Philadelphia 76ers 104, Phoenix Suns 101 — Holiday’s weekend

Michael Beasley got to the rim at ease, but his potential game-tying layup missed to ruin an otherwise sterling fourth quarter performance. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Michael Beasley got to the rim at ease, but his potential game-tying layup missed to ruin an otherwise sterling fourth quarter performance. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phoenix Suns signed Michael Beasley hoping he would develop into their go-to scorer, the guy they throw the ball to over and over again down the stretch when they need important buckets.

For the first time all season, that hope came to fruition on Sunday evening in Philly as Beasley scored eight of Phoenix’s final 12 points. However, with the clock ticking down and a chance to tie down two, Beasley’s driving right-handed layup just rimmed out to give Philadelphia a 104-101 victory when Jared Dudley came up well short on a full-court heave.

“Yeah, a layup,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry told reporters of a play on which Thaddeus Young appeared to interfere by touching the net on the attempt. “We just have to get it in the basket. I don’t know how it came out really, but it’s exactly what we were trying to do. We put him in a position to make a play for us, and he felt like he could get to the basket. He did a great job of getting there, shot it like it was going in and for some reason, it just came out.”

Beasley led the Suns with 21 points, and surprisingly the 35.6 percent shooter knocked down 8-of-13 shots although he added just a single rebound and assist. Tonight marked just the second time all season Beas made more shots than he missed.

Beasley scored six consecutive Suns points driving to the cup to cut the Sixers’ lead down to 98-95 with 1:43 remaining. He then got fouled and calmly drilled a pair of fouls shots to make it a one-point lead with 40 seconds left.

Jrue Holiday answered with a bucket as he did time and again tonight in racking up a career-high 33 points on 13-for-21 shooting to go with 13 assists, and the Suns cut the lead back down to one when Dragic found Morris for an easy hoop with 20 seconds remaining. Holiday then split a pair to set up Beasley’s fateful drive.

This is the Beasley the Suns signed up for, not the guy who deserves to sit in crunch time in favor of P.J. Tucker. On a team devoid of stars, this is the Michael Beasley they need to show up more than a couple times a month.

Although the Suns trailed by double digits (briefly as they immediately countered with an 11-0 run after trailing by 10), this was a close game throughout in which head coach Alvin Gentry said the difference was the three-pointers the Sixers hit on Phoenix’s defensive breakdowns.

“I would say once again it’s a great effort game for us, but we’ve got to do a better job of executing,” Gentry said. “I thought we did a great job down the stretch, but you go back in the game and we have five or six plays where we don’t execute defensively and we give up three-point shots. It comes down to a one-possession game, so we’ve got to do better in that area right there.

“The effort is great. We continue to really compete and do a good job, but we have to be able to make the plays that win games for you. Tonight we had too many breakdowns, not at the crucial moments, but it creates crucial moments because we don’t do it then and before you know it we’ve given up three, four three-point shots, and that’s 12 points. We’ve just got to do a much better job in that department right there, but we played well.”

The Sixers knocked down 9-of-19 three-pointers, but aside from Holiday’s 33-point outburst the Suns did a decent job holding the rest of the Sixers in check. Evan Turner hit three triples to score 16 shots but needed 13 shots to get there.

The Suns won the battle of the interior, as they outrebounded the size-deficient Sixers 41-33 and got nice games from their big men.

Marcin Gortat took over in the third quarter, abusing Spencer Hawes and company for 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting to go with three boards and a pair of assists yet for some reason Jermaine O’Neal played the entirety of the fourth quarter. JO did a nice job with six points and two boards in the period, but it seemed very strange not to go back to Gortat when he was rolling.

The bench unit overall did a better job than the starters, and Gentry was even late going back to Dragic, waiting until 3:09 remained to bring him back in. Overall I’m all in favor of the hot unit theory, especially with this new bench group gelling so nicely, but at some point you need to go back to your studs. This was on a night when the smaller Sixers proved incapable of defending Gortat in the third, so it was a real head scratcher.

Overall, tonight was a battle between two scrappy teams low on star power save for the developing stud Holiday, who really was the difference tonight along with those defensive breakdowns that led to back-breaking threes.

The Suns never quit and nearly rode their bench and the good Michael Beasley to an upset to start this six-game trip.

Phoenix can only hope that this was a turning point for Beasley rather than just another tease of how talented he can be once every six or seven games.

And 1

Markieff Morris played his first professional game in his hometown of Philadelphia and accrued eight points and 10 boards.

“It felt good to finally play at home, and it even felt better to start,” he said. “I got to see my family, spend the day with my family and stuff, so it felt good.”

The entire Suns team spent Saturday night enjoying a late Thanksgiving dinner at the Morris household, per, that seemed to serve as a nice bonding opportunity. …

At this point the Suns surely wish they had drafted Holiday rather than Earl Clark in the 2009 NBA Draft. Holiday, who was a Phoenix consideration, went three picks later at No. 17 overall with Steve Nash and Goran Dragic under contract for three more years for the Suns by the end of that July. … Shannon Brown missed six of seven shots but dished seven assists. … The Suns drilled 19-of-20 free throws, with Gortat missing their only attempt.

Tags: Jrue Holiday Marcin Gortat Michael Beasley

  • melon man

    Wondering what Gortat did to deserve sitting out the 4th or why Oneal kept playing. I’m tired of Gortat not showing up but he seemed with it for the most part tonight.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    ESPN says dragic only played 29 minutes. Can anybody tell me why?

  • TucsonSunsFan

    Holliday would have been great, but Ty Lawson (18), Jeff Teague (19), or even Darren Collison (21) would have been good as well. Ever since the 2003 draft (Zarko Cabarkapa anyone?) the Sun’s drafts have been less than stellar, with the exception of Dragic. How can I apply to be a scout for the team?

    • Michael Schwartz

      Yeah, Lawson especially would look great in purple and orange about now. Along with the Suns’ scouts, I was wrong, too, as I was a big proponent of drafting Clark. I thought his versatility would be exactly what that aging roster needed, and with Nash/Dragic in tow it seemed like a waste to pick another point guard when there were roster holes elsewhere. Just goes to show why in an ideal world you’re always taking best player available rather than trying to plug a hole in our roster.

  • Ross

    Jrue Holiday has been a beast this year

  • Luka

    You said it TucsonSunsFan. If the franchise isn’t trading away talent, they are getting draft busts. One that really irks me is picking Lopez ahead of Roy Hibbert. But knowing Sarver, he’d lowball any real talent and force management’s hand to trade. It’s lame.

    As for the game, it’s just more of the same… A loose collection of role players that don’t mesh well together, and consistently can’t defend well. Our offense is predicated on jump shooting, and the roster lacks a strong athletic finisher downlow. I give them credit for not giving up, but there’s no go to guy. If you want to play by committee in the NBA you gotta at least be able to defend.

  • DBreezy

    “Just goes to show why in an ideal world you’re always taking best player available rather than trying to plug a hole in our roster.”

    Quite true, but if I’m not mistaken you guys quoted our GM as saying pretty much the opposite at his pre-draft roundtable this summer. I guess the good news for next summer is that the Suns could pretty much have holes everywhere except the 1.

  • Sunsforlife

    Is anyone else baffled with Gentry’s decision to bench dragic until the 3 minute mark? By the way, this isn’t the first time Gentry has done this. He’s our best scorer, leader in assists, and top 2 in 3 point%. What is Gentry thinking?

  • Scott

    Keep in mind that last summer the GM had already decided to let Nash and Hill go, and the only PG they had under contract was Telfair.

  • Scott

    As I said in a post on the preview article, Dragic has been looking weary and maybe a little beat up to me. In the Philly game, it looked like he was exhausted and asking to come out.

    I think the strain of carrying the team is showing on Dragic, and (as I said in that other post) it might make sense to put another PG in with him (and maybe with Telfair, too) to facilitate the offense.

    If you look at what’s happening to both Dudley and Brown in this tweaked system, the SG spot is not scoring, but is dishing and defending. Brown racked up 7 assists in the last game, which was nearly double what Dragic managed. So how about plugging Garrett into the SG spot to see if it helps? He’s got the length to defend SG plus PG quality handling / passing.

  • Voqar

    The suns looked like the tired team instead of phili and just couldn’t stop the hot shooting.

    Dragic does look tired but it’s early in the season and the schedule has been plenty paced so far – if he’s tired now the team is in trouble.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    This loss goes totally on Gentry, who proved once again that he is not able to read a game or react on what’s going on on the court.
    So Dragic plays the last 3 minutes of the game while Gortat doesn’t play in the 4th quarter at all. There is NOT ONE good reason fir this move. Not one, besides Gentry’s stupidity. With those two guys on the floor it would have been a win, I’m quite sure about this. Dragic is a cool guy, who wouldn’t miss such an EASY layup as Beasley did. Did you see Gortat yelling and motivating his teammates? That’s a leader. And Gentry benches him in crunch time. Where is the logic behind that?
    I’m really mad. The Suns face a Bynum-less 76ers and were the better team, but lose due to a stupid coach. That’s really disappointing.

  • Melon Man

    Gortat is not a leader though I don’t think he should’ve sat for the whole 4th quarter. I really wish I knew what Gentry was thinking last night.

  • suns68

    First off, if you draft mid-to-late first round, you can almost always look down the list five years later and say ‘I wish we’d got that guy instead.’

    The more important issue is what you do with what you got. I watched the game and Goran did look pretty tired.

    This points to something I’ve worried about with this team for the past three years. They don’t seem to be in very good physical shape.

    If you look at our teams in the seven seconds or less era, all the starters could go 40 mins or more night after night and remain effective. Gentry doesn’t seem to expect that and spreads the minutes accordingly.

    I could see that when protecting old guys like Nash and Hill, but our current starters are all youngsters who should be able to go more or less all night.

    When players aren’t in top condition, they can do good things, like Beasley did yesterday. But they can also wear down at the end and blow a critical shot, like Beasley did yesterday.

    Maybe they need to spend a little less time in the cryotank and a little more on roadwork. Just sayin’.

  • DBreezy

    It is early, but Goran is also averaging about 6-7 minutes more per game than he ever has before. His usage rate is pretty much in line with his career average though, lending credence to the idea of part of it being mental strain.

    Last night’s game seemed like a microcosm of the season so far, and possibly to be. The starters being a minus, searching for the right combos, two different Gortat’s, and Beasley showing why it’s not going to be easy figuring out what to do with him. Oh and they’re not very good on the road.

  • hawki

    @ TucsonSunsFan…..”how can I apply to be a scout for the team ?”

    It’s not what you know…but, who you know…..former Suns video-boy David Griffin bungled 2 consecutive Suns drafts but was given the job of Cavs vice-president of BBall operations….unbelievable.

    Suns are right on schedule to finish between 7-10 in the upcoming draft.

  • DBreezy


    Early college hoops thoughts?

  • http://n/a Keith

    Sill said everything that needed to be said.

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    In my opinion, I think they are using Beassley the wrong way. He’s better at the four where he has his back to the basket and can get easier shots in the paint. As a three, he is very much out of his element forcing to take shots he’s not comfortable with and not being quick enough to take on opposing SFs.

    That’s why he shoots 36% from the field. most of those shots are forced because he is not in the right place. If the Suns continue to play him at the SF, it will be a disservice to both Beasley and the team.

  • Michael

    They won´t do it, but I would give THAT a try:

    PG: Telfair – Marshall
    SG: Dragic – Brown
    SF: Dudley – Tucker
    PF: Beasley – Scola
    C: O`Neal – Morris

    I´d like the combination of Dragic as a scoring option on the 2 (he is the only one we have), Beasley getting easier shots, Dudley as well.
    On the second unit I love the fact that Marshall is able to create wonderfully for Brown, Scola and Morris.

    The first unit will fail a lot defensively, but we are the worst team on that end anyway.
    And in this world we are missing the traded players we get for the Polish Hammer, which is not needed any more with Beasley becoming the 25+ guy at the 4.

    Well, just dreaming…

  • Keith

    I like some things about that, Michael, but what did you do with Gortat? Trade him for picks?

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Dream? Rather a nightmare. Telfair is a PG unable to create for others and Marshall doesn’t ssem to be ready for the league.
    Dragic is a true PG, who would be forced to play at the 2. And Brown would be benched again.
    Gortat is the best center on the roster, but would be making an impact on another team. O’Neal will get hurt in a few games and will be out for the rest of the season. Morris is just horrible at the 5.

  • Michael

    Dragic is the best shooting option from outside, and he can as well do enough PG work at the 2.
    Now we have Dudley, Beasley playing off their natural position, and they are doing horrible. Brown is a non factor on most nights. He’s probably the worst starting SG in the league for now.
    Gortat is drafted in my scenario, you can count him in if you like to keep him. Solves your JO and Morris issue.
    Marshall is not given any chance yet, so where do you get that from that he’s not worth a try.
    The Suns team we now have is neither fun to watch nor do they have any chance to reach any goals in this league. Far too many players off position and underperforming.
    If Beasley fails to get comfortable at the 4, we would still get something out of that:
    The fact that we can get rid of him and the chance to get a decent lottery pick and the chance to see something from Marshall.

  • Jeff from Jersey

    hey this might be a little off topic, but it seems that marshon brooks has fallen out of favor with avery johnson and the nets, i think we should try to trade for this guy. He showed some promise in his rookie year and i remember him dominating the big east in college. any thoughts on him?

  • DBreezy

    I think they haven’t tried Beasley at the 4 mainly because of Gortat. The Vlade/CWebb magic they envisioned for Gortat and Scola hasn’t materialize. The clunkiness has resulted in Scola being moved to the bench to allow more S/R’s and postups for Gortat.

    Putting Beasley at the 4 right now, which is the position he’s been best at offensively in his career, would likely have the same effect on Gortat as Scola did. Marcin’s not gonna be any happier watching Beasley do what he did in the 4th quarter vs. Philly all game long than he was when Scola was doing so and averaging about 18ppg.

    Ultimately, that may be the avenue they need to go down but Scola can’t be traded before July and Beas is here for awhile. Gortat has been squawking lately and just publicly confirmed that he turned down an extension offer. That doesn’t mean that he wants out necessarily, but it does mean that he wants max dollars on a max length contract. I doubt the Suns wish to pay that, but why not at least get a good look at what he can do offensively sans Nash before you make that decision? Maybe you see something you didn’t know was there, and if not perhaps the increased usage rate ups his trade value a bit come Dec 15th when the first trade offers probably materialize.

  • hawki

    @ DBreezy…..”early college thoughts”…..sorry it took so long David..

    I really like UofA chances at Final 4 (and I’m an ASU fan)….Brandon Ashley is awesome & will be a great pro…better than Zeller imo….Nerlens Noel has impressed but his teammate, Archie Goodwin, really caught my eye & has superstar written all over him.
    Saw UCLA get beat by Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo last night…what a mess….no leadership whatsoever….Shabazz was throwing up bricks while one of the Wear twins was playing center down the stretch & getting crushed on the boards…Josh Smith & Tony Parker (6’9″ 280 lb FR) were glued to the bench. I really liked Parker when I saw them play in NYC….There best player might be Jordan Adams, another feshman who can shoot lights out….Howland is doing a horrible job.

    Big Men:
    Isaiah Austin (Baylor) is going to be good but needs time and added weight.
    Steve Adams (Pitt) is not ready for prime time.
    Cody Zeller is good but not NBA star material.
    Alex Poythress (Kentucky) a beast on the glass and will be a good to great pro like B Ashley of Arizona.
    James Michael McAdoo (N Carolina) ..he is good but has not impressed me as much as Ashley & Poythress as a PF.

    Guards & Wings

    Marcus Smart (Okla St) a big guard who does a little bit of everything & has great leadership skills.

    Isaiah Canaan (Murray St) a little small but can really play & would love to see Suns get him at bottom of 1st round.
    Rasheed Sulaimon from Duke can really shoot and can play tough D.
    Archie Goodwin can get to the rack seemingly at will & once he improves his jump shot (which isn’t bad) he will be unstoppable.
    Shabazz Muhammad has not impressed so far but you can see talent, so I’ll withhold judgement for now.
    Tim Hardaway & Trey Burke of Michigan also look good.

    If the Suns pick around 7 to 10 and Goodwin or Ashley (if he goes pro) are there, then they should be the picks with Shabazz still a possibility.

  • cdubb

    Idk if people are blind, but Beasley doesn’t play with his back to the basket unless he has a guard defending him. He certainly can’t back a true PF down in the post because he isn’t strong enough. People calling for him to play in the post as a PF are crazy, that’s not what he does. When he plays the 4 its his perimeter skills that cause the mismatch and have made him more successful, not posting people up. Beasley has played the 4 here in PHX in certain rotations and has been about as productive as when he was at the 3. Plus moving Beasley to 4 is horrible for our rebounding and post defense. It also pushes one of our two productive and talented PFs out of the rotation. Playing Beasley at the 3 is the right call and really the only option. Its not the position he’s playing that’s wrong with him, its his mindset and shot selection. He needs to be more aggressive and attack the rim, not settle for jumpers.

    O’Neal was simply giving us the inside presence on Defense that Gortat could not. By the time Gortat was subbed out he was invisible for several minutes on both ends of the floor and we started surrendering to many points and not scoring any. When the bench mob came in they did work like always that includes O’Neal who is a terror under the basket and a much smarter player then Gortat so why take him out? You go with what’s working and O’Neal was n Gortat wasn’t end of story. Yea Gortat beat up Hawes for a couple minutes, but when they replaced Based with Brown and the other dude Gortat disappeared like he seems to do a lot lately. Don’t criticize the coach fir making the right decision and sticking to his guns ala “hot hand stays in”

  • cdubb


    Poythress is the freaking man but he is a SF

  • DBreezy


    Great stuff as always. I must admit I haven’t watched UofA play(ASU alum) and haven’t seen as many games as you, but I agree with pretty much everything you said. I mentioned on AZC previously that I was really interested in Goodwin, and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s got next level driving/slashing ability and no fear. He can be a bit out of control, but at this point it looks more like youth than selfishness. I also liked what I saw from Len in that game vs. Kentucky.

    Noel isn’t the same player as Anthony Davis which will haunt him all year with scouts, but I like him. He’s got a strong motor which is #1 with a big. His touch is pretty solid, even if his post moves aren’t yet, and for a skinny guy he seams more willing to mix it up in the post than Davis did at this point last season. He’s going to have to learn to do his work early on defensive rebounds, rather than rely on his athleticism, but Drummond did as well at UCONN and he looks pretty good so far.

    Right now if the Suns pick in the 7-10 slot, I think there’s little chance Goodwin’s on the board. It’s a frontcourt heavy draft and Shabazz’s early struggles out of the gate are likely to cause somewhat of an overreaction a la Harrison Barnes. If it weren’t such an unheralded draft it could be worse because Howland’s offense isn’t built to showcase individual nba talents well. In any case it likely lowers Shabazz’s stature and raises Goodwin’s imo.

    With a perceived weak draft, it might be a good opportunity for the Suns to gamble a bit and try to get two lottery picks. Looking at the current league standings, does Detroit need another young frontcourt guy with Drummond and Monroe or another slashing guard type with Stuckey and Knight around? CLE doesn’t need a guard with Irving and Waiters and might not want to add a big with Thompson and Varajeao. Toronto has Bargnani, Jonas and a bunch of depth guys, just drafted Ross and has big money out to Derozan and Fields. New Orleans has Lopez, Davis and Anderson and money out to Gordon.

  • hawki

    @ DBreezy & cdubb

    You’re right cdubb….Poythress will be a SF in the pros….hate to get hung up on the sf/pf thing tho….usually in the last 5-6 minutes of a tight NBA game those things go out the window & any lineup combo is possible….what you need at that point are playa’s & Poythress is definitely that….if Suns pick say 8th & Goodwin is gone, I would take Poythress in a heartbeat.

    DBreezy….yeah this could be the year to try to get 2 lottery pks….Suns have there own + Lakers & Memphis (as long as they make the playoffs) if I’m not mistaken…..however I would rather see us go after Eric Bledsoe (restricted in 2014) especially since the Clips will have to spend a fortune to keep Chris Paul who will be unrestricted next year.
    Bledsoe is only 6’1″ but has a 7’8″ wingspan & 40″ vertical & is just too damn good to be not starting.
    Goran would still get 25 mins a night as back-up pg & sg as well as sharing time with Bledsoe in the backcourt.

  • DBreezy


    Obviously speculation, but I think the levee is going to break long before something like trading for Bledsoe is considered. Attendance is down 500 per game from last season and 2500 per game from 2010-2011. You’ve got Marcin whining and the parts not fitting together. Bickley pretty much wrote Gentry’s obituary a few games into the season and spoke about a lot of behind the scenes turmoil in the front office. You know I’m not the biggest Bickley fan, but I don’t really have reason to doubt him on this one and frankly it’s similar to the one he wrote in Dec 2007 months ahead of the ‘official’ D’Antoni/Kerr meltdown.

    Now Coro has an article out that is about as editorial as he ever gets. The most interesting quote in the article comes from OJ Mayo who says, ‘Their meeting was pretty much, ‘We’re in a rebuilding stage after Nash and Hill. We have 11 draft picks in so many (three) years. We’re building our team around Dragic and Dudley.”

    I’ll let the stunning fact that they said they were building the team around Dudley, speak for itself. However it seems like the plan all along was more changes and with the season not really unfolding well and everybody except Blanks in their last year of their contracts I don’t expect them to sit on their hands. With a low payroll, no signature draft picks, Gortat uneven and asking out, and the best find being Dragic a guy who was drafted by Kerr and traded by Blanks, is Lance even safe?

  • Scott

    Yeah, I did not like the quote from Coro about the Suns putting Dudley above Mayo. Mayo should have been told he’d compete for the starting job against Dudley, not that Dudley’s position was protected.

    How could Blanks so badly misread Mayo’s talent level when he’s giving Beasley a third chance and a starting position?

    Why wasn’t Beasley told, “You’ll come off the bench after Dudley” …? It would at least be consistent.

    This is hard to fathom.

  • cdubb

    I have a hard time believing they said “we are building around Dudley”

    If somebody in our front office truly believes Dudley is a franchise player, he should be sent back to assisting high school coaches and sweeping gymnasiums. I just really cannot buy into that, maybe OJ was just making excuses, maybe he took what they said the wrong way, but there is no way in help we are building around Dudley. I love Dudley and all, he is a championship caliber role player, but that’s just it… he’s a ROLE PLAYER!!!! I wouldn’t be upset if we traded say scola and Dudley for a Jeff Green… but that’ll never happen with Beasley in town. Maybe Dudz and a 1st for Jeremy Lamb? I’d do it…

    • Michael Schwartz

      Yeah, I can’t imagine that’s what the Suns said. My understanding has always been that Mayo wanted a guaranteed starting job and the Suns wouldn’t offer that, just an opportunity to compete for one. Hell, Dudley competed against Shannon Brown in training camp so there’s no way such a competition would not have been open for Mayo. I guess Dallas offered that guaranteed starting spot whereas the Suns wouldn’t commit to such a guarantee out of respect to JD and the way they usually do things around here. Really that seems kind of ridiculous, especially at this point, since it seems pretty clear that if he performed O.J. Mayo would be starting for this team.

  • cdubb

    Tyreke Evans & Al Jefferson are FA this year… if we could land Jefferson for a reasonable price i’d let Gortat walk in a heartbeat! And with Telfair, Brown, and Johnson coming off the books adding Tyreke Evans to the backcourt would be awesome!

  • cdubb

    On Mayo made the smart decision. Both us and the Macs offered him short “prove it” contracts. Even if we promised him a starting job I think he still would’ve went to Dallas. Why come to a team rebuilding with a ton of new faces and no.Congo.high and try to earn your next contract in that environment. You go to the established team with established players and an established system so that you can showcase at your best and earn the most money possible.for.your next contract!

  • john

    It’s not like the mavs are showstoppers this year. The quality of teams wouldn’t have factored into it for me. If I were Mayo, I’d follow the money.

  • cdubb

    Well they are still an established team with very good players and a great player. The money was basically equal, it wasn’t about the money now it was about the money later. He wouldn’t have the chances and opportunities here that he will have playing in Dallas. He was garunteed a starting gig and is able to have the ball in his hands basically at all times, which is what he needs to be successful… that’s just the this of player he is. He couldn’t get that here because of Dragic and Beasley therefore his play would suffer and he wouldn’t earn as much money next summer.