned votes in a wide variety of categories in the annual NBA GM survey that came out today. He was voted the player with the best basketball IQ and also ranked second for best passer behind Chris Paul and for best international player behind Dirk Nowitzki (although the German won in a landslide). He ranked third for does the most with the least (Jared Dudley also got votes) and tied for third for best leader. Nash and Hill tied for fourth for active player that will make the best head coach as well. Markieff Morris was the only other Sun to receive a vote, ranking fifth for Rookie of the Year.
  • Former Sun Zabian Dowdell failed his medical tests and thus his contract to play for Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes Istanbul has been voided, according to Sportando. This is just another piece of misfortune for Dowdell, the Suns’ former backup point guard, who has experienced more than his share of tough luck in his professional basketball career.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Chicago Bulls · Defense · Marcin Gortat · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap · Robin Lopez · Steve Nash

59 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tony // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:16 am

    This should not surprise anyone that the Suns were blown-out against the Bulls. This team has two legitimate starters followed by role players.

    There’s a saying in basketball that a team at home wins because of its bench and a team on the road wins because of its stars. The role players, everyone excluding Nash and Gortat, should not be expected to perform well on the road as role players are rarely as good on the road as at home. Yet, because of the front office, the Suns are dependent on these role players to produce or they lose.

    At what point is Nash going to be finally fed up with this team? He was unusually blunt tonight when he said the Suns don’t have much offensive talent. So I’m wondering if even he is sick of this losing by now?

  • 2 Mel. // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:26 am

    I wouldn’t blame him if he was, honestly. There’s a huge difference between feeling like you’re going down with both fists flailing and a puncher’s chance in terms of your contributions… and the hapless sensation that comes with being repeatedly donkey-socked in the back of the skull.

    If Nash isn’t shifting from the former to the latter after tonight’s game, then he sure as hell’s going to be feeling the hangover by the time the team gets back home. It’s incredible what a reversal of fortune can do to the complexion of even the most loyal superstar; nobody wants to see Steve go, but at this point, it feels more like a potential mercy-killing than a matter of smart basketball business.

    I do wonder what the over/under on him sucking it up and playing out the rest of the season is, though. As awful as this situation has become, I have a hard time framing Two-Time as being the kind of player who sits down, lays out his cards, and asks for a trade flat-out, prior to doing all he can–or, more appropriately, THINKS he can–for the boys in the locker room.

    Stranger things, though. And hell if anybody would blame the guy, right now.

  • 3 BoomShakaLuka // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:38 am

    This is what years of mismanagement gets you. Fans should be chanting “Sarver Sucks” “Sell the Suns” or “Free Steve Nash” at all home games the remainder of the season.

  • 4 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:44 am

    All of this is old news and I’m treating it as such.

    There is only one direction left to take post Steve Nash, whenever that happens.

    Build around Gortat, draft and hope you get another stud, and hope you’re attractive enough to lure some stars.

  • 5 Custard // Jan 18, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Why oh why is Grant Hill still starting??? get Warrick on for him and while your at it get Channing off too.

    The 2 of them are so out of form it is killing the team. Would much rather see markieff start in Channing place and Warrick start for some offensive punch that Grant just cant handle.

    Grant was great last year but seems to be struggling and looking more like his age everyday.

    Gentry needs to grow a pair and play Grant off the bench I bet his production would go up 10 fold!

  • 6 Custard // Jan 18, 2012 at 6:05 am

    oh yeh! F#$KING trade Nash!!! he deserves more respect, we dont want to see another john Stockon bow out without a ring!
    Send him to the Knicks or any contender
    For FVCK SAKE!

  • 7 A-Game // Jan 18, 2012 at 7:35 am

    @ – Custard… I cant agree with u more! Just release the guy!!!! Period!

    Not a surprise loss to me at all. This team’s inconsistencies and lack of star power hinders their success night in and night out.

    I said in a precious post they may go 1 – 4 on this road trip at best. I might have been to kind, as they could potentially go 0 – 5.

    Time for the FO to look towards the future. Lottery time baby!!

  • 8 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

    @BoomShakaLuka – Nash is going to have to request a trade for this FO to consider getting rid of him. It’s not like we’re keeping him against his will, so what would “Free Steve Nash” really accomplish? And in case you missed the 101 post thread, an owner doesn’t build the team or play on the court. If you think new ownership is going to change anything, I don’t think you know a thing about how a franchise operates (seems to be a common theme among Suns fans. Not all of them, of course, but definitely among the most vocal ones).

    @Custard – You’re right on about Grant and Channing. But, if you wanted to send Nash to a contender, why would you send him to the Knicks? Just because they have two big names doesn’t mean they’re any good (especially when those two big names are probably the two most overrated stars (NOT superstars) in this league). The Knicks are 6-7. CONTENDERS are teams like LAL, OKC, SA, DAL, ORL, ATL, MIA, CHI, IND, and maybe even POR, DEN, and UTA. You could have mentioned nearly half the league, but you chose the lowly Knicks.

    @A-Game – Again, it’s not like Nash is being held against his will. I agree that we should trade Nash (I have been saying this for years now), but Nash hasn’t indicated that he wants to be traded. He isn’t a prisoner.

    @Rich – I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Gortat. I don’t know how much of a chance he has at this point in his career to put on a little more meat and increase his vertical a few inches, but with a bit more strength and athleticism, we could be calling him the best big man in the West (until Dwight Howard gets here.

  • 9 Grover // Jan 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My favorite line in the article – Nash leaving “somehow” with a team worst -26…

    Don’t get me wrong… I love Nash, and I’m sure the only GMs in the league who wouldn’t prefer Nash to their current starting PG are in Chicago, LA (clippers), and New Jersey. Nash isn’t without warts, however, and his presence on the court places a tremendous burden on his four teammates to cover for his defensive deficiencies. Last night was a particularly bad night for him. He was lazy fighting through picks, slow to rotate, and generally looked like a bad YMCA player who cares about nothing but offense.

    It’s a difficult position for Gentry, to have to call out your best player, who also happens to be revered by the city and is a free agent at the end of the year. He’s got to do it, however. You can’t let any player take the night off on defense like that.

    Playing devils advocate to my own argument, Nash is so important to the Suns offense that their only choice is to force the other four players to play superhuman defense to cover for Nash and save Nash’s energy for the offensive side of the ball. This has been their strategy since Nash arrived and has worked pretty well. In my opinion, last night was too far. Nash has to do better than that.

  • 10 Tedidog // Jan 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

    If $arv didn’t build this mess in conjunction with his incompetent FO, pray tell who did??? Let us not forget that $arv was effectively the GM after he ran Kerr off and before Blank(s) was hired.

  • 11 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @Tedidog… when a grand total of two moves were made regarding player personnel (if that). I already mentioned that I believe Warrick and Childress were picked up in that time. One of those moves has worked out decently well (Warrick) and the other has been a complete and total failure (Childress). You going to tell me that a couple of moves that ended up being 50/50 is the reason the Suns are 4-9?

    I can’t even take you seriously. Having a rational conversation about Sarver with his haters is like trying to have a rational conversation about Tebow with either side of Tebowmania. Haters gonna hate.

    If you ever want to be rational about this, I’m open to that. Just let me know.

  • 12 Tedidog // Jan 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I did not say that the only period of time to be considered was the period of $arv as GM. It is convenient for you to focus on only a small part of the entire time frame (aka setting up a straw man). I am obviously talking about the compendium of moves over time including that period.

    Believe me, rational Suns fans- lots of them; just look at the comments on AZ Republic’s site from last nite’s gamechat or today’s article- believe as I do $arv & Co. have really got this team in a horrible mess. It’s obviously perfectly fine if you don’t but that certainly doesn’t make those of us who do irrational.

  • 13 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

    “Let us not forget that $arv was effectively the GM after he ran Kerr off and before Blank(s) was hired.”

    Your words, not mine. If you want me to interpret whatever is going on inside your head that you aren’t saying, I can try, but otherwise, it’s pretty pointless to accuse me of a straw man when I simply referred to your own words. My argument is that an owner doesn’t really care too much to meddle with day to day operations, so blaming him for those things is a little pointless. If that is my standing argument, it could easily be assumed that the reason you mentioned his time as a GM was to refute the notion that Sarver NEVER has anything to do with the day to day stuff. So, I simply addressed that by pointing out that the only time when he was CLEARLY involved with the day to day stuff, he went 1 for 2. That’s not “worst owner of all time” status, if you ask me.

    But, all the rhetoric aside, you need not look any further than this to prove you will never have anything rational to say in this argument. You call him $arv.

    Btw, your appeal to the people is a fallacy called ad populum. Just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t make it a valid argument. 100% of Americans vote for idiots to run our country every 4 years.

  • 14 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:11 am

    there are only 2 things required of an owner…1, the talent to recognize talent..2, strong cash flow….bobby buffoon just isnt that guy

  • 15 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    robert ( silver spoon ) sarver …son of jack sarver (financier,hotelier)…young robert never “worked” a day in his life and has no contact with common people..thats why he says things like im going to bring that agreement home to my wife in a designer bag…in another era he would say let them eat cake..i dont have a problem with this… some one has to over pay aging guards and middling players…pro sports is littered with these types..what i DO have a problem with is that the trust fund buffoon actually thought he too was a tycoon like his father jack…robert invested heavily in phx real estate at the worst time along with top dollar for the suns from the cagey colangelo…real estate bubble bursts///bobby buffoon looks around and realizes he no longer can really afford an nba team but cant sell it because hes under water with it too…so he turns into a vulture capitalist and starts selling off parts of his pro franchise at the severe cost of winning

  • 16 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Also, I’d like to say that I understand the desire to find someone to blame. We’re trained to do that, as Americans (and I bet our international brethren can say the same). When unemployment rises, half the country blames the government for spending too much, half the country blames the government for not spending enough. When a soldier dies in combat, half the country blames greedy politicians who have their hands in the pockets of “Big Oil,” half the country blames the sissies who won’t send an adequate number of troops to fight an obviously necessary war. When Tim Tebow loses a game, half the country blames the defense, half country blames it on his inability to throw a football into an ocean from the deck of a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific.

    We all want someone to blame, and it’s a heck of a lot more convenient to pin everything on one person than it is to blame a conglomerate or even blame your own side. But the fault can hardly ever (if at all) be pinned to one source. I’ve never understood our thirst for blood outside of the fact that we are a fallen, miserable people.

    You can continue your witch hunt, but I’ll continue to be here to exonerate WHATEVER side you decide to blame next. This isn’t about defending Sarver. I don’t care about him as a person or an owner. I’ve already made that abundantly clear. I just can’t stand the blind negativity thrown around by a large portion of fans who like to pretend they know every little detail that has ever gone on with the organization and exactly who to blame for it (as if finding the right person to blame would ever help anyway).

  • 17 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

    ok so we are down 26 points at the end of the 3rd quarter and nash is still out there..gortat stays all the way in for 2 minutes of the 4th quarter…we had an injured and bad new york the next night…maybe the only game we had a shot of winning on this road trip…gentry has to be smarter than me and i know a lot of u are too…would some one please explain whats going on in our coachs head?..even if he wasnt planning on using nash in new york on a back to back…whats he going out there at the end of the 3rd quarter down 26?

  • 18 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

    @ Shazam – Would it be nice if our owner had Prokorov’s money? Sure, but there are plenty of owners with big bucks that still haven’t found ultimate success. Look no further than Allen, the man I would bet is the richest owner in the NBA. We all know Dolan is rolling in cash as well. I know you also mentioned the “talent to recognize talent,” but this is something that we praise the Colangelos for having all the time… the same people who thought that Stephon Marbury was a good idea. The same people who let Steve Nash and Jason Kidd walk. The same people who built a 27-win team and nearly drove their teams into bankruptcy and were OUSTED by whatever board governs them. Jerry Colangelo had a crap ton of bad years as an owner (and made the WCF fewer times than Sarver, might I add), yet he is praised as the god of Phoenix basketball.

    I realize he’s not at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, but he didn’t have the money to operate the Suns the way he wanted, and it sure would seem that at times he didn’t have the “talent to recognize talent” either. Was Jerry Colangelo a terrible owner of epic proportions?

    Call me crazy, but I was always under the impression that coaches, players, and GMs had a lot more to do with the product on the court than an owner. When did this trend happen where it’s popular to blame an owner for the faults of players, coaches, and GMs?

  • 19 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

    steve your central argument has always been that we shouldnt place ALL the blame on anything…and then you ignore it and soldier on when we only place some of the blame…what has been exposed is that you are just a moron with out a life who has nothing better to do..than to make up excuses to berate people on the internet…your opinions arent opinions…your comments are designed to piss people off..now that this is clear i for one will never read anything you write

  • 20 Tedidog // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:50 am

    OK Steve- this shall have to be my last interaction with you but the reason I even bothered to say anything in the first place is because you are in fact the one who posts things on here as if your OPINIONS are the absolute gospel truth like yesterday how Amar’e was never going to stay here period as if you somehow knew this for a fact when you do not. Nor do I or anyone else who posts their OPINIONS here.

    Then when anyone else challenges your depictions of your OPINIONS as fact or disagrees, you resort to characterizing them as irrational, fanatical, radical, garbage-spewing, etc… I had observed this for quite a while as I read this blog regularly but just never bothered with responding.

    Stating one’s OPINION about what they think is the cause of a problem does not constitute a “witch hunt”. I do not have nor have I ever claimed to know every minute detail of the Suns’ operation but I have every right to voice my thoughts as do you. That’s one of the great things about our country.

    And lastly, I’m sorry you think of Americans as “a fallen, miserable people”. That actually makes me sad.

  • 21 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    @shazam – Is this supposed to offend me?

    @Tedidog – I understand that you can be of the opinion that Sarver is a bad owner. I’m of the same opinion. Congratulations, we agree on something that is opinion. I don’t have a problem with that. What I have a problem with that is people inferring that Sarver’s ineptitude is the reason we’re having a bad season. There are SO MANY other factors that brought us here, so what good is refusing to buy tickets or watch the games (which was the resounding them among your peers over on the AZR) really going to do? It’s not as simple as replacing the owner, like a lot of people are arguing or making it seem like they are arguing.

    I don’t think of Americans as fallen and miserable. I think of humans as fallen and miserable. And, to be more accurate, I don’t “think” of us that way, that’s what we are.

  • 22 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    *theme* not them

    And @Tedidog

    Even if you’re not directly proposing a boycott or planning on contributing to one… what other purposes does your babble serve? I know you’re going to say you’re not boycotting… so, ummmmm… what are you doing? You’re discussing nothing of any basketball substance on a basketball blog, and you’re doing a pitiful job of trying to tear down Sarver any farther than he has already fallen in public’s eye. You’re not going to change anyone’s opinion because the nuts are already nuts, and the sane people are still waiting to pass ultimate judgment.

    Btw, Amare left. You tell me who has the better argument on whether Amare wanted to stay or go. Please, really, tell me. You keep on bringing this up as if I’m completely off-based. He met with Suns management ONE TIME, if I remember correctly for a meeting that was extremely brief by negotiation standards, and never spoke to the team again. Nothing short of the words “There was nothing that was going to keep me in Phoenix” coming for Amare’s mouth could really provide more assurance than that. Amare stated countless times leading up to his free agency that he was unhappy with the way our FO dangled him and that he wanted to play under the biggest spotlight in the world (which, by the way, is not in Phoenix, Arizona). Amare also had plans to unite forces with LeBron, which was not going to happen in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Do I really need to go on? You have nothing else to say any more besides trying to tear down my idea of “opinion” versus “fact,” and you’re not getting anywhere. I’d suggest you take your own advice and let that be your last interaction with me.

  • 23 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    The entire argument about Sarver rests on the assumption that a new owner would be better than him. Maybe, maybe not. I would love to hear that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet suddenly developed a huge interest in basketball and wanted to buy the Suns. Odds are that a new owner won’t be be much better than Sarver or have much more cash that he’s willing to throw around. The truth is that most owners view their teams as expensive hobbies. If they actually make money, great. If they don’t, they’re still a great tax write-off.

    That all said, I’d be happy to for Sarver to sell the team who at least might take more of an interest in it being successful even if he doesn’t have more money to put into salaries. A smart, INTERESTED owner could be much better than a dumb one who meddles too much even if he’s willing to throw ridiculous amounts of money into player salaries.

    But it’s really a moot point because even if Sarver sold the team to someone else today, we – the fans – are still stuck with the team we have now. Yeah I read all the talk about trades but you can’t trade any player to another team who either doesn’t want that player or can’t afford to make the trade. For example, someone mentioned trading Nash to the Knicks. The only way the Knicks could afford taking on Nash’s salary via trade would be to trade away Mello, Stat or Chandler… or trade us ALL 12 of their other players just to make the math work. It just isn’t realistic and the same goes for many other teams… if you want to at least trade Steve to a team that at least has a chance to allow him a shot at a championship ring.

    I’d rather see the Suns go 6-60 this season than trade Nash off to Washington, Toronto or Sacramento no matter how much talent we got in return.

  • 24 Grover // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I don’t think anyone is arguing Sarver’s problem is a lack of interest.

    More importantly, however, is all this bitching and moaning about the owner is meaningless. He is who he is… Players and lineups can change, owners rarely do. Wishing for a different owner or pointing fingers at the one we have does nothing but irritate.

    Let’s keep focus on what you wish the suns would do going forward (as surely they monitor this board looking for a good idea!) instead of rehashing past decisions. Water under the bridge.

  • 25 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    @Zak and Grover

    You guys said it much better than me. Good form.

    Here’s to hoping we can beat D’Antoni and Amare tonight!

  • 26 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Just for the record, I wasn’t trying to say that Sarver wasn’t interested in the Suns. I was just trying to make the point that even a frugal owner could field a good team in the NBA if he was smart and interested in doing so. Just throwing more money at the problem doesn’t always solve it. I’ve long said that Sarver isn’t really a bad owner, just that he’s not a really good one either.

  • 27 Scott // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    The problem, as I see it, is just that the Suns are making it hard on themselves. It’s not so much that they lack talent, they’re just not giving themselves a chance.

    I believe this Suns team can compete much better than they’re doing now. However, they need to contest the opposing team’s right to get into their sets, and the starting unit needs to play big inside.

    It’s not rocket science. It’s just Basketball 101.

    It was good to see Gentry FINALLY acknowledge what’s been going on since at least the Dallas game, which to me was played in such an alarming fashion, with no form of callout that I could see from the coach. They played that game slow and with their hands off on defense.

    “The big difference was we just didn’t slow them down,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “We are not the Phoenix Suns of old. We need to slow down and guard them more closely. We just need to play closer to players like Boozer. We just can’t go out and say on their jump shots ‘make them and beat us.’ We need to defend better, we need to be more physical especially on our rebounding.”

    Hey, I’ve been saying that …

    And one more thing, Gentry. It should be obvious by now that for whatever reason the team is unlikely to win by continuing to play small ball. You need to start the game big, with Gortat and Lopez. This team is not the Suns of old, with just one or maybe two talented bigs. They now have multiple talented bigs. Frye and Morris can anchor the bench, and provide scoring punch as well as rebounding and around-the-basket defense. So put Gortat and Lopez in the starting lineup and play BIG.

    Noah and Boozer. Bynum and Gasol. Lopez and Gortat!

  • 28 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I think we have a good chance tonight, Steve. I wish I could be in MSG to see how Morris plays against Amare. The mins that those two play against each other should be very interesting in many ways.

  • 29 BoomShakaLuka // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    @Steve

    I find it hard to believe that a new owner would be as obnoxious as Sarver.

    And you claim that Sarver doesn’t build the team, that’s just an arrogant comment. The reason we suck is because of bad decisions that led to awful transactions. Sarver doesn’t believe in paying superstars what they’re worth, he trades draft picks away, and then runs his front office away. He very much has made an impact in how awful our team is.

    The latest round of acquisitions were out of desperation, and mostly due to those players being clients of Babby (Turkoglu, Warrick, Childress). Sarver badly miscalculated the value of these guys because he knows nothing about basketball. He tried to spin BS about the new CBA and how instead of wasting money on superstars, he’d spend the money on several “moveable” contracts for a piece later down the line. Problem is nobody wants the guys he’s signed, and 15 million of the teams salary cap is tied up in a bunch of stiffs (Frye, Warrick, Childress).

    Sarver is the worst owner in the NBA, and he was handed the keys to a potential dynasty. He proceeded to drive the franchise off a cliff in a mere 7 years.

  • 30 Scott // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    BTW, what better time to go big than against the Knicks?

    Gortat can shut down Amare (in fact, that’s how we first saw Gortat). Lopez should find it easy to shut down Chandler. I don’t know if Hill has any juice, but he used to shut down Carmelo.

    Play big, and who knows, the Suns might even win one. :)

  • 31 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I’m sorry to disagree, Scott but if you put Lopez on either Stat or Chandler they will eat him alive IMO. Lopez just hasn’t been playing well in the last few games. Stat is quicker than Lopez and has a better outside shot. If Lopez lays off him, Stat will beat him with the mid-range jumper or the pass. If you put Lopez on Chandler, well Chandler is just more athletic than Lopez and he’ll at the very least out rebound Lopez 2 to 1 and have a career night blocking any shots Lopez tries to put up inside. Gortat matches up better with Chandler than Stat and – as much as I know I’m going to catch flak for saying this – Frye is a better match up against Amare than either Lopez or Gortat. And as I said previously, I’m looking forward to seeing how Morris matches up against Amare.

  • 32 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    @ boom shak,zak ,grover,tedidog great posts..rational and civil posts wether i agree or not can be learned from…@ steve blah blah blah i dont bother reading your comments anymore..you insisted on mischaracterizing too many people too many times as an excuse to beat that same flawed horse…we are done…..@ scott bwahahahahaha..i fall over laughing now when i see the gortat,lopez comments not because your wrong but because your so damn persistent..if i was going to battle id want you on my team

  • 33 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Actually the point is probably moot, Scott. I doubt that Gentry will even try a Lopez/Gortat starting lineup. I don’t think it would work but who really knows until it’s tried. I like Gentry but he doesn’t impress me as a gambler which is why I don’t think he will try the Lopez/Gortat starting lineup. He may think too much like me which may or may not be a good thing. But what the hell, it’s worth a shot. If it doesn’t work, what have we really lost?

  • 34 Tony // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Steve,

    why do the majority of your arguments contain insulting or disparaging remarks about others you disagree with? Are you so immature that you can’t just have a “rational” discussion as you like to put it? Furthermore, why do you assume your opinions are facts? That’s a clear sign of arrogance. Stop saying Amare was going to leave regardless! Unless you know him personally and have spoken to him, you nor I have any idea about whether he would have stayed with the Suns if Sarver had offered him the 5th year guaranteed. It does not help your argument that he left because I could make the same argument that if given the 5th year guaranteed, then he would have stayed for sure. NY guaranteed him the full maxfor five years, thus that may have been the primary reason he left. Or it could have been that he wanted to play in a major market or something else. Point is, your opinions are speculative and without merit.

    Steve answer me this question: since you brought up politics, who appoints cabinet members to the executive branch? In case you don’t know, the President does. Who is ultimately responsible for how well or how poorly that particular cabinet appointment handles their job? Answer: the President.
    Point is, a major part of Sarver’s failings has been due to the people he’s hired in the front office. As a result of hiring such incompetents, these front office people have made ridiculous decisions.
    Thus, it’s absurd to limit Sarver’s most recent poor decisions to just letting Amare walk and signing Childress, Warrick, and trading for Hedo. And by the way, if you think Warrick was a decent signing, then you have a really poor understanding of basketball. He also screwed up by forcing Kerr and other front office personnel out because he wanted them to take a pay cut. Furthermore, do you ever wonder why he hired Lance Blanks as GM? I mean you do know he never had any experience as a GM, but was just an assistant GM, right? None of the other established GMs were willing to work for Sarver especially at the pay scale he was demanding. Why did he hire Lon Babby, a former agent who also had no experience as President of Operations?

    There’s really no point debating with you Steve, as you think you know something none of us do that makes your OPINIONS more “rational” and grounded. In many ways, you are probably just like Sarver! Who would have thought?? Either way, why don’t you refrain from the disparging and insulting remarks?

  • 35 Tony // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Scott,

    there’s no way Gortat can stop Amare. Gortat has trouble with mobile bigs who have a good mid-range shot, such as Boozer. If Amare is hitting his jumper tonight, I expect him to go for 30. Since the Knicks do have Chandler now, I expect Gentry to use Gortat to guard him and Frye to guard Amare. Wow! Looks like the 6th straight loss coming for the Suns.

  • 36 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    @NBA Jam/He’s on Fire

    I think Sarver is extremely obnoxious. Why else would I have compared him to Jerry Jones. I’m with you on this one.

    How is it “arrogant” to claim that Sarver doesn’t build the team? Arrogant means (roughly) exaggerating your own worth. How am I exaggerating my own worth by claiming Sarver doesn’t build the team brick by brick? If you meant “ignorant” (lacking knowledge), then your statement makes a little more sense, I guess, but you go on to blame Babby in the very next paragraph… Who are you really trying to blame here?

    Also, one last thing, Warrick isn’t playing all that terribly. He’s fantastic on offense, and he’s miserable on defense. His value would be moderately high if he were on a team with strong rebounding and defensive presence. Despite his worthlessness on the defensive end, his PER and WS/48 are still above average. He’s definitely a worthwhile NBA player, he’s just not on the right team.

    Btw, how many Suns fans loved Kerr by the end of his tenure, and how many of those fans would have wanted his head on a silver platter after his Shaq/Porter experiments? I don’t think Babby has it, but I think it’s a little soon to rush to judgment on him.

  • 37 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    If I can’t tell you you’re wrong without you being insulted, just stop talking to me, Tony. That’s all you’re going to hear from me as far as your Sarver talk goes. You’re completely unreasonable in that regard. I actually agree with a lot of other things you say, and I at least respect most of the other stuff you say that I disagree with. As far as Sarver goes, you’re a completely unreasonable jerk.

    If you want to make the argument that we can only be 99.9999999999% sure that Amare was going to leave no matter what, then I guess I could entertain that. But I know you don’t want to have that conversation on an intelligent level. You just want to try to either irk me or save a little face in this whole mess. Either way, facts are facts. Anyone who cared about the Suns and followed them closely knew Amare was leaving before it was “official,” and Amare did, in fact, leave.

    Btw, if your complain against Blanks is that he’s a first-timer, why do you praise Kerr is if he was some fantastic, no-risk GM? He was a first-timer, and his first couple of years were a miserable failure. Your lack of rhyme and reason is continually more apparent every time your fingers hit your keyboard (is that too insulting, or is that just the blunt truth?).

  • 38 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    tony you are the only reason steve has left to live..stop reading his posts and responding to him … let him rant to air

  • 39 Tony // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Steve,

    You have a tendency to argue by trying to demean the other side by calling those opinions “irrational,” which is implying they are radical and therefore completely off-base or we all are ignorant because we don’t agree with you.

    I don’t think hiring Kerr was a smart move at all. In fact, Sarver should have never let Jerry Colangelo go as he was the guy who brought in Marion, Amare, JJ, and recruited Nash. In fact, people give Kerr too much credit because in the end, all he really achieved was undoing his previous mistakes.

    With all that being said, I do enjoy arguing with you. I have to admit, I have never seen such staunch support for Sarver and although you claim not to support him, by giving him any credit, of which none is deserved, you are not taking a moderate view. In fact, I would argue you are taking a radical view of Sarver as from what I’ve seen and heard, the overwhelming majority holds Sarver in contempt.

  • 40 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Thing is, I don’t really rant about anything besides this. When do you see me rant about anything else?

    I just can’t stand it when people assume that Sarver is the sole reason (or even just A reason) and that he must be ousted in order for the Suns to be successful. The constant negativity this view puts out is demeaning to the franchise, in my opinion, and it’s exactly the reason why Phoenicians are seen as nothing more than bandwagon fans.

    We’re willing to boycott or at least pull support from a team that has made 3 WCFs in 7 years and the playoffs 5 times just because we don’t like the suit in charge? Suits are suits. They’re always going to be suits. Most average Joes like us don’t like most suits like Sarver. In order to get where Sarver is, you pretty much have to be a jerk willing to crush people in order to get to the top, otherwise you won’t get there. There aren’t a whole lot of people with more than $100M who are squeaky clean, nice, agreeable people.

    I don’t care that you don’t like Sarver. I definitely don’t like Sarver as a person, and I don’t really care for him as an owner either. HOWEVER, this negative bullcrap does nothing to help anyone. I don’t see anyone here besides the fools piping up to complain about me thrashing them. It’s just that most of the other intelligent people here aren’t quite as blunt as I am.

    By the way, I’m thoroughly impressed with the VotS community. There are a lot of extremely intelligent basketball minds here, and there are enough level-headed, genuine fans to go around. I could do without the crazies, but the good ones are enough to keep me here. It’s one of the only places on the internet I have been able to find sane sports fans.

  • 41 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    “the overwhelming majority holds Sarver in contempt”

    Ad populum again. When are you going to understand that just because one person, two people, or 6 billion people agree with you, it doesn’t make you right? There are millions of people out there who would willingly blow themselves and innocent people up for whatever ridiculous cause they stand for, and I think we’d all agree they’re undeniably WRONG, even though it’s really just a matter of OPINION. Can you undeniably prove ANYTHING beyond the basic principles of existence? The short answer is, “Not really.”

    But the basic tenets of reason would stand to say that there are things we can be “certain” of despite being unable to “prove” them.

    Either way, we’re getting way off topic. You hate Sarver, we all know. Isn’t it just simple enough to keep that to yourself and talk about basketball?

  • 42 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Lol… Steve, I think that the phrase “sane sports fans” is pretty much of an oxymoron. If we weren’t all at least a little bit nuts then we wouldn’t care who won as long as it was a good game.

    I do not live anywhere near Phoenix but I’ve been a Suns fan since the 69/70 season when Connie Hawkins almost pushed the Suns past the Lakers but ultimately lost the 7 game series 4-3. I’ve been a fan ever since.

    Is that really sane? I doubt it. Dallas, OKC, Memphis and New Orleans are closer to where I live than Phoenix but I’m still a Phoenix fan. It will take a LOT for me to ever change that… much more than a bad season.

    I admit that I’m not really sane when it comes to the NBA. I’ll be a Suns fan no matter what until I die.

  • 43 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Okay, putting the phrase “sane sports fans” wasn’t an exact quote and I apologize for that.

  • 44 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    zak be careful..youre not helping steve by reading or responding to his comments..he has a sickness..we need to all do our part so he will not get the attention he craves here and goes to a doctor

  • 45 GoSuns // Jan 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hey tony it doesn’t matter if amare was willing to come back for a 5yr max contract, he isn’t and was’nt worth it

  • 46 BoomShakaLuka // Jan 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    @ Steve

    The definition of arrogant is to overbearingly assume to make yourself seem more knowledgeable then you are, which is what you’re doing with your comments here.

    Realize that the only reason the Suns had the success they did was because of the Colangelos. The Colangelos had the foresight to draft Amare, to sign Nash, to acquire Bell and Kurt Thomas. Sarver stood idly by as an observer while all of this took place.

    Sarver has been a hindrance to this teams success from the get go. I think most Suns fans here know the trail of destruction timeline Sarver has created, and I’d be more than happy to spell it out for you if you’d like.

    Suffice it to say that Sarver doesn’t know anything about running a basketball team. Whether it’s selling draft picks to save money, dumping star talent to save money, or even running his own executives from the front office to save money he’ll do whatever he sees fit to save money.

    I’d like to think Sarver can change. I’d like to believe he’s willing to go after a few superstars in 2012. But it’s hard to believe him after years and years of mismanagement. You have to realize he was handed a dynasty. And if he had made a few proactive business decisions his team would have won a few titles by now.

    I’m also not blaming Babby. I do agree with you that it’s too soon to start blaming Babby and Blanks. Yet, it was Sarver who turned to Babby from the get go to bring in his former clients to pad out the roster.

    It’s the fact that Sarver admitted that he didn’t feel it was worthwhile to go after a superstar, and to spend on players he felt were disposable that irritates everyone. It was Sarver who weeks before rewarded his GM and VP of basketball operations hard work by asking them to take a pay cut, essentially forcing their resignations. It’s the fact that during one of the biggest free agency periods in NBA history (2010) we have no GM in place. No possibility to negotiate with Amare properly. No possibility for a sound plan B. He didn’t even know about a trade exception that would have helped the Suns, and retroactively had to get that from the Knicks after he had all but agreed to let Amare walk.

  • 47 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    @ go suns…i totally agree with you and sarver on that one…amare wasnt worth it

  • 48 Zak // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Boom, my only disagreement with you is that the Suns ever had a “dynasty” (and that is a direct quote) for Sarver to squander away. The potential was there once but that was all.

  • 49 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    @boom shaka…dude you articulate a reasonable position better than just about anyone…too bad youre using that talent to give air to some one who either works for sarver,is a complete moron or who just enjoys pushing a bad position to wind up reasonable people…responding to him is like putting a plow behind sea biscuit.

  • 50 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    @ zak..ive got to agree with your last comment bro

  • 51 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    @BoomShakaLuka

    You can’t just make up definitions because you think no one will care to check.

    Merriam-Webster seems to agree with me. “Exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner.” I said, “Arrogant means (roughly) exaggerating your own worth.” You said, ”
    overbearingly assume to make yourself seem more knowledgeable then you are.” And I know you didn’t copy and paste that definition from a dictionary because you misspelled “than.”

    Seriously, what are you even trying to argue about? I gave an adequate definition. If you want to argue that I’m trying to make myself seem more important than I really am, go ahead and try to do so without pointing a finger back at yourself.

    “Realize that the only reason the Suns had the success they did was because of the Colangelos.”

    If you’re going start your argument by blasting my accurate definition of a word and then follow it with a statement like this, everyone already knows you don’t really want to come here to reason. You’re just picking a fight. Since it’s the intarwebz, I’ll bite.

    Just answer me a question… how many terrible years did the Suns have with a Colangelo as an owner or a GM? FYI, the Suns had 27 wins with that ENTIRE team we all loved so much (minus Nash, who Sarver signed after Jerry Colangelo took steps toward recruiting him). Plus, with all of the roster overhaul that took place, by the time Sarver made his third trip to the WCF, the only two players who were still inherited from the Colangelos (as you would say it, not me), were Amare and Nash, who were coincidentally the ONLY two guys Sarver (again, it’s not really him, but it’s actually his GM, I’m just humoring you for that sake of it and pretending the owner of a sports franchise cares about this stuff) thought were worthwhile to extend… So, no credit whatsoever? Three entirely different WCF teams were built around two players. Do you think TWO players can do that on their own, or do you think there was possibly some skill and basketball knowledge in place to put the rest of the pieces together?

    An owner doesn’t sell the picks. An owner doesn’t dump players. An owner may or may not run his executives out, but if you have some inside information, feel free to share it (FYI, I blamed Sarver for this in the last Sarver rant thread with the added caveat that none of us are really privy to the happenings of the franchise at that level).

    I have to realize he was handed a dynasty? The Suns were a 27-win team. Tell me how that’s a dynasty.

    Saying the Suns could have won a few titles by now is pure fanboy conjecture. Fact is that they didn’t. It’s impossible to argue with that statement because ANYTHING could have happened, but it’s also pointless to argue with you for that very same reason. What happened happened. Get over it.

    Your best argument is made here: “It’s the fact that Sarver admitted that he didn’t feel it was worthwhile to go after a superstar.” My only problems with it though are that I never remember hearing anything like that, and tell me what “superstar” you would have gone out to get… There wasn’t a superstar outside of Wade, James, Bosh, Amare, and Dirk from what I can remember, and I wouldn’t even call Bosh or Amare “superstars.” They’re just stars.

    And as far as the pay cuts go… I can partially agree with you here, but who hasn’t taken a pay cut in the past few years? Also, is a pay cut from $2M to $1.8M really that big of a deal to someone like Kerr (I don’t know the numbers, I’m juts throwing something random out there). What I’m trying to say is that it’s likely Kerr didn’t leave because of the pay cut. He doesn’t need the money. Could it be that Kerr was running from the coming storm (Amare not coming back, Nash and Hill aging, no superstars available on the horizon, a terrible draft class) and didn’t want to stain his reputation as a GM? Is it possible that Steve Kerr actually wanted to spend more time with family (his stated reason for leaving)? That last bit is your best argument, but even still, it’s just a lot of guesswork.

    Let’s just say the Suns turn it around and start winning again in two years with Sarver as the owner, all you people who are harping that “this is coming from the top,” are you going to be harping that same thing in two years? We all know you’re not.

    I don’t blame an owner for the losses, and I don’t credit an owner for the wins. There are people on the court and who actually do the recruiting that have a lot more to say about that sort of thing.

  • 52 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    @shazam

    I already knew you would do this because nothing you say can be taken seriously (you said so yourself about five articles ago) and you’re only speaking in jest to keep up your sad spirits, but you’re a flat out liar. You asked me to list a few things I thought Sarver was wrong on and you’d consider it proof I’m not in Sarver’s pocket. Not that it matters, but I did submit that proof, and here you are, accusing me of being employed by a man worth $400 million dollars to help save his reputation in the eyes of a few nerdy internet dweebs. The fact that you would even think it’s possible for an owner of a franchise to think that effort would be worthwhile is absolutely pathetic on your part.

    Even if some people were employed to be apologists on the front office’s behalf, I GUARANTEE it wouldn’t be Sarver who would hire those people, and that proves how insane you haters are.

    I don’t like Sarver. I repeat, I don’t like Sarver. I just dislike the idiot fans who think it’s worthwhile to bash him and bash the leadership of the franchise and boycott the team.

  • 53 Grover // Jan 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Shazam – Suns may not have had a dynasty, but they clearly had the makings of one. ’04/’05 (or was Nash’s return the following season), the Suns had young superstars in training matches up with the best PG playing, plus a stockpile of draft picks. Add to that the first exciting offense the NBA had seen in over a decade and I don’t thu k there was a GM in the league that wouldn’t have traded positions.

    There are some really good arguments for which moves and non-moves are responsible for the downfall, but clearly management/ownership did not do a good job. Imagine what you’d think of OK City if 5 years from now they were fighting to not be a bottom dweller. You’d think (and be correct) that they did a rotten job managing what appears now to be a powerhouse for years to come.

    All that said, nothing we can do about it now. Maybe pages of angry forum posts and name calling will make it all better?

  • 54 Grover // Jan 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Shazam – by the way, my last sentence was not directed at you by any means. Ive just grown tired of where this board is going – long diatribes of immature name calling and bitching. My memory is you’ve been one of the sane ones – didint mean to throw my comment in a response to your post.

  • 55 shazam // Jan 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    totally agree with the “makings” of one grover…ive posted before that losing joe johnson put an end to that era…we really had a shot with him

  • 56 BoomShakaLuka // Jan 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    @ Steve the Troll

    Go crawl back under the bridge you came from.

  • 57 steve // Jan 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Never trolled. I’m never the one to bring up this pointless debate. By the way, thanks for confirming that you didn’t want to be reasonable about this. Have a nice night.

  • 58 BoomShakaLuka // Jan 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    @Steve

    Hard to be reasonable with someone who denies the obvious and wants to pick a fight with everyone else here. I guess trolls just aren’t used to the sunlight.

    Your credibility went out the window when you actually called Hakim Warrick “fantastic” on the offensive end.

  • 59 steve // Jan 19, 2012 at 5:43 am

    @Boom

    You’re getting further and further away from addressing any real point. Any interest in talking basketball?

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