San Antonio Spurs 108, Phoenix Suns 99 -- Too much Tony

Weathering 20 points from Tony Parker through the first 40 minutes of the game and also Manu Ginobili’s attempt to take over after being whacked in the face by Shannon Brown, the Phoenix Suns led 88-86 early in the fourth quarter and looked poised for a tight game against the San Antonio Spurs.

But the usual problems began to pop up in the Suns’ 108-99 loss to the Spurs.

A lineup of Jared Dudley, Markieff Morris, P.J. Tucker, Luis Scola and Sebastian Telfair didn’t just fail to score without a dangerous ball-handler or playmaker, but turnovers plagued Phoenix. With that, the Spurs were sparked to a 10-0 run behind seven points from Parker and built a lead as big as 11 to hold off the Suns on Saturday night in San Antonio.

That came behind 31 points and seven assists from Parker. And it was despite strong games from Dudley, who scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor, and Goran Dragic, who put up a nine-point, 10-assist effort.

Inconsistencies boiled up elsewhere for Phoenix.

Michael Beasley was on the good end of that, scoring a season-high 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting to go with six rebounds and two assists. His assertiveness on both ends continued to look promising, and his confidence in the midrange game and even in attacking the rim told of a player with as fresh a mindset as his new hairdo.

On the bad side of the hard-to-understand Suns’ individual play was center Marcin Gortat, whose miscues built up into missed second-chance points, layups and then floating defensive focus. He grabbed 12 rebounds but hit just 4-of-12 shots for nine points. His passiveness in defensive rotations wasn’t the proactive approach interim head coach Lindsey Hunter would likely approve of.

Dragic’s defense, of course, could be partially to blame for Parker’s 13-of-17 shooting performance that was at its peak to start the game, then to end it.

The matchup problem didn’t make it easy for the Slovenian point guard, however. And the loss was most disappointing for the Suns because they played with the Spurs punch-for-punch for all but the quick two-plus minutes of that 10-0 fourth-quarter run. The first seven points of that run were by Parker against Telfair, and the Suns also gave the ball up three times during that stretch.

That resting period for Dragic ended up being the knockout punch for Phoenix. For the game, Dragic posted a zero in the plus-minus statistic.

Overall, Phoenix simply didn’t have that often-talked-about, coveted star power to keep up with Parker and Ginobili, the latter of whom had 20 points off the bench. When they weren’t turning it over, the Suns played better team ball than the Spurs, posting 30 total assists on 41 made field goals. On the other hand, San Antonio won the turnover battle with nine miscues themselves and scored 22 points off 17 Phoenix giveaways.

Closing the game again became the Suns’ biggest issue, and they were outscored 27-17 in the final period.

The Suns shot 51 percent from the floor for the game, a number that would have been higher had it not been for missed shots in the interior by not only Gortat but Scola as well. The Argentinian went 3-of-10 from the floor after two efficient outings leading into Saturday.

Phoenix didn’t have the guns to keep up with a San Antonio team that shot 49 percent. Dragic didn’t get to the foul stripe once after finding his way there 14 times against the Clippers on Thursday. Tucker’s 11 points – he added 10 rebounds and four assists – made him the only player outside of Dudley and Beasley to reach double-figures.

For a team that can’t afford inconsistencies – individual or mid-game ones – the Suns put up a fight but had no room for error against a Spurs team that has now won 16 straight at home and even without Tim Duncan is one of the most solid offensive units in the NBA.

And 1

  • Jermaine O’Neal, who has missed the three games of the Lindsey Hunter era with an irregular heartbeat, has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Dallas, according to Paul Coro.
  • Jared Dudley appeared to re-injure the right wrist as he continually grimaced and inspected it, but it didn’t appear to hurt his shooting stroke.
  • Shannon Brown was ejected on a flagrant two foul for slapping Manu Ginobili across the face after getting beat on a drive before the end of the third quarter. The play and final call after a review by the officials might have been aided by the previous few plays between the two players, when Ginobili and Brown were getting physical.

  • DBreezy

    You still don’t mess with the Zohan.

  • hawki

    Only caught the 4th qtr & was wondering why Shannon Brown didn’t play….too bad I missed him slapping Ginobili….Manu should go to Hollywood & star in a B movie….still flopping & crying all over the court.

    Anyone catch Bachynski today for ASU ? 22 pts…15 rebs & 6 blks….don’t see much difference between him & Alex Len who was outplayed today by Plumlee from Duke.

  • Scott

    The Rockets reinstated Royce White, sending him to the D-League.

    I smell a whiff of trade in that, but who would be the partner? (The Lakers, perhaps?)

  • Anonymous

    Royce White doesn’t want to ride on the plane.

  • azbballfan

    A poor game from Gortat, but a good game for Beasley, and Dudley.

    Morris is playing better

    But if you cant beat the elite teams, consistently, that just means you are not done rebuilding=

    Hopefully the front office wakes up one day and realizes that competing for the 8th seed in the playoffs should not be confused with success.

    Fans dont want to their team bludgeoned 4-0 in a playoff series.

    The Suns gotta move Gortat before the deadline if they want anything out of him

    Dont make the same mistake you made with Nash and Stoudemire

    Deal him soon and get something out of it

  • Claudio

    I am confused…. I thought the coaching change was to switch focus and to look into the future, see what we got and let go this season….

    The truth is that now what make sense is to give time to the young guys… I understand Hunter’s purpose, he wants to win to keep the job. I am not sure what’s the Suns purpose….

    Even if every game I watch or follow I can’t help but root for my suns, the smart thing is to tank, specially because of the poor draft class, where the top 3 are the only worthily players, and that is… maybe.

    Question… Scola is a great player if you want to compete. We don’t want to compete now, we want to develop. Can we trade him, or is there any specific clause because he was an amnesty pick up? I mean he’s a great value and like the guy, but by the time the suns are decent again, it will have pass two seasons at least, and by then he will be too old to contribute.

    P.S. I feel weir following Detroit, Charlotte, Washington, or Sac. and cheering for them so we can get a better pick chance.

  • NevertheHero

    Scola is on your team for the year because he was picked up in the auction through Amnesty. It seems like it prevents teams using amnesty on a player, only to have a deal with another team in place to get that player back.

  • foreveris2long

    Didn’t see Suns tonight. Had to be disappointing Gortat could not impose his will against the Duncanless Spurs. I see Marshall gets another DNP which I know is eating at his dad. Yes he is that bad Pops.

  • hawki

    Forever….Gortat looked like a shrinking violet, throwing up fadeaways instead of taking it to the rack….he disappeared faster than America’s Middle Class.

    I saw Marshall laughing as the Suns walked off the court…..wait ’till Beasley finds out out that Marshall smoked his stash.

  • azbballfan

    Yeah we are stuck with Scola for atleast this year

    dont get me wrong i like Scola but this is a rebuilding team.

    I really dont understand it either

    the front office blabbed on and on about kicking out Gentry because he wasnt developing players, and he wasnt winning and they wanted a culture change blah blah blah

    its like either way as a coach you are screwed because, if you try to win, they complain your not developing their guys but if you develop them and dont win they will say, what the hell why arent we winning

    The Front Office, coach, players everybody has to be on the same page.

    I hope the Suns finally hit rock bottom, atleast if your bad you can get better, being mediocre just leads to being mediocre for longer periods.

    Which reminds me, with no Tim Duncan, Gortat should have had a dominate game

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Haha, it’s so funny how you guys are all over Gortat while praising Dragic. To make it clear: Dragic is to blame for this loss. Parkher had 31 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. He outplayed and domiated Dragic in every second of the game.
    Gortat? Yeah, he missed some shots. But he still had the most rebounds of anyone in this game (5 of them offensive) and didn’t let Splitter to make an decisive impact.
    Just ged rid of Dragic already…

    P.S. You’ll never win a game when P.J Tucker is the guy with most minutes played.

  • azbballfan

    Ok so who do we trade him to?

    Kendall Marshall hasnt done much of anything, Telfair is an expiring contract and Garrett has played well only in the D-League

    14 points 6 assits 3 boards and 2 steals is pretty good

    If we are trading him away, again, who could we get thats better right now?

  • melon man

    I don’t understand the coach. Not only is he not playing the young guys he doesn’t really look like he has a clue what he’s doing. Igor is telling him stuff and drawing plays up. Suns really should can Hunter and Blanks and promote Igor to head coach.

    As for Gortat he just loves tapping the ball. He’s a big man, he needs to play like a big man. As far as trades go many seem to think Bradley is some sort of must have asset and I disagree.

  • Elviro (Italy)

    Great Beasley: 22 minutes, 25 points! The boy is starting to play well!
    I’m sorry for the loss …. although, based on where we are, it is good for the draft ….
    It ‘s time to figure out which players must keep for the future and which will give …
    I agree with whoever said that it is useless to the race in eighth place of the playoffs before losing 4-0 …
    I think you better start thinking about how best to continue the reconstruction … thinking about the next season!

  • bill.thomas

    Gortat never defends the basket. I’m going to send him a pair of pink panties.

  • bill.thomas

    And a pair of high heeled white boots too !!!!

  • bill.thomas

    @Hawki: America’s Middle Class?? You gotta be kiddin me. Let’s all go on disability and screw Harry Reid that big PRICK !!!

  • bill.thomas

    @Hawki: Yeah I think Marshall with his stupid blond GF got poor Beaes stash. Oh well he went to NC so he knows how to get his hands on a stash. Bravo to FO !!!

  • bill.thomas

    Pure white boots with the tags still on them. Some prison types will screw him and he’ll love it it.

  • bill.thomas

    @Sillmarillion: But Dragic doesn’t love taking dick like some of our guys.

  • azbballfan

    Hey Melon Man

    our new coach is letting Igor Koskov do the plays because he has no coaching experience, and he has no one else to turn to after thunder dan majerle and elston turner quit.

    I have to wonder when the Suns will actually start rebuilding.

    These next 15 games are brutal

    We are playing better, but i think it is not sustainable,

    How about this, if the Suns are 10 games or more below 500 before the Portland game on the road February 21st, they blow it up and make trades.

    I am just a fan but this is not a team thats “one guy away”

    bringing in a blue chipper though a trade is next to impossible

    We would need more picks, expiring deals, and someone other than Gortat to get a real star that could really help us right now, and in the future thats not just a big name.

    After the coaching change i thought we were gonna see Marshall, Johnson, and Zeller alot more.

    What happened to that?

    4-18 on the road is 4-18 on the road

    you know what i mean


  • bill.thomas

    @Azbballfan: You gotta be FFN kiddin me. We are 1 guy away, all we need to do is bring in one of Sarver’s kids and we’ll be playoff bound !!!

  • bill.thomas

    @AZBBallFan:; Think about the bright side. Your mother’s not worried about you, she’s thinking if the Bease goes 2/13 she’ll just bake him a cherry pie and make him feel good. Your mom is a great person !!!

  • azbballfan

    by one guy away i meant

    One good player isnt gonan take us from 14 games under 500 to winning a playoff series.

    I hope the front office isnt delusional enough to think that.

    Although with them who knows, they though this was a 500 ball club

    I gotta say, if you have been in charge for a few years, inherited a team with in-his-prime stoudemire and a very good Steve Nash, and a great bench and you think 500 is good after 2 1/2 years you have done a terrible job as a GM.

  • hawki

    @ bill.thomas

    we still have a middle class….it’s just living in China. Harry Reid has a little prick, or so says Turtlehead McConnell.

    Suns will be 20 games under .500 by Feb. 21st.

    Suns should have traded Nash after the 09 season….that was the greatest PG draft class in memory…we could’ve gotten Lawson (my preference at the time) or Jrue Holiday to team with Dragic to form a great 1-2 punch at PG….we still had Amare, JRich & would have got a boatload for Nash back then.
    Instead we are stuck in this quagmire

  • Luka

    Good loss Suns. Now that the coaching honeymoon is over we can get back to tanking against elite caliber playoff teams now.

    The Suns are in the driver’s seat to get that 1 seed. Trading Gortat for young talent and picks gets us there even faster.

    Let’s cut the crap Sarver. Get a new FO so we don’t blow the draft. Then spend some money on a decent free agent for once. Let’s drop the pretense that we can rebuild on the fly and be a “playoff” team. The fans are much smarter than you think Sarver.

  • Luka

    1 seed of the lottery of course… :-)

  • Tom Leander

    This is a playoff team folks.

  • peter

    positives of this game, Beasley is getting to be more predictable in a good way, and these two peek&roll between Dudley and Gortat in first quarter, please more that stuff, this is a great opportunity to easy basket and to increase Gortat’s confidence around the basket

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  • Harry

    Disappointing lose but I’m very encouraged by what I saw. Effort and teamwork are improving. Too bad this coaching change didn’t happen after the second losing streak when the Suns were 11-21. Might have had enough games left to make a playoff run.

    Couple of things that continue to stick out that need improvement. First, Jared Dudley gives up too many corner threes. He’s straying too far on the help leaving wide open shots. While it’s not quite so simple as to say stay home in the corner, it’s not far from that. The value of Dudley helping really has little effect and the value for the other team getting the wide open three is huge. The second thing is Gortat needs to really improve his PNR defense and also protecting the rim as the last line of defense. For anyone that has access to the Spurs feed on LP, go to about the three minute mark of the first quarter and Sean Eliot clearly explains what Gortat is doing wrong. It happens a lot. Far too much. He also needs to help at the rim. Numerous times last night he just let guys go up for a layup uncontested with almost no effort. The early season Gortat needs to return. I know he can do it. Changes like these will require some effort and team work but I’m very enthusiastic about this coaching staff. Igor/Hunter are looking good so I have faith they’ll adjust.

    Big game tonight. Be real nice to get a win heading into the Lakers game.

  • Scott

    I see Diante Garrett tweeted he’s taken a plane back to Phoenix. Does this mean they’ve brought him back from the Jam? Or is he just back in town because the Jam doesn’t play till Wednesday?

  • foreveris2long

    Hawki, funny stuff about Gortat.