Preview: Memphis Grizzlies (20-10) at Phoenix Suns (12-22)


Memphis Grizzlies 92, Phoenix Suns 81

Grizzlies

Suns

PHOENIX — After stringing together three porous offensive quarters Friday against Utah, the going gets no easier for the Phoenix Suns Sunday evening when they host the best defensive team in the West, the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies yield  just 96.5 points per 100 possessions, second to only Indiana in the NBA, and they have held the Suns to about that season average at 96.0 per 100 in their first two meetings. Only five teams have defended the Suns better, according to the NBA’s advanced stats tool.

However, the Suns have also defended the Grizzlies relatively well this season for their standards at least by holding them to a clean 100.0 points per 100 possessions. They have only done better against five other squads.

Memphis will be out for revenge after the Suns squeaked out an 82-80 victory back on Dec. 12 in US Airways Center when Goran Dragic put a move on Marc Gasol and scooped in the game-winning shot in the final second. The first meeting in Tennessee was close as well with the Suns falling in overtime after leading most of the game and having a chance to win at the regulation buzzer also.

The Suns enter as losers of seven of eight, and before that they lost seven in a row with an odd four-game winning streak sandwiched in between. They are the second-worst team in the West, yet head coach Alvin Gentry has not given up hope, at least publicly.

“We’ve got a big challenge coming in the next game,” Gentry said. “We’re playing one of the best teams in the league, and we’re just in a position where we have to treat all of these games almost like they’re playoff games. We’ve got to dig ourselves out and get back into the race, and the only way we can do that is we’ve got to win games. To lose another home game is not a good thing. Some kind of way we’ve got to put this behind us because we play a really good team coming in here on Sunday.”

The frustrating part about the Suns is that they have put together a number of good stretches in just about every game, which is why they have played so many close games, yet they have rarely been good enough to win them, save for that last Memphis game and a few other select examples. It’s why the Suns have routinely gotten down by double digits before fighting back to make it a game and ultimately succumbing.

Friday’s game was another example with the beautiful offensive basketball played in the first quarter and then the isolation-heavy ball ball they played thereafter. The Suns lost their rhythm and they never regained it.

“For us it’s watching that film and saying, ‘Hey, when we play this way this is the type of team we are, and when we don’t it’s tough,’” Dudley said, referring to how well the Suns play when they move the ball. “It’s kind of hard. … We’re trying to put everyone in their right positions to become a full team, and we’re struggling with that.”

Added Marcin Gortat, “It starts happening every game right now. We’re just not playing the game we’re supposed to play. … All of a sudden, everybody’s trying to be a hero and that’s not the way you can win a basketball game. We’ve got to do what Coach tells us to do.”

On Friday it started happening when the bench unit entered to begin the second quarter, which prompted Gentry to play Dragic, Dudley and Gortat for almost the entire second half. It will be interesting to see what Gentry does with his rotations tonight, as he could decide to stagger rest for the starters instead of utilizing the shift method of substitution.

Whatever he does, it won’t matter if the Suns play as sloppy as they did during the last three quarters on Friday night.

  • SHAZAM

    i read that the suns have the 2nd lowest payroll in the nba..is that true?

  • azbballfan

    Yep 57,208,596 is what the payroll is according to

    Hoopshype.com that site will

    i tell you the salaries from every team

    no shock the Lakers have the highest payroll

    at a tad over 100 million

  • Anonymous

    This franchise was headed downhill after Amare was traded.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    Nobody ever traded Amare

  • Ty-Sun

    In hindsight, this franchise might be better off today if they actually HAD traded Amare.

  • Harry

    SHAZAM,

    I just wrote a long post on your question regarding how to proceed from the previous game. Go to the previous topic. If you want to follow up, it would be great. Interesting topic.

  • azbballfan

    I am pretty sure i read somewhere that Stoudemre went to NY in a sign and trade deal where the Suns got some 2nd round pick and a trade exception

    here is the link

    http://www.nba.com/knicks/news/sign-trade_stoudemire.html

  • Scott

    @SHAZAM -

    The Suns were trying to keep some cap room so they could potentially take on a player with a bad contract in exchange for a good player or pick.

  • azbballfan

    Well if they were trying to do that, it really blew up in their face

    they ended up spending that money on Babbys former clients Turkoglu and Josh Childress
    and then the rest on Frye and Warrick

    we all know how that turned out

    i was gonna hold out some hope that the 2nd rounder we got from new york would be ok then i saw it was top 55

    there are 60 picks in the draft so unless you find the next Ginobli who the Spurs took at 58 like a decade ago you aint gonna find much with a 2nd round pick

  • Anonymous

    WESLEY JOHNSON!!!!!!!!

  • Fan in Chi Town

    My bad. I thought Amare was just a standard UFA signing.

  • bill.thomas

    Amare was just a standard UFO sighting.

  • SHAZAM

    @HARRY , AZBBALLFAN fantastic posts on previous thread….harry i cant wait for you to finish w/ dragic etc.

  • bill.thomas

    Shazam if the caps key on your keyboard is unreliable, just let me know I will shit you a new one.

  • SHAZAM

    bill . thomas quote from yesterday ——>”Sorry about all the stupid overposting. I let some things bothering me go to my head and got compulsive while drinking. Talking to my self on here I guess, and not a good idea at all to be on here in that mental state.
    I’ll try hard not to have it happen again.”….MAYBE ITS TIME TO PUT THE COMPUTER DOWN BILL AND CALL YOUR SPONSOR…WE DONT CLOSE THREADS AT VOS WITH “KEEP COMING BACK”..ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOU..PLEASE GO TO YOU AA MEETING AND HEAR IT

  • bill.thomas

    @Shazam: Please get a job at BK and get out of your parents’ basement. You Iranians are getting really surreal. Go back to your home country!

  • bill.thomas

    ALL IRANIANS BACK TO IRAN !!!!!

  • bill.thomas

    ALL IRANIANS BACK TO IRAN !!!!

  • bill.thomas

    ALL IRANIANS BACK TO IRAN !!

  • bill.thomas

    @Shazam: BK has jobs for you Iranians.

  • bill.thomas

    Shazam, I got a free keyboard for U, jus give me your home AD.

  • bill.thomas

    The Losers that post on here are a mirror of this franchise. Someone got to get the pricks offa here.

  • bill.thomas

    All Iranians back to Iran !!!

  • azbballfan

    Looks like the Suns lost again, but there were some positives.

    Wes Johnson played well i thoght

    Tucker had a great game

    Suns had too many turn overs

    and couldnt stop Memphis front line

    Gentry probably waited too late to bring the starters back in, but at this point, he is probably burned out trying to motivate his team

    Players have to show effort and have to want to be here

    Since Gentry didnt blow up the team and sign middling role players to oversized contracts, i would say its not his fualt.

    So, next home game, does Sarver show up with a paper bag over his head?

  • bill.thomas

    All Iranians back to Iran. Let’s get down to it !!!

  • Scott

    @SHAZAM -

    I think you asked about what I would do to fix the Suns. My opinion at the moment is pretty much the same as it has been right along.

    1) Find a replacement for Blanks. I’m not sure who that should be, but perhaps it should be Babby’s job to find a new GM. I want someone smart … a mastermind type, as I’ve said before, or as Harry said in quoting Barkley, an Ivy League guy.

    2) When Babby has a list of candidates, I want Sarver to be the person who makes the selection – or who rejects the whole list, if it’s insufficient – with no input from other owners, especially Steve Kerr. I like Kerr, but my impression is that he’s had too much of an influence on this team and most of it has not gone well.

    3) Ideally, Sarver hires someone like Kevin Pritchard or Sam Presti: a person who can make good deals, who understands the game and the needs of the team, who picks well in the draft, and who can think several steps ahead.

    4) Have this new GM come in and evaluate Gentry. If the GM likes what Gentry is doing, and finds that a lot of Gentry’s problems are indeed personnel-based, or rooted in the demands of the previous GM, then fine. But, personally, I think Gentry ought to go based on what I see as a fan.

    Gentry is very likeable, but I don’t see him as being other than a decent middle of the pack coach. If the plan is to win a championship, then you probably need a champion coach, someone who gets the most out of even the less talented players.

    I have no serious recommendations for GM or coach. I had wanted the Suns to sign Pritchard when he left Portland, but they went with Blanks instead.

    Speaking of Portland, I was always impressed with the way Nate McMillan’s teams competed, even when their team was chronically depleted by injuries and they were using rookies at key spots. If there’s no better candidate for coach, I’d consider him.

    Also, while I like the idea of the Suns working to develop young players, I’m really not sure what is going on in that department. I’d like to keep that feature of the team, but the new GM and coach ought to re-evaluate that system and personnel to make sure it is working properly.

    As for Babby being kept or released, I’m somewhat ambivalent on it, as I don’t know what he is responsible for aside from representing the team’s interest in contract negotiations. Some people assume he was the one who brought Childress, Turkoglu, and Warrick on board, but I’m not aware of any specific information on his role in this. I don’t know who takes responsibility for picking those players, or why they were picked.

    But the woes the Suns have faced under the current management come from poor decisions on which players to get, how much to pay them, and when to put them on the floor; so they point clearly, to me, at Blanks and Gentry.

  • SHAZAM

    @ scott totally agree w/ working with the younger players and their development..its mostly the only option left when it comes to players this and prolly next year…on another note i dont think its a stretch to put some blame on baby for turkeyglue and childress ..babby was repping them at the time and it was his job to shove them somewhere for max money..i agree about kerr but fear sarver because he’s the one who took the babby shoving

  • bill.thomas

    @shazam: “Prolly”: Totally Shakeperean you have invented a term.

    But Tehran beckons.

  • bill.thomas

    Tehran Beckons. Doesn’t It?

  • Scott

    @SHAZAM -

    It’s hard to know about Sarver. On the one hand, it seems everybody blames him for everything that goes wrong, so he must be a colossal idiot. But on the other hand, as a successful finance guy he probably has a much higher IQ than all of the guys working under him, including co-owner Kerr – whose main job was to run the floor and shoot 3s – plus Blanks and Gentry.

    If Sarver has any brains at all, hopefully he sees by now that he needs a high IQ guy for GM, someone more like him – an educated businessman – and not a glorified scout (Blanks), former player (Kerr), or owner’s son (Colangelo).

  • bill.thomas

    @Shazam: How bout some Iranian Turkeyglu sandwich for your dinner.

    Seems Appropo.

  • bill.thomas

    @Shazam: I will shit you a new one any time !

  • Scott

    Just as a side note … please don’t over-emphasize the “businessman” part in the previous post. I don’t mean a stuffed shirt with an MBA or some anonymous someone who sells widgets is the man for the job. And when I say “high IQ,” I don’t mean they need to be from Caltech or MIT.

    Both Presti and Pritchard played college basketball., and Pritchard actually played for a few years in the NBA. But they have had, generally, a good and successful approach to the game.

    The best name I can put on what the Suns need at GM is a “mastermind.” Someone who can make a working team out of individual players with a variety of skills and weaknesses, and keep this team successful year after year by changing the parts as needed and keeping the salaries and egos in check.

    Blanks is not this type of guy. He picked Brooks over Dragic, plus Telfair, Beasley, and Brown. Whoever picked Childress, Warrick, and Turkoglu was not the right guy either. All of those personnel decisions were tone deaf.

  • SHAZAM

    Childress, Warrick, and Turkoglu were picked by sarver it was that period when we didnt have an FO..right after kerr left…sarvers biz resume isn’t how you imagine it scott..he is a trust fund baby who almost lost the entire family fortune in the real estate crash

  • azbballfan

    I think Nate McMillan deserves to coach somewhere, and i think what the portland upper management did to him was alot of bullying and pathetic narcissism

    They also got rid of prichard and rich cho

    i think they got rid of pritchard on draft day if i recall correctly.

    an organization is only as good as the people running it

  • Tony

    @SHAZAM,

    please take Scott’s responses with a grain of salt. For instance, his quote, “I like Kerr, but my impression is that he’s had too much of an influence on this team and most of it has not gone well,” is absolutely false. There is no reasonable basis to support the assertion that Kerr’s influence has been more of a detriment to the Suns roster than Sarver’s influence. Kerr has only a small stake in the ownership group of the Suns, which Sarver maintains as the majority owner. Although Scott is likely to point out that he supported the hiring of Babby and Blanks publicly, that means extremely little, especially considering that he didn’t leave on the best of terms-since he left his position as GM because Sarver demanded he take a pay cut. To expect him to publicly bash the hirings of Babby and Blanks is ridiculous especially considering Kerr has never been known to be a person who complains to the media about his concerns.

    Moreover, Scott’s next fallacy is to assume that because of Sarver’s wealth, that he necessarily must be an extremely intelligent person. What Scott fails to point out is that Sarver inherited most of his wealth from his father, who was a successful businessman in Phoenix and who upon dying, devised his wealth to his son, Robert Sarver. Furthermore, Sarver was one of the bankers who received a bailout from the feds to prevent his real estate business from failing. So, it should be readily apparent that, contrary to Scott’s assertion, Robert Sarver has not demonstrated any superior intellect whatsoever. That’s not to claim he’s not intelligent, but merely that if not for his inheritence, and judging the quality of his performance as the Suns principal owner over the past 9 years, suggests that he’s far from competent.