Washington Wizards 127, Phoenix Suns 105 — Worse to worst

The Suns would normally take 105 points as a great night. They would normally accept Michael Beasley’s 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting in 23 minutes as a much-needed lift.

Except Saturday’s game at Washington was anything but normal, not with Martell Webster hitting seven 3-pointers en route to 34 points. Not with Washington — the league’s second-worst shooting team — hitting over 51 percent of their shots.

The tipping point came late in the second quarter, when Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal and Lindsey Hunter all picking up technical fouls in the closing minutes. Beasley’s came after one of his most scintillating plays of the year — a driving spin move followed by a vicious left-handed jam in traffic. In his post-play exuberance, he was penalized for taunting. The latter infractions came from perceived no-calls in the midst of a Wizards 15-2 run.

Things only got worse from there, as Washington followed up their 39-point second quarter with a 36-point effort in the third. The Suns were outscored by 12 in that frame, the same amount of points Webster scored from behind the arc in the period.

The loss was Phoenix’s fourth in a row and sixth out of its last seven games, planting them back in last place in the Western Conference.

Turning point

When the Wizards began their initial push late in the second quarter, no one responded for Phoenix. Beasley’s dunk might have turned the tide, but only proved to be another two-steps-forward-one-step-back sequence after his taunting technical, the first of three in a short period of time.

Goran Dragic was disturbingly passive on a night the Suns needed someone to counter the Wizards’ momentum. He finished with 11 assists, but many of those came when Phoenix was already down by 20. His 5-for-14 shooting didn’t help either, and John Wall’s out-of-nowhere rejection on a Dragic layup made it clear which floor leader set the tone, Saturday night.

Tucker back in the mix

After not playing in the Suns’ loss to Atlanta, P.J. Tucker saw 32 minutes of action at Washington. Tucker saw plenty of time around the rim with Marcin Gortat’s absence creating a need for make-do frontcourt players. He didn’t disappoint, turning in a near-double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Taunting has come/gone a long way

Beasley’s technical foul for taunting after his dunk may have been reputation-caused. Let’s face it: officials are quicker to call technicals on guys who have reputations of temper/mood issues.


Still, taunting in general has become a huge no-no in a relatively short span of time. Not so long ago, guys like Shawn Kemp were doing way worse than Beasley did on a regular basis.


  • Ty-Sun

    Well, the bright side of tonight’s loss is that the Suns moved into the #3 slot in the draft lottery.

    Dragic is the only player on this years team that I expect to be back next season. There are a few others that I hope will stick around but basically this team needs to be gutted and simply start over almost from scratch.

  • DBreezy

  • azbballfan

    Yep another ugly loss

    Really the Suns are in a no win situation with fans

    if they lose ugly people will go, hey why didnt you compete

    and if they do a miracle and beat a san antonio team on the road people will say “well, why dont you play like that all the time”

    Young teams, that have little talent are going to struggle

    Now, i am upset that the team was gutted in such a way where we went from a title team to mediocre to very bad

    but if we get a good pick in the draft it will really help us out so there is a silver lining here

    The Suns front office would be crazy to not look at these last 5 weeks as evaluation on who should go and who should be on next years team

    Dragic, Tucker, Marcus Morris, Hadaddi, Wes Johnson i can all see staying next year

    everything else should be looked at to get younger and better in the future

    Just dont invest all your money in free agency…..the market is just not good enough to move your team from rebuilding mode to real playoff team thats not gonna lose in the 1st 2 rounds

    Making the 8th seed and being competitive for the sake of being competitive doesnt make sense in the long run.

    Everything right now thats worth anything is restricted free agnecy anyway, with only maybe Tyreke Evens being interesting to me as a suns fan

    If i am the Suns front office i would have been looking at the 2013 draft as soon as the 2012 draft ended

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    Well I have been putting off saying this but the Suns are getting out coached. Tonight the problem was preventing or delaying the out pass to Wall. Wall needed to be slowed down. He was getting the ball too quickly into the scoring area. Stop this and you beat them at a half court game.

  • Scott

    @George -

    I’m inclined to agree with you when thinking of the last two games.

    I think there are times when Dragic can really use another guard with PG skills alongside him, and the last two games were of this type.

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    If this is true the front office will have to go. Sarver needs to hire a proven winner in the fornt office.

  • bk

    Top 3 pick if it ends today…. nice

  • Azbballfan

    yeah anything we get in the draft that improves defense i am for

    The Suns are terrible on the season in defensive metrics, but the last few games has been especially cringe worthy

    How is it that we can be so bad in giving up easy dribble penetration but also so awful at defending the 3 point shot?

    Add in the kiss of death of not being able to rebound well at all and you have a team where i look at some of these wins on the schedule and go “Was the whole Suns team on the bus before the game using voodoo dolls?”

    It seems like whenever we win, its because the other team plays poorly and its not something specific to what the Suns are doing on the court

  • Russell Suns fan

    9 names:

    Marcus Smart, Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad (he has been a flop so far), Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Kelly Olynyk, Cody Zeller.

    Why did I list those names you ask? Here’s my answer:

    Andrew Wiggins (once in a decade type player will be as good as Durant)
    Jabari Parker (Melo 2.0)
    Julius Randle (Chris Webber 2.0)
    Aaron Gordon (He maybe better than Blake Griffin)
    Andrew Harrison (Roy, before he got injured)
    Noah Vonleh (MKG with an offensive game)

    If these guys were allowed to skip College, they would all be drafted above the 9 names I have on top in this summers draft.

    Folks if you still don’t know, this is the draft class of 2014, it is anticipated to be the best draft class since the 2004 draft class.

    The Suns have 3 first round picks this year and only 1 next year, if I’m the Suns I get more 1st rounders next year in a star talented draft.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Some of the plays are on NBA Top 10 today, woth watching. But, this new guy commenting these plays is totaly annoying and he keeps saying Dracig instead of Dragic and he is doing this every time since weeks! Does any of you VotS-guys have any connections with nba.com to tell them that?

  • foreveris2long

    Russell Suns fan, good stuff. I would not have a problem trading Gortat this summer for a 2014 1st round pick. Have any of you seen new Mexico Lobos play? They have a 6’7″ kid named Schnell who is a junior who had a great game yesterday against UNLV but has has had a good year playing shooting guard for them. Both him and Kendall Williams on the team are from Southern California and while Williams gets most of the attention, Schnell will likely be a better pro. He has a nice jump shot and really good handles.

    Hunter could be unemployed as a head coach this summer if these blow outs continue. Losing is acceptable with a bad team if you at least compete. In my opinion we need more defensive minded players who also can score, Tucker, Dragic, Oneal and Johnson should all be given a chance to stay. When a team gives up that many 3s you have to question the defensive philosophy. Are the players being instructed to help down low too much to mask their interior deficiencies? Guarding the 3 point line and make the opponent put the ball on the floor is not brain surgery, it can and should be done.

  • foreveris2long

    Finally Michigan State power forward Payne is included in the potential draftees on Draft.net. I have been singing his praise for two months. He is projected to go at 39 and I think the Suns would be smart to take him at the end of the 1st round assuming Lakers make the playoffs.

  • azbballfan

    Yeah the defense has been atrocious for most of the year

    i think part of the problem is we only have one good defensive bigman now on the floor at a time with Gortat out

    Haddadi and Oneal dont seem to play together that much

    and given our abysmal perimeter defense, they are being asked to cover up for everyones mistakes thats not named jared dudley, pj tucker or dragic

    Dragic still gets us almost 2 steals a game and this team is in complete disaray about how to guard the perimeter

    loading up on 2014 pick is a good idea, and i would shop Gortat to a team that could get us a good pick and needs a center

    what about Gortat and Markieff Morris and the heats #30 pick to Charlotte for say Tyrus Thomas and the Bobcats 2014 pick

    Morris replaces Mullens who is likely to leave as a FA this summer

    Charlotte instantly gets better now and in the future with a solid front court guy like Gortat, and they dump a bad contract on the Suns

    I would also do Ben Gordon isntead of Thomas, who has been rumored to be amnestied

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    I think O’neil will move on next year. His choice. That leaves Gortat and Haddadi. With Gortat out Haddadi is the only one setting picks. I woiuld keep Gortat and Haddadi and get rid of all the other big men. I dont know why everyone wants to trade Gortat. Keep Dragic Johnson and Tucker.

    As for defense. I dont think it is the players or their effort but I do think it is the defensive scheme.

  • DBreezy


    You mean the same Tyrus Thomas that the Bobcats, who are one of only two teams worse than the Suns, asked to stay away from the team on a recent road trip? The Suns have no culture these days, but he still doesn’t need to be around a young/rebuilding team imo. Besides his uneven at best on-court performances, he seems to have the kind of personality that can suck the life force out of a young team. Moreso than a guy like Beasley who lacks mental acuity but has been liked as a person in the locker room and does try hard even if the results are often spectacularly bad.

    While Charlotte is closer to being over the cap than the Suns, they look to have several ways of getting under it and they’re unlikely to be players for major free agents anyway. So amnestying Ty Thomas probably would have more do with simply getting his personality off the team than anything. Of course if Charlotte is really willing to give the Suns that 2014 pick with no protection, then you have to really consider the deal but I can’t imagine Cho being that stupid.

  • DBreezy


    Do you really think the blowouts will cost Lindsey his job if Lance is allowed to stay? This team fell below .500 for good on Nov. 14th and things have gotten progressively worse with multiple long losing streaks. It’s somewhat of a testament to Gentry and the players that the wheels didn’t come off sooner as far as blowouts are concerned.

    Lance and Lon publicly said that Lindsey will not be judged by wins and losses and held firm on that when the KTAR guys hammered them on it. Lindsey himself has said multiple times that he’s coaching for his future here, yet he’s quite comfortable reducing the minutes of veterans like Duds, Brown, Scola, etc in favor of the young guys. Nothing wrong with that as the vets didn’t actually win many more games they just kept them closer and you have to see what you have in the young guys. That said though it’s hard to believe that Lindsey sticking with the young guys so long if the men upstairs didn’t say that they were okay with some potential ugly results. Most coaches coaching for their jobs ride veterans, veterans and more veterans.

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    OK so just how long does it take for “young guys” to learn how to set a pick. I like the way other teams pressure the Suns high. It prevents the Suns from running their plays.

  • Scott

    BTW … Garrett has a higher PER right now than Brown, both Morri, Marshall, Johnson, Tucker, Haddadi, and Beasley, and he still can’t get floor time.

    And if you’re thinking his PER is skewed due to lack of play, well, it’s been going upward as he gets more time, which likely means it was skewed downward earlier and is now getting closer to being accurate.

    Put him in, coach! :)

    @DBreezy & Forever -

    Another way to take the talk from the FO is that Hunter is only Plan B for coach next year, regardless of how he performs this year. It seems possible they simply promoted the developmental coach because they wanted the younger players to develop; the new (real) coach is coming in next year, and that was always the plan.

    In that scenario, Gentry was always going to be replaced after his final year, and was only sacked before his contract expired because he wasn’t willing to sit the veterans once the playoffs window closed. Possibly the final straw was that Blanks wanted to trade Telfair away so that Marshall would get more time, and Gentry opposed this.

    @Russell -

    If I’m reading it correctly, it is possible the Suns will get a Minnesota first rounder next year, if their pick falls out of the top 13.

    If Minnesota takes two good players in the first round of this year’s draft, they should have plenty of talent to get into the playoffs next year (barring disastrous trade or injury).

    As for this year, if the Suns do get a high pick but want to trade down, another possible partner (in addition to OKC and Minnesota) is Cleveland. Since Cleveland currently projects to take #7 and #16, I’d assume the Suns would have to trade both their picks (#4 and #30) for the two Cavs picks.

    The basis for the trade would be that if the Cavs want a specific player expected to be taken right before they pick – like, say, Anthony Bennett – and they are cool to the players expected around #16, they could decide it is worthwhile to trade for the Suns’ two picks.

    If the Suns are angling to get a high pick in next year’s draft, a strategy could be to pick players this year that have potential but require more time to develop, thus putting the Suns high in the lottery again next year.

  • foreveris2long

    If the blowouts are not a factor, D’breezy then the team should remove the interim today. I have no problem with not counting wins and losses but if the team allegedly checked out under Gentry what is going on with Hunter? I mean I get that Hunter is Babby’s guy but what is he being judged by? The team looked better under Gentry. I guess my point is why should the interim tag be removed from Hunter?

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    As I said previous the Front office has to go. I do think the only guy that can ressurect the Suns is Jerry West.

  • Scott

    In fact … if the Suns want to play “Dork Elvis” (aka Daryl Morey) this year, they could try to trade for the Cavs picks, and if they get them then go on to trade the Cavs’ #7 for the two OKC picks (#11 and #28).

    Unlike the Cavs, Wolves, and Thunder, the Suns are so talent-depleted (looking at needing more lottery years to rebuild) that it could make sense to trade a #4 and #30 for a #11, #16, and #28.

    I know in conventional times you would always take the #4, because those are typically franchise players. But this circumstance may be different, both because of the draft and the unusually weak state of the Suns.

    In the 2011 draft the #4 pick was Tristan Thompson and #30 was Jimmy Butler.

    The #11 pick was Klay Thompson, #16 was Nikola Vucevic, and #28 was Norris Cole.

  • Scott

    BTW, in relation to the game vs the Wiz … last year around this time I was calling for the Suns to pick up Webster, as I believed he’d be available for a song. I did not want Beasley.

    Webster has a PER of 14.23 this season, at a salary of $1.6m, and an expiring contract.

    Beasley has a PER of 10.83 at a salary of $5.75m, with another year to go.

    It doesn’t seem that hard to beat Blanks at GMing.

  • foreveris2long

    D’Breezy, I need to edit my last sentence, why shouldn’t the interim tag be removed today? I know you cannot answer that but I am just thinking out loud. I would hope if Hunter becomes the permanent coach, he has to show the ability to consistently implement a competitive game plan? With all of that said I probably still did not answer your question regarding Blanks and Hunter being tied at the hip. I could be wrong but I hope Sarver borrows a brain and not give Hunter a permanent tag simply because Blanks wants him.

    Scott, I am beginning to think Hunter is not the guy simply because he hasn’t consistently shown much. Anybody can play young kids. I do not know if the front office plan was to fire him at season’s end, unless they at least improve defensively, his days should be numbered as you suggest. I would rather the team get beat inside like Denver did to the Suns than not play perimeter defense. Getting beat inside has a lot to do with the lack of a defensive power forward on the team. There is no excuse for not guarding the 3 point line.

  • DBreezy


    Obviously we’re all speculating here, but I don’t think Hunter is/was a plan B for Blanks, although he may be Sarver. To me it doesn’t track that Gentry was tossed because he was unwilling to sit veterans. The first person to bring up the prospect of playing the young guys publicly was Gentry who said that if the Suns didn’t start winning soon looking to the future would make the most sense for the franchise.

    At the time he mentioned that he hadn’t talked to his superiors about that, but expected that he would shortly. His comments kind of caught Babby/Blanks off guard as even at 13-27 they both were still try to sell the notion that the team had underachieved to that point and they expected things to turn. Babby was still going on the radio around that time talking about how Alvin’s teams always turn it around as the season goes on.

    While I don’t think Gentry deserved to get fired, I do think he kind of cooked his own goose by making those comments without at least talking to Sarver, if not Lance/Lon first. It’s been reported before that Lance and Alvin didn’t really see eye to eye and Alvin’s comments were basically a public indictment of a roster put together by Lance and Lon. He didn’t have the record of Lionel Hollins when he made those comments about trading Gay and Speights, so he should have known he was on thin ice despite Sarver saying he was safe through the season. Perhaps Alvin thought he could get through the season and survive with Lance and Lon being shown the door?

    Either way I don’t think reclusive Lance took too well to the comments and asked to pull the plug on Alvin. Babby probably didn’t either as they’re both working to stay on through the rebuild. Lon really is more of a conduit outside of contract negotiations, so I think he basically delivered the news to Sarver in their meeting with Alvin. Sarver held true to form, left the decision to the people he hired, and backed them up-at least as far as this season goes.

    I personally think Hunter was/is viewed as a good young coaching prospect by the organization and their hope is that he is here for awhile. Unless Sarver forces a change when he reviews things after the season, I think Blanks sticks with Hunter but with a largely revamped bench staff. Considering the state of the team now and for the foreseeable future, I don’t really have any heartburn with that. Now if Sarver changes management after the season, of course all bets are off.

  • DBreezy


    It’s not surprising the interim tag is still on Hunter, most teams usually do keep the tag on for the season even for those that do well. Remember Lawrence Frank starting out with like 13 or 15 wins in a row for the Nets? The still didn’t remove the interim tag until the following summer. Same for the Suns last two interim guys, D’Antoni and Gentry. Teams want to be able to look at all options and often the coach’s agent wants a chance to try and negotiate a longer term deal after the season. In the end I don’t think this Suns team will have many viable options that are better than Hunter. Like I said to Scott, I’m not too worried about it right now. This team is awful and likely will be worse next season as they continue to get younger and more veterans move out. You don’t find too many proven coaches in these type of situations.

  • Luka

    Suns need to hire Nate McMillian as head coach, and tank one more year.

  • foreveris2long

    DBreezy, While the comfortable thing to do is stay with the cheap hire Hunter but I parallel this situation with Golden State where Mark Jackson in his rookie campaign, showed signs of improvement with a very young squad with an established center. While Jackson was not an interim coach, Gentry was and he showed a team that would compete nightly. Most interim coaches get the tag removed after some progress is shown. To do otherwise would be to reward incompetency. I hope he shows some consistent improvement from being competitive on defense but if he does not he should be gone.

    Luka, I too like Nate but my guess he will not go to a team with suspect ownership unless he is desperate to work. I think he is an excellent student of the game who will make them better defensively.

  • Azbballfan

    Yeah i dont care if the Suns get Thomas back in a trade that nets us a lotto pick

    The Suns can just eat Thomas salary if they had too they have plenty of expiring deals and cap space

    I; would take a bad contract if that meant that i got something really good in return

    i did a trade machine trade scenario and it looks like, if Thomas is amnestied by the Bobcats, the only other thing that would work is a Gortat for Ramon Sessions and a pick deal

    Yeah thomas has been awful mostly as a Bobcat but he great in Chicago

    so there is hope

    i would love McMillan as our coach for next year

    and btw, the reason Gortat is believed to be on the market is because is supposedly unhappy here, is going into a contract year and is about to reach his prime

    the Suns are in freefall and looking at gutting the team, it would make no sense to keep an expensive center around on a team thats looking at a total reboot

    and another thing on Thomas that i looked at, his contract will run out in 2 years after this season

    2 more years at 8 mil a year is not that bad for a lotto pick

    Charlotte could probably get us a top 8 pick next year or better in a loaded draft.

    a really good player out of the 2014 draft is worth taking on salary

    plus, if they stretch beasley, thomas deal becomes even less of a big deal

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    I would like to point out that Jerry West is the man behind the scenes in Golden state putting the right pieces in place. Before that he did the same with mimphis and before that he built the Lakers.
    This is the only guy that can save the Suns.

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    My take on it is different from your take.

    When Gentry made that comment about it being time to develop the young guys, and even pointed out to the press that he’d not discussed that yet with the FO, that was probably a sign that he was engineering his way out.

    The dynamic I imagine is that Gentry knew he had a philosophical difference with the FO. His position was to play the best players and compete every night, first, because that’s how sports works, and second, because he felt he owed that to his players. Competing is how they make their careers. He did not want to shut down players like Brown and Telfair, who might be struggling for their next contract.

    Gentry also must have realized that the FO didn’t extend his contract past this season because Blanks wanted to pick his own coach. Gentry probably believed – accurately – that he was done in Phoenix.

    So Gentry made public NOT his own idea of what to do, but what the FO wanted to do, which was to “develop the young guys” (i.e., tank). Maybe he was tempted to go on to say that this last season with the Suns was a farce, anyway, as it was designed to fail and get into the high lottery. Or maybe he wanted to say that Blanks was inept, and if the Suns had drafted better the last two years they’d be competitive without tanking (if they drafted, say, Kawhi Leonard and Andrew Nicholson, instead of Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall). Maybe Gentry believes that if you run your organization right, and have talent in the FO, you don’t have to game the system … which is what the Suns are doing if they are planning to tank for high lottery picks.

    Gentry wasn’t going to pitch a public fit. His way is to get along, and so he went quietly and collected his paycheck. Majerle and Turner went as well, and while Majerle did create a little bit of a stink out of loyalty to Gentry (and his own desire to always compete, not tank), he didn’t reveal any dirty laundry.

  • Scott

    @Azbballfan -

    So far as I can tell, Charlotte has zero interest in trading Thomas for a pick. They have plenty of room for salary, just like the Suns do.

    Furthermore, Diop is coming off the books after this year for a $7m savings.

  • Scott

    ^^ I should restate that to say that Charlotte wouldn’t want to give up a pick to entice a trade involving Thomas. They have as much room to keep Thomas as the Suns do, and judging from their lottery status, they probably believe they need the pick as much as the Suns do.

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    Our front office has shown they can not make good picks to why be concerned in accumulating them.

  • Robert Sarver

    I feel we’re still a playoff team. Let’s give it time and see what Hunter can do.

  • DBreezy


    I’m not saying I’m 100% correct, but I really can’t remember an interim guy who actually had the tag removed during the same season he was named interim. The reason I mentioned Frank earlier is because I thought he might have been an exception because of how he started, but when I googled it, I found that he didn’t actually have the tag removed until June after the season he took over for Byron.

    Other than the fact that both were former pg’s with no formal coaching experience, I don’t think Jackson and Hunter are a good comparison. Not only was Jackson not an interim like you noted, he had a stronger bench staff and a stronger roster. When Gentry was interim, he already had a lot of previous head coaching experience, experience with the team and roster, and a stronger and more cohesive staff. D’Antoni also had more coaching experience in the NBA and abroad and had good assistant help with Iavaroni, Weber, and I believe Grgurich(sp?) was still with the team back when D’Antoni was interim.

    I agree with you that guys like Nate are a long shot here. He had to notice what happened to Avery Johnson in a similar situation with more talent and an owner with deep pockets, just as much as he’s likely to have noticed what happened to Brown and D’Antoni in LA. I think he looks for an on the cusp young team, perhaps like the Wizards if they can get another piece or two.

  • DBreezy


    We both noticed the Gentry comment deal, we just have different takes on it what we think was going on which is all good. This is the kind of thing that Coro slips the true inside dirt on, well after the fact during some little Orange Slice blurb in the dog days of summer. You know the kind of thing that only nuts like me pay attention to and quote later!

  • Forever is2long

    While our discussion addressed the interim tag, My point though confusing no doubt, was no one is given the head coaching job after being the interim coach because he was shown a willingness to play young guys. Always something more is displayed.

    As for Mark Jackson, I did a poor job in making that analogy. While Mark was never an interim coach, after his first year he fell victim to an alleged extortion plot after he was having an admitted extra-marital affair while I believe he was an ordained minister. Although I doubt even with a morality clause the team had a right to fire him like I think the Kings did when one of their former coaches was charged with DUI, they gave Jackson a vote of confidence based on his body of work during his initial campaign.

    In conclusion, coaches keep their jobs interim or not, because of their body of work, not because they are friends or close associates of the GM. Remember it was Kerr who hired Terry Porter because of his ties with him at San Antonio and it did not stop the team from firing him.

  • Kevin Trudeau

    Natural Cures Sarver Doesn’t Want you to Know About…

    1. Keeping draft picks helps maintain flexibility and reduces stress.

    2. High quality scouting reduces headaches.

    3. Cap space can prevent bloating.

    4. Reducing Babby is shown to have a beneficial impact for stress relief, and a sense of well-being.

  • azbballfan

    Yeah they can just Amnesty Tyrus Thomas, but i would take Ramon Sessions and a lotto pick for Gortat

    Sessions is a solid scorer and pretty cheap, getting rid of a player we are not going to have in the future plans, getting a lotto pick and getting a player than can be solid off the bench or start if we needed would be great

    i dont know if that will happen but the Suns need to look at all options to get some quality players out of the next 2 drafts

  • DBreezy


    I agree with you on what it usually takes to remove an interim tag, but with Blanks you never know! Besides he may not have anybody worthwhile who wants to work for him.

  • Forever is2long

    DBreezy, Very true about Blanks. IMO he is a walking catastrophe to the detriment of all Suns fans.