New York Knicks 106, Phoenix Suns 99 — More of the same

After a three-game respite, the Phoenix Suns played to the script they have followed most of the season by getting down big early before fighting back and ultimately falling short thanks to far too many turnovers and a barrage of New York threes on Sunday morning.

However, the end result in this 106-99 loss to the Knicks was as frustrating as it was predictable for a Suns team that committed 17 turnovers (including nine in the first quarter) to the Knicks’ seven and allowed New York to bomb away from distance (12-for-29, 41.4 percent) as Carmelo Anthony and Steve Novak hit four treys apiece and Raymond Felton three.

“We started the game with too many turnovers,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “We turned it over seven out of our first 15 possessions and they immediately got separation. We’re battling uphill from there. Our handling the ball, whenever we turn it over like that, it puts them out in the break and then transitions. They have shooters that spread the floor. It puts you in a bind.”

Starting the game with too many turnovers and giving their opponent immediate separation has been a recurring theme that the Suns just can’t seem to break.

Phoenix never led in this contest, but the Knicks got out to a 20-point lead just before halftime and maintained a 17-point advantage at the end of three quarters. That’s when the Suns made their move with a 13-2 run fueled by eight points from Sebastian Telfair to make this a six-point game with 6:55 to play.

Tyson Chandler scored on a follow of a Felton penetration and after that the Melo/Felton duo took over by scoring the rest of their team’s points before free throws at the end when the Suns were forced to foul to stop the clock. That pair combined to score 10 points to keep the Suns at bay in this time, as by the time Phoenix cut the lead to four with 29.3 seconds left on a Shannon Brown driving layup, their only chance at victory involved New York choking at the line.

Anthony (34 points, six boards) and Felton (23 points on 10-for-17 shooting to go with seven assists) were the offensive stars all day for a Knicks team that let the Suns back in the game but never felt seriously threatened.

“We have to stop digging ourselves into a hole,” Michael Beasley said. “When you get down 15, 20 points you need a perfect storm to come back, and I feel like we are relying on that perfect storm in too many games. If we play our system and the effort we gave in the end there is no reason we can’t win games. If we dig ourselves into a hole and then the effort comes out we can’t win games.”

What Beasley’s not saying is that he’s part of the problem in having such a hole dug in the first place. He did not play during the furious fourth-quarter rally, but in the 21 minutes he did play the team lost 20 points. Goran Dragic’s -11 makes him the next closest Sun in this statistic.

This has been a season-long trend as the Suns are nearly 21 points per 100 possessions better when Beasley sits than when he plays, according to the NBA’s stats tool. Almost all of this difference comes at the defensive end, as the Suns possess a superb 95.0 defensive rating when he sits and an abysmal 114.7 rating when he plays.

To put that in perspective, the Suns without Beasley would be the best defensive team in the NBA but they are the worst by seven points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, which is a pretty wide margin that covers the difference between the No. 11 and No. 30 defensive teams in the league.

Marcin Gortat put in one of his better performances with 18 points and 10 boards on 8-for-11 shooting in 41:23 with Jermaine O’Neal sitting this one out with a strained right quad. He took full advantage of that and perhaps should have gotten the ball even more often. Although it was often a power forward like Markieff Morris with a smaller defender on him when the Knicks went small, Phoenix never could capitalize on that size advantage all game.

Shannon Brown hardly made a whimper in the first half, but exploded for 17 points in the second half. He’s always been a microwave guy on offense, and he caught fire during a 13-point third-quarter explosion that kept this game from being a laugher at that point.

Goran Dragic failed to score in double figures for the first time all season, finishing with nine points on 4-for-9 shooting. Because Telfair was so good to start the fourth, Dragic did not play a second in that period and the fact that he logged just 26:28 for the game is the biggest reason he did not tally double digits.

I’m all for riding the hot hand, but at some point I feel Gentry needed to go back to The Dragon in the fourth. He’s just a bigger scoring threat than Telfair, and the Suns needed him out there down the stretch. If you really want Telfair in, play both of them in a small ball lineup like the Suns did at the end of the second quarter with the two point guards flanked by Brown, Tucker at the four to guard Melo and Gortat.

The loss to the Knicks, who remained undefeated at home, dropped the Suns to 1-4 on this treacherous road trip and 2-8 away from US Airways Center overall. This was not a game the Suns could have reasonably expected to win, and perhaps this is a pattern we just need to expect to become the norm this season when the Suns face playoff teams.

And 1

Congratulations to @Dorie_says for winning our ValleyoftheSuns-Crowd Seats ticket giveaway. Dorie predicted the Suns to lose to the Knicks by a score of 105-98, and amazingly she was only one point off on both counts.

  • john


    What you call “low-balling,” another man might call “being smart.”

    JJ, Marion (while he was still on his huge contract), and Amar’e are three of the most overpaid players in the NBA. Not only are they not worth what they all wanted, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to keep all those players due to cap issues. You can’t pay $60M to four guys and expect to fill out a roster.

    Sure, we’re all bitter that the Suns didn’t win it all and that they’re doing so poorly now, but it’s not like every day was sunny in Phoenix before Sarver showed up.

    Babby/Blanks, yes, they need to go.

    I even believe Gentry needs to go.

    They’re the ones making basketball decisions, and the basketball decisions have been mostly bad for the last couple of years (and a lot of that has been circumstantial as well, out of any one person’s or group’s control).

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    I did say Sarver needs to replace Blanks with a true executive. And the problem, IMO, is not just the current structure or office holders, but the slew of GMs going back to Bryan Colangelo. Sarver needed someone like Sam Presti.

    As for the player contracts, Kerr seemed to think the Suns needed someone specially devoted to NBA contracts. I don’t know if that’s valid, or what other teams do. I’m not saying the Suns need to keep Babby, and that no one else can do that job.

    I’m just saying that whoever has been making the personnel decisions – which I believe is Blanks – should be replaced, and this time Sarver needs to appoint someone who is a “mastermind” or “chess master” type person … someone who has a high IQ, who can see what is, who can make a plan, who can make good deals, and who can think several steps ahead, yet with the flexibility to change plans on the fly if there’s an injury or something goes awry.

    The GM also ought to be able to communicate to the press. The current situation of Babby saying one thing and Blanks doing the opposite is awkward.

    Also, if this is Gentry’s last contract year, that makes it even more sensible for the Suns to pick a new GM, as that way they can select a coach that goes with the new plan.

  • Tony


    come on, this is my last comment on this particular subject because it is pointless to argue with someone who refuses to accept facts. I’m sure you are aware that there were two Colangelos invested in the Suns franchise. Jerry Colangelo (principal founder/owner) and his son, Brian Colangelo (Team President/GM). Now Scott,when you attempt to argue with me, you must be sure to fact-check before you try to state a claim. In my line of work, it is essential to get your facts straight. For instance, I noticed that you failed to include that, that statement was attributed to Suns President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. Notice that Bryan was not the owner of the franchise and that he stayed with the Sarver-led ownership group until 2006. Thus, just so we are clear. Jerry Colangelo sold the franchise to Sarver in 2004 and his son Bryan stayed as Team President and GM until 2006, when he finally was too fed up with negotiating a contract extension with Robert Sarver. There’s a surprise for you huh?


    I have no disagreement with you regarding JJ and Amare’s worth. Moreover, there’s no question that Sarver would not have been able to afford all four of those guys either. I didn’t even disagree with his refusal to offer Amare a max deal in 2010. However, I do fault him for the players he replaced those All Stars with.


    I have to disagree with you on it not mattering who the cause was for the Suns current predicament. The reason I disagree is that the same person who caused the Suns to be in this position remains and is still the principal owner. I’m sure you know the saying, that it is imperative to learn history otherwise you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Sarver has not learned from his mistakes; most likely, it is because he probably doesn’t believe he’s been such a horrible owner.

  • DBreezy


    I pretty much agree with everything you said. I don’t care if they keep Babby as a contract guy, I just think that the current structure where he is the boss will hinder the Suns from attracting a Sam Presti type. I think it did with Demps who chose a less attractive (IMO) situation in New Orleans where he knew going in he’d have to trade CP3 while working for the league. Sarver and Babby did a lot of wooing to try and get Dell in here.

    The current situation is awkward, but it was not created by Babby or Blanks. I think if Sarver wants that big picture view he should probably hire a guy who wants that semi-retired role in the vein of Jerry West in GS or Walsh in IND. Colangelo makes sense, but wouldn’t happen for obvious reasons. It’s know that Phil Jackson is interested in that kind of a role, but he wants his protégés as a package deal which may or may not fly with Sarver. Also if you hire a guy like PJ or a Larry Brown type you’d have to keep Babby or hire a Tom Penn type to work contracts. I know Penn was considered here before Blanks/Babby were hired.

    I really don’t feel like getting into a big argument about Sarver’s past, but I don’t think it’s a huge leap to say that jobs here aren’t going to pay a lot of money relative to market value. I say that only to point out that some of out of box thinking may be required. You may not get a big name like Phil for the job, but perhaps a less sexy name like Del Harris, Rudy T, etc may be a good fit in the overseer role to some basketball minds and a contract guy.

    My biggest concern right now is trades and the draft. Trades speak for themselves, but I think some may overlook that Blanks is doing work now scouting that could affect the Suns from next June and beyond.

  • DBreezy


    I’m very big on history which I noted in the comments you’re referring to. However as observers without control/input, there are limitations in what we say. Over on AZC in 2011, I was advocating a trade for Beasley based around giving Minny Lopez. My reasoning was that Minny was looking to move Beasley because they had Williams coming in with the #2 pick and were overvaluing it in trade and that the Suns front office of Babby/Blanks had no intention of extending or retaining R.Lo imo. So why not rent Beasley for a year in exchange for a guy they already knew they weren’t going to keep, and see what he could do with Nash and Hill? If it didn’t pan out, let him go as a RFA and you’re not really any worse for the wear. Well we got Beasley, but not the way I wanted to see it. I could cry about it or look at it for what it is going forward.

    I see Sarver the same way. While I have plenty of thoughts about the guy, the history is really the stuff for debates amongst fans at this point. The guy isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Even if the dream of him selling comes true, it’s not happening any time soon. So any solutions to their problems must involve the man. To me that’s not absolution for what he’s done, just knowledge of the reality as a Suns fan.

  • shazam

    heres a quick tutorial on scott..all you need to know when reading his posts…last year i was obsessed with michael redd and followed EVERYTHING i could find on him…scott would often insinuate that redd held out for weeks before signing a contract with the suns..i always asked…scott where are you getting this info,i have to know?..he would ignore me…one day he states that redd did hold out for was no longer an i decided to corner him..i kept asking and asking..finally he said..”i think i read it in the bleacher report”(if youre going to pull stuff out of thin air are you really going to cite bleacher?)…i went back and researched and of course there was nothing there…scott lives in his head and thinks he can enter other peoples heads…he states machinations as absolutes or facts…with that said a lot of geniuses work that way…they allow crazy angles in to their heads to be mulled over until in their mind it becomes fact…they only need to get a few things right that others havent thought of and everyone forgets how often they are wrong…so far scott hasnt hit on his E=mc2 yet…but he will..i have faith in him..youthful.

  • toomuch

    i just dont get it. Did you guys think this was a playoff team? So much negativity, delusions of grandeur, and just too much activity for what this team is. I’m sure the website guys love it, but its ridiculous.

    I cant imagine the activity over on Lakers blogs. They were expected to challenge the best record ever. So it would make sense that everyones posting and going crazy. But these Suns were picked to finish dead last by most experts. Aside from Dragic, theres really no reason to even watch this team.

    Best thing to do is stop participating. I really mean that. Nothing the Suns do this year will be of any importance. Check back in next year and we’ll see what it looks like. Can you obsessed ocd clowns handle that? I doubt it

  • bill.thomas

    @too much: Wow, anonymous social commentary and moralism. Boy, would I just love to have you at MY barbeque !

  • http://none Mikel

    @toomuch Totally agree! Lol everybody was way too optimistic coming in to the season!! i admit i was excited to see our new suns team but i wasnt expecting a playoff run! I still love the suns though!

  • Luka

    As long as Sarver is owner, the Suns go nowhere. Any success Phoenix has had goes right to the Colangelos.
    Sarver had a chance to redeem himself in 2010, but he chose to take a wrecking ball to a team 2 wins away from the finals. The way he lowballed Kerr after all his hard work putting that 2010 team together was flat out inexcusable.

    The only hope we can have is that attendance continues dropping (24th worst in NBA), and the team keeps underperforming. I guarantee Sarver will sell when Babby’s contract expires.

  • cdubb

    @Too much.. you nailed it.

  • shazam

    too much one or very few thought this years suns would be any good to answer that question…your next quote —>”So much negativity, delusions of grandeur, and just too much activity for what this team is”..thanks for your opinion even though you prolly dont have a degree to have that informed opinion..this team has a different history than most..we have come close recently..not being nba darlings is semi new to us..let us adjust AND at the end of the day we are fans of our team..its basketball season..its what we like to do…your next quote —-> “Best thing to do is stop participating. I really mean that. Nothing the Suns do this year will be of any importance. Check back in next year and we’ll see what it looks like. Can you obsessed ocd clowns handle that? I doubt it”…for the most part we have stopped participating..look at our attendance and tv ratings…we just show up here to remind each other that we are upset and waiting for a couple of years to pass so we dont have to be negative….you are new here and just came up with your name and character…why would you go through that trouble?…oh because you are a clown shoe with ocd issues that are slightly different than the ones you cite here?i really like your quote ” So much negativity, delusions of grandeur”…a lot of balls to post a comment with that exact tone while chastising others for it….now go make up a new name and talk about how smart too much is.

  • Scott

    @shazam -

    If I have a source I can quote I usually do, especially when someone asks.

    As for the Bleacher Report, I have indeed used them as a reference, the main time being where I quoted from them to show the history of how the Suns really used their draft picks under Sarver, which was not the way it is commonly described (“Sarver sold all the Suns’ draft picks and pocketed the cash!!!”). The Bleacher Report had this information packaged neatly into what was essentially a description of a train derailment, with moment by moment photos.

    As for Michael Redd delaying signing with the Suns, didn’t the Suns say they had talked to his agent long before Redd actually signed? I have looked and can’t find a quote on that, but that sort of information isn’t readily searchable by Google (or at least I can’t think of search terms that would work). For that matter, I may have gotten that info from a video interview, a report on television, or from some fragment like what may be found regarding Redd and the Suns this past summer on

    On that page there are short reports saying:

    FA Redd being courted by Suns and Bulls
    Jul 6 – 3:37 PM

    Michael Redd taking time in making decision
    Aug 1 – 3:03 PM

    And so on. I imagine what happened in this particular case was that Blanks was keeping Brown and Redd on his back burner while he tried to sign Gordon and Mayo, and when those deals fell through, and Brown was still available, he picked Brown (and not Redd).

    As for me “stating machinations as absolutes or facts,” I’m pretty regular about using phrases like “I think” or “I imagine” or some other cue to signify I’m speculating. BTW, I did it in the paragraph above. If you are speed-reading and gloss over these speculative phrases, that’s hardly my fault.

    @Tony -

    I have been following the Suns since 1992, when Jerry Colangelo was GM. A couple of years later, Jerry turned over the GM reins to his son, and one of Bryan’s first moves was to trade 3x All-Star Dan Majerle to the Cavs for Hot Rod Williams.

    Anyway, I never said Bryan Colangelo was Jerry Colangelo, and I attributed the quote correctly to Bryan. I also clearly stated in my other comments that it was Bryan Colangelo, working as GM for Sarver, who failed to draft Iguodala in 2004, and who failed to retain Joe Johnson.

    Furthermore, I do know that Bryan and Jerry don’t make a popular brand of ice cream, just in case you were thinking I was making that mistake as well. ;)

  • shazam

    @ scott i only mentioned my history from last year and i busted you on it dont confuse it with this year…rarely do i even disagree with you..remember last year you wanted rolo and gortat to start together?…under the guise that we have nothing to lose..hell i jumped on that one and we were the only ones..everyone left us stranded on that island…i see an E=mc2 in your future :)

  • m.i.milliman

    Its the front office and the owners fault. The front office for taking uneducated risks and the owners fault for continuing to let it go on. Sarver won’t fire Gentry or B&B because he doesn’t want to pay them for nothing, he would rather get another year of magic 8ball decision making than to have to pay out. I can’t blame Gentry because what are you supposed to do with a roster like this, win? Not in this league, and certainly not in the West. Sarver isn’t the worst, he’s just not very good, If he were the worst the team would be loosing and loosing money. I don’t think they’re loosing money. He’s a business man and don’t let the foam finger fool you, he’s business first, then fan.

    Did anyone besides B&B really think Beasley was going to turn out?

  • Melon Man

    @ DBreezy

    I thought I was the only guy quoting Beverly Hills Cop II.

  • Luka


    Sarver is widely considered to be one of the worst owners in the NBA. He’s stubborn, ignorant, and frugal. About the worst combination you can have. He never lets people do their jobs, and rewards hard work with a pay cut. The only way he doesn’t lose money, is finding someone who’ll do the job for less. As an owner he doesn’t stand for winning. He’s a clueless corporate tool, who got in way over his head, and probably regrets buying the team.

  • toomuch

    @shazam – LOL take it easy. I think I riled you up with the “obsessed ocd clowns” comment. I just meant it in that shock jock kind of way. Hell, we are all guilty of wasting precious time on these types of blogs. Complete waste of time, but very addicting. We humans just love to hear someone agree with us. Also the main reason blogs do well is because misery loves company.

    All that I was implying is try to step back and remove yourself from the suns for a bit (if its always negative feelings). Otherwise at end of season you’ll realize how much time was wasted here griping about the same old things. Especially when it is plain as day that their struggles will continue and probably get worse.

    And just for one last test for everyone. Start paying attention to the different forums your in. Whether its sports, movies, celebrities, etc. Ask yourself why you are there and what are you gaining from it. And then remember that people are making money off you. (ya, I’m bitter, so what)

  • shazam

    too much…nothing you can write or do will rile me up in the real world…this is just a cyber play ground…dont take your words so one else does so why should you?…with that said…i actually agree with you on all of it but why should you care?..its funny that you bring up shock jock because ive been one (worked with stern and mancow)…but what i really liked is that i often have to remind people that im just a character here who takes both sides of most arguments ,puts them in a blender to goof on people…thats basically what youre doing as what do i gain from it..its a guilty pleasure about a subject i love..i retired young and have earned it :) ….a lot of sites do make money…by biz acumen says this one doesn’t…they love the suns and get free tickets to games and events because they are “media”..anything more than that is just pocket change….they deserve more

  • DBreezy

    @Melon Man,

    Love Aquel Foley….

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Sooo… The Suns gonna win tonight or what :D ? Go Suns!

  • DBreezy

    Speaking of money and different subjects, how much money is ESPN making and going to make on the Lakers this season? They covered them hard all summer and preseason. They along with TNT helped nudge along the Mike Brown departure and are having a field day with the Phil Jackson/D’Antoni thing. To the point where they’ve turned the fact that Pau Gasol simply isn’t playing very well like Kobe said into something bigger.

    Gasol hasn’t been happy since Phil left and first Bynum and now Howard became the featured post player. That wouldn’t have changed if Phil came back as there is no way Phil would have featured Gasol on the block over Howard in the triangle. Gasol would have been Bill Wennington, so stop pouting about it. Perhaps he should talk to his brother or David Robinson about what you have to do when you have two post players regardless of the offensive style chosen. It’s funny, according to, Gasol is actually shooting ‘close’ shots at a 5% higher clip this season than last while shooting at exactly the same clip as last season (66%).

    The best part of all of this drama is that eventually that team will adjust to the each other(lot of new faces) and their 2nd coach, along with Nash returning in what will essentially be a back to back lockout season for him. They will go on some big tear where all involved will be praised by ‘the network’. Then the playoffs will come and they’ll re-raise all the questions they have now to make more drama. It’ll be like having another presidential election.

    The Thunder have to love it though, as I don’t think their players are built for this type of constant media buffoonery and it clearly would have been on them post-finals/post-Harden if the Lakers had gotten off to a normal start.

  • Michael

    Let´s get Pau for Gortat, WJ and the crappy Lakers picks!

    Pau will get his shots for sure, and Marcin can get back to his whining backup role behind D12.

  • DBreezy

    “Let´s get Pau for Gortat, WJ and the crappy Lakers picks!”

    You think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it….

  • Michael

    The sunny Valley… Could be the feeling of Vacation for Pau… :)

    Btw, how much value do those picks have when you throw them into a trade? Can´t find hard numbers for that.

  • DBreezy

    The NBA in their infinite wisdom assigns no trade value for draft picks. This is something I wish was changed in the last cba. My best guess as to why is because the league wants to prevent teams salary dumping players for draft picks as an attempt at competitive balance. But in a league with an increasingly punitive luxury tax and scaled pay system I think that notion is past it’s time. It makes for complicated trades when a team voluntarily wishes to trade a player for picks to start over or adjust to salary/luxury cap. I’d rather see teams be able to do what they want to do in trades and not have to do things like include a retired Keith Van Horn in a trade to make things work.

  • Polish_fan

    I would like to say few words about lat game.

    I can see that everyone are saying that Dragic is the best player in that team and its ‘surprising’ that he was sitting at the bench during 4th quater.

    If You would pay attention just to him, You would find out that his first option in the offence was always a shot/penetration or something else… anything but a pass or setting a nice offensive play for his teammates. It does not matter if its a pass to Gortat, Beast or any other player…. PLUS his deffensive skills which wasn`t at the best level gave a result – taking him off the playing ground ….

  • m.i.milliman

    @ Luka

    Okay then. I won’t argue with that. I basically said it anyway, just not so angsty about it I guess.

    @ Polish_fan

    Your not wrong about Dragic, the only thing I might say in his defense is, look who he has around him. Not much. He is the best player out there, but still, you’re right, you can’t do it alone. You gotta play as a team and then maybe you’ll become greater than the sum of your parts. That was the genius of Nash. RIP

  • john


    “However, I do fault him for the players he replaced those All Stars with. ”

    While I’m also not happy with the players that replaced Amar’e and JJ (although Boris did work out pretty well for the Suns for a couple years), I don’t seem to put as much of the blame in the lap of the owner as you do (at least not directly). I tend to put more of the blame on the GM (yes, I know the GM is hired by the owner), as the GM is the person making the actual personnel decisions 99% of the time (unless you have an owner/GM like Jerry Jones or an owner like Cuban, whose level of commitment to detail and sabermetrics is seemingly unmatched in the owner community). I blame Sarver for not finding the right guy to bring in the Suns’ next big star (yet), but I also realize a lot of that is based on luck and circumstance.

    For instance, unless you have someone named LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Dwight Howard on your team, I don’t think you’re going to be winning a championship in the NBA in the next 5 years. Were the Suns EVER going to get any of those guys? What megastars or just plain stars were available for the Suns to sign in the last 3 or 4 years? ‘Melo was never going anywhere except New York. ZBo wasn’t leaving Memphis. Bosh wanted to stick with his buddies. D-Wade is all Miami through and through. LeBron… no way. Howard wanted to be a Laker the whole time, in my opinion, no matter how much the media wanted to make Brooklyn or Houston or Dallas seem like a possibility. There’s no way Dirk was leaving Dallas.

    There aren’t that many stars in the NBA to go around, and the teams that are lucky enough to land one do everything in their power to keep them, and if those stars DO happen to leave, they will typically land in one of the top 5 markets (or a situation like Miami, which was unprecedented). Phoenix has only made one LANDMARK trade in its history that I can even recall, and that was Barkley. Even the Nash trade can’t be considered “landmark,” in my opinion, because no one could have imagined Two-Time would become Two-Time.

    There are things that I wish would have happened differently, but it’s not my style to sit in my chair and heavily criticize everyone involved when I don’t have intimate knowledge of the circumstances. It’s a lot more complicated than just saying, “We should have got that guy,” or “We shouldn’t have made that move,” in my opinion.

  • Polish_fan

    he has the same guys like Nash isnt it? But in stead of creating positioning for other players he firstly thinks about scoring or complicating the game in the offense than play a simple basketball. the suns are born to play run and gun fast games like in the conf finales

  • m.i.milliman

    @ Polish_fan. I’m not saying I disagree with you, but Dragic is a different player than Nash and they need a different system. But Gortat has to take on some of the blame because if he were as good as he says he is he’d be doing the other things to make the team better like rebounding and blocking shots, etc. But Dragic needs to improve his game too, no doubt.

  • BCrayZ

    That first comment Harry isn’t just mean.

    Down right evil.

    Play ball?

    Just know that it hurts to get hurt. That pain can be near unbearable.