Dallas Mavericks 97, Phoenix Suns 94 — No satisfaction


The Phoenix Suns organization put together quite an evening at US Airways Center Thursday for “Satisfaction Guaranteed Night.” The in-game entertainment was lively, the concession lines were packed and the 17,517 fans in attendance (a season high) seemed to be enjoying themselves for much of the night.

The only problem was the on-court product didn’t match up to the surrounding elements, as the Suns dropped their fifth straight game in a 97-94 loss on national television to the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas Mavericks' Derek Fisher (6) is fouled by Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic, of Slovenia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Dallas Mavericks’ Derek Fisher (6) is fouled by Phoenix Suns’ Goran Dragic, of Slovenia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

From the opening tip, it seemed as though the Suns would treat their home crowd to a pleasurable experience, one free from talk of promotions and marketing schemes. Michael Beasley found Marcin Gortat for a beautiful alley-oop dunk on the game’s opening possession, and Phoenix raced out to a 13-3 lead before you could even say “refund.”

However, the Suns went scoreless over their next eight possessions and Rick Carlisle’s veteran-laden squad had no problem getting back in the contest. Despite their red-hot start, the Suns found themselves deadlocked (23-23) with Dallas after a quarter of play.

Luis Scola and Jermaine O’Neal combined for 12 points and six rebounds off the pine in the second quarter, and the Suns’ bench held firm, just as it did two nights earlier in Memphis. But while Phoenix was able to pull slightly ahead of the Mavericks 44-40 at the half, a lack of production from Gortat and Beasley in the first half was only a sign of things to come.

Coming out halftime, the Mavericks created separation with a crippling 23-4 run, as the Suns failed to hit a field goal over a seven-minute span in the third quarter.

“The ball was sticking,” Markieff Morris said of the Suns’ third quarter offensive lull. “We weren’t getting as much movement as usual and they were making tough shots.”

O.J. Mayo, who visited the Suns’ facility over the summer during his free agency tour, made sure to remind Phoenix’s front office what they missed out on at shooting guard. Mayo’s two three-point shots highlighted Dallas’ game-changing spurt and from there it was same old, same old for the Suns: play from behind, make an impressive run, pull even but eventually fall short.

After missing 13 of their first 14 shots in the quarter, the Suns converted their last four attempts from the field to cut Dallas’ lead to eight after 36 minutes.

Phoenix, of course, also made things interesting in the final frame but did so without the services of Beasley.

Before Thursday’s game, Alvin Gentry suggested the coaching staff would likely “tweak” the starting lineup in the coming days. Although that could be taken a number of ways, the obvious insinuation was that Beasley would likely be the odd man out.

Beasley’s latest audition to remain a starter did little to instill any confidence in Gentry. After hitting two of his first three shots from the field, Beasley went ice cold. He kept shooting and shooting, but nothing would fall for the former No. 2 overall pick.

The small forward flung his headband into the crowd minutes into the third quarter as if to wave the white flag and his exit would follow soon after at the 7:24 mark. On the night, Beasley finished with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.

In addition to Beasley’s lack of production, the Suns were dealt another blow when P.J. Tucker suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee on the final play of the third quarter.

Without a clear option at small forward, Gentry opted for a three-guard lineup of Goran Dragic, Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown down the stretch.  And low and behold, it worked.

Phoenix hit its first four shots of the fourth quarter, Telfair and Brown converted on several key jump shots,  Scola added six points off the pine and Markieff Morris recorded five of his 17 points as the comeback effort was in full effect.

The Mavericks also didn’t appear as though they had any interest in winning the contest (six fourth quarter turnovers), and Gentry’s plucky squad managed to crawl its way back from 16 down to tie the game at 87 with 48 seconds remaining.

When push came to shove, however, the better team looked like the better team. Mayo converted a tough 21-foot jump shot in the face of Telfair with 34 seconds to go,  Goran Dragic responded with an ugly miss on a point-blank layup — the Suns’ sixth miss from inside of three feet — with 24 seconds remaining and Dallas secured the road victory with six late free throws from Darren Collison and Vince Carter.

The Mavericks snapped their three-game road losing streak, and in the process left local patrons and Suns players alike asking the same question: When will it end?

“It’s always the same story,” Goran Dragic said. “We came up short. They make a great run in third quarter. We are trailing in the fourth quarter and then we try to get back and we did. It’s just tough. You’re tired.”

When Luis Scola came to Phoenix via amnesty waivers in the offseason, he thought he was coming to a team with a lot of potential. After the Suns’ loss Thursday, he wasn’t shy about voicing his displeasure with the team’s early-season struggles.

“It’s not a sense of frustration, it’s frustration,” Scola said. “We are losing. We’ve lost five games in a row, and we’re looking bad. We’ve got to find a way to win. It’s not a sense. We’re just playing bad and are making mistakes and are losing games.

“I know there’s enough talent here. If you take out the bad part of the game [against Dallas], we played great. …We’re capable of playing well, but we’re just not capable of playing well for 48 minutes.”

As for changes, Gentry said after the game the team “will more than likely” move Beasley to the bench heading into Saturday’s road game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

While it was unclear if Beasley could sense a change was coming, he was rather reflective following yet another underwhelming performance.

“I don’t know what it is, because I come into every game optimistic about my play and my shots,” Beasley said. “It’s just not clicking for me right now. It’s not anything anyone else is doing, it’s all me.

“Of course I’m frustrated, because I visualize myself as something I am not right now. Not to say I can’t be, but as of right now I’m not playing as well I can play, as well as I know I can play and as well as the team needs me to play.”

And 1

Four of the Suns’ last six losses have come down to a play here or a play there in the waning moments. In Philadelphia, it was a missed Michael Beasley layup that did in Phoenix. In Toronto, Shannon Brown failed to convert at the basket on a little bunny. Against the Grizzlies, a lack of execution and clock management forced Jermaine O’Neal into a tough jump shot as time expired in regulation. And on Thursday night, Goran Dragic’s missed layup ultimately cost the Suns a chance to tie, which begs the question: Are they any closer to finding a late-game option?

“In this case, I think our go-to guy is going to be the guy that’s going good that night,” Alvin Gentry said. “It’s happened on other teams. I don’t say night in and night out, ‘Okay this is our guy.’ With this team, until someone rises above it all, we’ll go with this.” …

The Mavericks snapped their three-game road losing streak in large part due to their bench effort. Brandan Wright scored a season-high 16 points, Chris Kaman had his way with Gortat (three points and six rebounds) in the paint and added 15 points and seven rebounds and Darren Collison connected on 10 free throw attempts in the victory. Dallas’ bench outscored its starters 56-41. …

Thursday night’s game became a battle of attrition. In addition to Tucker’s MCL sprain, the Suns lost Jermaine O’Neal in the third quarter after he was poked in the eye. He did not return. Rick Carlisle also suffered a key blow to his lineup, as former Sun Shawn Marion (10 points and five rebounds) suffered a strained groin injury in the second half. …

Lost in another defeat for the Suns was the play of second-year forward Markieff Morris. The former No. 13 pick recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

  • shazam

    in this years finals the suns will lose to my high school team 4-2

  • shazam

    and we are all in our 50s now

  • Dan Smith

    oh boy….. :s

  • Dan Smith

    in this years finals the suns will lose to my high school badminton team 4-2….

  • shazam

  • Serek

    Good game by Morris.

    On the other hand, unbelievable as it is, we are running out of small forwards. Maybe we’ll see our another top pick play some more.
    Bring in Johnson and Garrett to the second unit, Beasley as PF (maybe he can find some shots there). It cannot be worse, or can it?

  • Dan Smith

    Again, why not a simple coaching adjustment long ago, put Scola back in the starting lineup and let Morris play SF.
    Let Beasley try PF…off the bench, a position he’s more suited for and the numbers back it up. Everyone pointed this fact out as soon as Phoenix signed him, he’s simply better and more effective as a power forward.

  • bill.thomas

    Picture tells it all.

    Old man Fisher hasn’t had a chance against Dragic in at least 3 years.

    Youtube it. Then youtube Tim Donaghy.

  • bill.thomas

    Oh, BTW, welcome to the matador defense. I guess the
    Mavs team took Kaman and Wright out for dinner on the town. Well deserved !!!!

  • bill.thomas

    Need to get Gary Forbes in here ASAP on veteran minimum to fix Beasley/Tucker situation.

  • bill.thomas

    Oh, I forgot about Johnson. Is he still on this team ??

    What about Barbosa? Oh yeah, we blew him off.

    What about Mayo? Oh yeah, we blew him off.

    What about Meeks? Oh yeah, we blew him off.

    What about Willie Green? Oh yeah, we blew him off.

    What about Hill? Oh yeah, we blew him off.

    Is there a pattern, somehow ?????????????

  • bill.thomas

    Guess what, Lon.

    You don’t have the luxury of blowing people off.

  • bill.thomas

    Fisher, grimacing when there’s nothing to grimace about. I hope his kid dies of cancer.

  • Luka

    The Suns were embarrassed as a franchise on national TV. TNT had their fun taking jabs post game. Sarver looked like a desperate weasel cooking under the bright lights… I know it sounds bad, but I found the entire thing hilarious.

    As for the game itself? The Suns didn’t play try IMO. They sleepwalked until the 4th quarter. Beasley again settled for jumpers. Gortat again was a no show. It seems like any opposing big had a field day playing Gortat. Yeah, the offense was sticking, but the Suns made no effort defensively to turn the tide until they got down double digits.

    Lon Babby reportedly was instructed to take a UHaul with the fans’ refunded ticket stubs and make a late night trip to San Tan Valley. Where bags upon bags of tickets are to dumped in the desert. Sarver is instructing the employees at the rebate center to cooperate or face dismissal.

  • bill.thomas

    Let me retract that. I hope his kid lives. I hope HE dies of cancer in about 6 months.

  • bill.thomas

    Gortat?? He was cooking dinner tonight for Wright, Mayo and Kaman.

    He has become quite Americanized. I believe it was a Jambalaya dish.

  • ladmo

    dig me up and put me in coach

  • bill.thomas

    Lon should just be licking stamps and hand-addressing refund envelopes. He can’t do any more damage there.

  • bill.thomas

    Reversal of Fortune: Wasn’t there a cadaver still in play?

    Maybe Alan Dershowitz can bring a semi-warmed-over body to fill a role at the next game.

  • Luka

    Lol…

    Lon Babby: I just want to say thanks to our wonderful fans. Our organization prides itself in fan satisfaction, and we feel we handled this evening with the utmost pride and professionalism. We still believe we’re very much a work in a progress, but thank the fans for making this transition a seamless process.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    “Satisfaction Guaranteed Night”

    “…maybe better come back
    maybe next week
    ’cause you see I’m on
    a losing streak..”

  • bill.thomas

    Hole !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bill.thomas

    Bring on Sacto. They’ll probably beat us even worse if Cousins is out injured.

  • bill.thomas

    Cousins should get tendinitis for us. Will guarantee a Sacto win. We will play down to and below any level whatsoever.

  • bill.thomas

    I don’t think we should have any more practices, period. They’re obviously not working. Everyone should go on a semi-vacay.

  • bill.thomas

    Every single player on this team can get a job (yep, that’s spelled JOB) coaching high school basket ball and teaching either ESL or Ebonics–or both. That will pretty much solve the problem.

  • bill.thomas

    League should just convert Phoenix to a D-League franchise.

  • bill.thomas

    Lon, how much does the GM of a D-League franchise make? Probably more than you could make practicing law.

  • bill.thomas

    Oh, Marshall is in the D-League. Convenient.

  • bill.thomas

    Lon, I know you can pay your mortgage with the salary of a D-League GM. Just drink the Kool Aide, Champ.

  • bill.thomas

    Nervous around the basket? Maybe you should take Midal.

  • bill.thomas

    Midol. Great med for those such as our players.

  • bill.thomas

    Lon, enjoy the lobster. There won’t be many more nights like this.

  • bill.thomas

    Just mail it in !!!!

  • bill.thomas

    Imagine what a breath of fresh air it would be if Blanks and Babby were to just hand in their resignations tomorrow, let Sarver pay them till the end of the year, then move on. What a weight would be lifted from the shoulders of the players.

  • Yohance

    I did not wanna say it but I watch the game and saw gentry’s lineups and how he utilized timeouts and did not show the fire we need as a head coach. Let me be the first to say it fire gentry now. We need to shake things up. Stan Van Gundy would have been living with this kind of effort. Not to mention he is familiar with Gortat and developing young talent.

  • bill.thomas

    @Yohance: I think you mean “livid.” Yeah, bring on SVG, but really need to clear our Blanks and Babby before doing anything else.

    I would not even change a janitorial assignment before I got rid of them.

  • bill.thomas

    Speaking of janitorial assignments, I bet Lon is great with a broom.

  • DBreezy

    Walking in a lottery wonderland….

  • john

    @bill.thomas

    Take it easy with the multi-posts, man. Learn some netiquette.

    I’m usually not one to point this sort of stuff out, and I’m guilty of the occasional double-post, but this thread has 39 posts (40 once I post), and 26 of them are yours.

  • melon man

    Maybe we need a new coach. Fine. I can tell you it better not be either Van Gundy. I cannot stand either one of them!

    We are so screwed as a team. Gortat has gotta go. End of story. The same can be said for Beasely. While Morris had a good game it appears from the stat line (couldn’t watch due to work) I can’t help but wonder where these rebounds are more often. Morris needs to put the power into Power Forward. We need shooters and bangers, Suns are weak and apathetic.

    This is the most all-in year I’ve had with b-ball in a long time and leave it to the Suns to just blow. Lame.

  • Jason A.

    I’m glad I passed on the League Pass this year. This hurts me to watch. I’m shocked we (Beasley) are this bad. What happened??

  • Scott

    @Jason A. -

    IMO, what happened is the Suns didn’t go for players who have high IQ, high motor, and defensive skills.

    To me, that’s where you start when you’re looking for new players. Within that group, you prioritize for offense, experience, durability, and athleticism.

    If you look at players that way, Mayo is an obvious pick, and Beasley isn’t even on the list.

  • ladmo

    agree w/ scott

  • SHAZAM

    Hey Ladmo I agree with Scott on this one too…seems simple..but makes perfect sense

  • john

    Defense defense defense. I’m all about it. If you can’t play it, you can’t win. Even in the SSOL days, those teams could manage stops when they needed them.

    Defense comes down to quite a few things, but it has been proven time and again that even a BAD career defensive player can be turned into a good/serviceable/decent team defensive player when motivated.

    Case in point: Vince Carter. He has never had anything remotely resembling a motor or a desire to play defense, but he’s doing quite well for himself in Dallas on that end of the floor.

    This Suns coaching staff is not getting its players to commit to the defensive end. If Vince Freaking Carter can develop a team defense frame of mind, then any player on this Suns roster should be able to do the same if the right buttons are pushed.

    Bottom line, in my opinion, is that this coaching staff needs to go (a lot of the players need to go also, but the staff for sure).

  • SHAZAM

    i agree bill should try to fit more in each post but it doesnt bother me that idea occurrences doesnt all hit him at the same time

  • john

    Not fitting every idea you have into one post is one thing.

    Fitting each bad idea you have into 26 individual posts is another thing.

    Trolls will be trolls. It’s the nature of the beast that is the internet. However, there comes a point when enough is enough. At least some level of netiquette is necessary for all revenue-generating sites. Guys like bill.thomas eventually ruin the experience for everyone else.

  • Brandon

    All fans should be asking for their money back to show Sarver how unhappy we are with the product he continues to put on the floor.

  • john

    Boohoo, you guys think we have it bad as Suns fans?

    Look at the dozens of franchises that rarely, if ever, have winning seasons. The Suns have been to the WCF three times in the past decade.

    Look at the dozens of franchises that have been relocated because of diminishing revenue streams, falling profits, and poor TV ratings. You really want Phoenix to fall into that?

    I’m so sick of hearing people complain about the poor product and act like they’re entitled to something better for their hard-earned money. Stop being bandwagoners and just love the team for what it is in ANY given year.

    That being said, I understand the frustration a lot of people have with the team. Would I rather watch the SSOL, constantly contending Suns? Of course. It was a much more exciting product. I know it’s more painful to watch a bad product because I’m there at 15 games every year, win or lose, 57-25 or 25-57. Why? Because the ONLY thing that keeps teams afloat in mid-markets in down years is the die-hard fans. The people who love the team, and not the entertainment.

    People who don’t love the team have no right to stand on a soapbox. And yes, if you refuse to support the team just because they suck, you do not love the team. You cannot convince me otherwise.