Get-away game woes against Wizards trouble Suns

PHOENIX — It’s not panic time because the Phoenix Suns know what they can fix. A 101-95 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday sent Jeff Hornacek’s squad off for a road trip on a sour note, and the bad part is that the Suns couldn’t chalk this one up to losing a few plays down the stretch or just losing to the better team.

Actually, Phoenix was lucky to be within a few possessions late after committing 21 turnovers that led to 24 points. Washington, meanwhile, did everything the Indiana Pacers didn’t when the Suns upset the best team in the league on Wednesday.

Now they’re off for a four-game road swing with questions.

“Are any of those on ESPN?” Hornacek said with a frighteningly serious face after the loss.


“We came out and wanted to trade buckets,” he said.

Even though Phoenix kept pace in the first quarter behind 12 points off four three-pointers from Channing Frye, Washington gained confidence on offense and made the adjustments on defense. The Wizards switched most screens to stop the three-pointer, packed the paint with Nene and Marcin Gortat, and sent quick doubles once the Suns over-emphasized posting up smaller players after those switches.

The result was Frye or Miles Plumlee throwing cross-court passes while the Suns showed little off-ball movement. It allowed Washington to jump in the passing lanes easily.

“Like anything else, if you are not quick they are not going to sit and leave a point or two guard on a 6-foot-11, 7-foot guy,” Hornacek said. “They were coming over from the weak side and we weren’t making decisions fast enough, so at that point we said back the big guy out of there and attack them with the point guard, Goran. We just weren’t able to get anything going in the second half.”

Dragic ended his night with 19 points and 11 assists, but the switching and cluttered paint hampered him after recording 12 points and seven assists in the first half.

Likewise, the Suns didn’t make Washington pay for moving Nene’s defensive assignment from Channing Frye to P.J. Tucker. Trevor Ariza, who Frye called the “Frye stopper,” locked in on the Suns’ power forward then-forth, and suddenly, the Suns were trying too hard to force it to the mismatches in the post.

Once the doubles came, the bigs were stuck in the corners.

“We just make the game hard for us sometimes,” Frye said. “We’re a good team when we’re just simple, and we go out there and just play relentless Phoenix Suns basketball and tonight we just didn’t do that.”

Dragic called it bad spacing, but it might as well have been called one of the ugliest games Phoenix has played this year.

“In the first half, we were looking for some combination that would play defense and then in the second half, we were in the hunt for somebody who would play some offense and do something,” Hornacek said.

If the team is looking for big-name opponents, they’re not going to get it at the end of the road trip, when they must visit Indiana. Before that rematch, the Suns visit Cleveland, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. So when the obligatory questions about whether the Suns just couldn’t get up for the Wizards following the high of beating the Pacers came, Hornacek shot back.

“If they did, it’s a pretty poor excuse,” he said.

  • BCrayZ

    Jeff & Frye are both right.

    Good to see Frye asserting himself as a vocal leader & spokesman for the team. Jeff has not as yet learned the best way to utilize the skills, energy, experience & clutch game finishing ability of our Brazilian Blur. Such a secret weapon that, thus far, it appears to also be a secret from Jeff. Jeff, if you have not read my closing comment in the previous thread (recap of last night’s game), please read it here:

    “Dave King (of BSOTS) seems to think that no Suns player has ever started a playoff game.
    This is just not true. Even though this is not “Throwback Thursday”, let us go back in time.
    Suns were in a hole. They were down 3 games to 1 to the Lakers in a first round playoff game. They would need to win all 3 remaining games. Just to stay alive. How did the Suns manage this & go all the way to the WCF that year? Even to make matters worse, they had to win that next game without one of the starters, Raja Bell. Raja was suspended by the NBA for that game. Does the scene come back in your mind? He was suspended for getting Kobe into a head lock. Mike Dumb Antoni had no choice but to start Barbosa in that game. If Mike had been able to put 2 plus 2 together, he would have been happy to make a choice to start LB, inasmuch as he had been forced to start Barbosa before & since & each & every time, we won the game. This critical playoff game vs. the Lakers was no exception to the rule. Once again, even under that pressure, LB came up big time in that game. That win gave the Suns the new found momentum to do what few teams have ever been able to do, come back (after being down 3 games to 1) with the needed 3 consecutive wins. This guy is our “go to scorer” with the experience to be clutch in playoff time. Are you listening Jeff?
    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EBJM

    Dave King doesn’t like to dwell on ancient history.

    This is a new Suns era and they are trying to build around new players, not ghosts from bygone eras.

    How long ago was that series? Way back in ’06-’07?

    Barbosa was 24 and didn’t have a slightly separated shoulder and just finished his best season of his career. That was it for him. He peaked at age 24, his game has regressed ever since.

    D’Antoni had a choice, he could have stared Marcus Banks.

    Horny knows how to use Barbosa, didn’t you watch the Pacer game Wednesday night? Hornacek needed to give Dragic a breather and he sent in Barbosa.

    Barbosa missed a couple of lay-ups and a jumper. He missed six shots total. He turned the ball over and fouled Watson about three times. The lead was slowly evaporating.

    But Hornacek being the brilliant coach that he is quickly called Ish smith over and said” Get in there before Barbosa loses the game for us”.

    Ish did just that. Hitting four incredibly difficult shots to only two misses. He defended the much taller Hill without fouling and didn’t throw the ball over at all.

    MUST trade Frye for a real PF and MUST bring Ish in to play back-up PG!

    Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • ShanMan

    I like Barbosa, and I like Frye. But I fail to understand the hard ons for them. It’s fanatical. This team is not going to be going very far in any playoffs as long as Frye is starting at PF. I’m pretty sure everyone knows this, and I’m sure the GM does as well. By saying Barbosa is the Suns go to scorer is blatantly forgetting that Dragic has been the only one to consistently be that player on the Suns. I’m sure a real PF is in the Suns plans for the future. Frye is a 3 point sparkplug who can really go off occasionally, but his poor rebounding has always hurt the Suns. He’s best coming off the bench, but the Suns do not have a better quality PF to replace him so he starts by default. Amare rebounded better, never thought I’d ever say that haha.

    With all that aside, I thought trolls were left back at azcentral. Everyone is due their opinions and if I disagree, I do so respectfully.

  • EBJM

    Hey BCrayZ I noticed you get frustrated when your logical fallacies are called out and resort to name-calling. That is usually the equivalent of a child lashing out because they do not possess the necessary intellect to hold a civil discussion.

    You obviously understood my previous lesson on the use of the plus/minus stat yet you still cannot interpret it correctly. Interpreting stats is not the same thing as basic arithmetic, you know the level of math taught in 5th grade.

    Apparently therein lies the problem. You obviously haven’t gone to college and taken the requisite courses for graduation, Logic or Philosophy. You also could benefit from a course in analytical statistics.

    If you could at least think critically, you might have a slight chance of understanding what I’m telling you but since you don’t I’m wasting my time.

    MUST only let knowledgeable and intelligent fans post here!!!!

    Go SUNS!!!!

  • ShanMan

    Going to definately have to side with EBJM here.

  • The Real Danforth

    EBJM calling someone out for being childish and name calling???

    That’s rich!

  • EBJM

    Let me give you some basic math lessons as they relate to basketball BCrayZ:

    Possessions equate to more opportunities to score while limiting your opponents opportunities.

    Rebounding equates to possessions.

    TALL men play basketball because they are closer to missed shots than SHORT men.

    Frye is the tallest AND longest player in the Suns rotation. He has a wingspan of 7′-2.5″ and a standing reach of 9′-2.5″. That is roughly two more inches than Miles despite the fact they both stand 6′-11″ on the court.

    Wizards play three bigs, Gortat, Nene and Booker.
    Gortat grabbed 5 while Miles grabbed 6.

    Nene grabbed 8 and Booker 7.

    Frye grabbed three.

    Your 5th grade basic arithmetic should have taught you that: 8>3 and 7>3 and even 5>3.

    Each Wizard Big out-rebounded Frye. But math is fun, right?

    SF Ariza had 7. 7>3.
    SG Beal had 6. 6>3.
    SF Porter had 6. 6>3.
    PG Wall had 3. 3=3.

    So lets review and summarize. The longest player in the game was out-rebounded by SIX Wizard players and their staring PG grabbed just as many as Frye.

    Wizards still only out-rebounded the Suns by 4 because the Suns PGs, Dragic and Ish both grabbed 4 each. 4>3.
    Tucker grabbed 5. 5>2.
    Miles grabbed 6. 6>3.

    So if Frye would man up and grabbed only 4 more boards for a paltry total of 7 the Suns would have had 4 more possessions. They only lost by 6 points. If they converted 3 of those 4 rebounds into two-point shots and one three-point shot they win the game.

    MUST stay in school and keep your foot out of your mouth!!!

    Go Suns!!!!

    BTW Barbosa only had one dime, one rebound, a T.O. and three fouls.

    MUST bring in Ish as the back-up PG and trade Frye!

    Go SUNS!!!!

  • http://none Go Phx

    I agree we need more meep meep. We also need more Len. Let the kid play. His rebounding and defense could be the difference in us winning a round or two.

  • Dave:f32

    I see like BCrayZ does. Jeff needs to use LB as a go-to scorer and creator for others. The mistake Jeff is making is using Barbosa as a PG to give Dragic a breather. LB IS NOT A PG and thats the same way DAntoni tried to force LB in that role. Barbosa is a capable veteran scorer if he is put at the 2 guard, coming off screens to either cut to the basket, shoot the 3, drive to the hoop and score or kick out to open shooters once he draws the defense inward!

  • http://none Go Phx

    lol, EB and Shan are the childish ones on this thread. Gimme a break

  • foreveris2long

    I am not going to get into the verbal warfare but EBJM adds a lot of substance to this site, whether you agree or disagree with the content. As for Frye, I think he is a good role player but not a starting power forward because more times than not he gets exposed trying to guard someone on the low block. While he has his brilliant moments, especially on offense, they are not reliable on defense which in part is a reason we get punked down low. Nene totally disrespects him and for good reason.

    I agree GoPhx, Len needs more minutes.

  • hawki

    Archie Goodwin scored 27 pts in the second of back-to-back games for Bakersfield on Saturday night.

    Archie had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal & only 2 to’s in 46 minutes of play.

    Goodwin was 10-18 from the field….2-4 from 3 pt land & 5-6 from the free throw line.

    Former Sun Devil Ike Diogu led Bakersfield with 32 pts & 9 boards but had 11 to’s….yeah, eleven.

    Another former Sun Devil, Trent Lockett had 20 pts for Reno who crushed hapless Bakersfield 122-98.

  • hawki

    I am sure the Suns staff is being very careful with Len.

    Last thing they need now is another setback with his ankles.

    If Len can stay healthy the rest of the year followed by the individual training he missed due to injury he should be able to provide Plum 18-20 minutes of solid back-up next season.

  • Luka

    I’d rather Archie go through the growing pains now. Barbosa is a good guy, but bringing him back isn’t the long term solution.

    Goodwin has had some breakout games this season. He’s already shown a knack for attacking the rim and for being a pickpocket. He does need work on his jump shot, but his athleticism is off the charts.

  • VK1

    Barbosa vs Goodwin: Since we are not “tanking” I guess the Suns think LB gives us the better chance at winning. Archie’s development maybe slowed b/c of the team’s unexpected success.

    LB has not looked good at PG, hopefully Ish will serve as the primary backup going forward. LB is getting to the basket, but hasn’t been finishing or making the right decision. Maybe he’s lost a step :), his conditioning or chemistry with the team, but he definitely has not looked good being the primary ball handler.

    Plumdogg vs Len: Who is the Suns starting C 3yrs from now?

  • SarverHater22

    Inconsistency!!! Sarver is to blame!

  • Luka

    I’ll go with Jake Tsakalidis on a vets minimum because Sarver will refuse to pay a center fair market value.

  • Oliver Miller

    I’ll take anyone down in a rib eating contest. I still got the moves bro. I can take it to the grill rack and dunk it with my special BBQ sauce. Get your bibs out cause you about to get served!

  • foreveris2long

    Hawki, good info on Goodwin. It seems by playing Barbosa instead of Goodwin the Suns are committed to making the playoffs without Bledsoe. If so they should be making a trade for a power forward. If they are not going to make a trade for more help defending the low block, I hope they start giving Goodwin Barbosa minutes. As I said 2 days ago I would love to get Jordan Hill, assuming he does not have any significant character flaws.

    Just my opinion but I would rather give Goodwin quality minutes the last 20-30 games than be a one and done playoff team. However if we got a defensive minded power forward and Bledsoe back 100%, I think the Suns could upset someone in the 1st round.

  • SarverHater22

    I have long said this : Deport Sarvie baby to Tucson !!