Brooklyn Nets 108, Phoenix Suns 95 — Defensive holes

Blindly choose what the Phoenix Suns didn’t do right in a 108-95 road loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, and there’s a good chance it’d be spot on.

The Suns’ defense was flat-out bad — with all the holes, call it Net-like if you’d like — giving up 58.6 percent shooting to a Brooklyn team led by a small-ball starting lineup. Nets point guard Deron Williams scored 28 points by hitting 11-of-13 shots, both at the rim and on the perimeter, and all five starters found ease in hitting double figures without playing more than Williams’ 33 minutes.

The Suns stars didn’t give them much of a chance. Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe racked up fouls and combined for just 23 points and seven assists. And they got little support from their fellow starters.

Phoenix hit 6-of-22 (27 percent) from three-point range and went 15-of-28 from the foul stripe.

Markieff Morris and Gerald Green scored 18 and 17, respectively, off the bench, and that gave the Suns a chance to turn a double-digit lead into a game, but Jeff Hornacek’s team could never get over the top.

Once again, the energy was missing from a once scrappy Suns squad.

As has been the case, Phoenix got down early, showing sluggish offense and much, much worse defense. It allowed the Nets to shoot 70 percent in the first quarter to take a 10-point lead after 12 minutes. More painfully, Brooklyn scored 52 points in the paint for the game, not an eyebrow raising number until it’s understood the Nets came in as the second-worst NBA team at 37 paint points per game.

Considering Brooklyn went with guard-heavy lineups, it came down to slow — or lazy — lateral defense and then little help once Williams and fellow guard Shaun Livingston attacked off the dribble.

The Suns put in a run to get it within single digits in the second quarter, but the Nets quickly answered to go ahead 62-49 at halftime. With less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, the Suns again chipped away to get within nine points, but Brooklyn once again squashed any momentum with a 14-0 run to put the foot to the throat of Hornacek’s fragile crew.

To the pregame preview questions from Ryan Weisert.

Can Phoenix win the battle of the boards?

The Suns won the rebounding battled 40-36 overall, but it meant little in the end. Phoenix was actually the bigger of the two teams as Brooklyn rolled out a starting lineup of rookie center Mason Plumlee planked by swingmen Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce. The Suns did fine holding the Nets to single opportunities, and on their own end, they did a decent job in grabbing 12 offensive boards.

But Phoenix couldn’t do much with the extra possessions, shooting 3-for-11 on second opportunities.

Whose pace will win out?

This wasn’t the slow-footed Nets team Phoenix faced at home way back when. Jason Kidd’s team went small and played fast behind an attacking Deron Williams, who went 11-for-13 from the floor and scored an easy 28 points. Brooklyn finished with 20 fastbreak points to Phoenix’s 11, using the Suns’ own medicine to burn them.

Phoenix shot 46 percent itself, not bad considering all things, but what made it strong throughout the more successful portions of the season — running it down opponents’ throats — didn’t happen.

It’s hard to get into an rhythm when the opponent is making everything, after all.

Who wins the brotherly battle?

Mason Plumlee got the best of his older brother, aside from the jump ball. Miles’ little brother finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Miles scored just three points and grabbed six rebounds — though Mason played 27 minutes to Miles’ 18.

Gerald Green got the Green light to start the second half in place of the Suns’ Plumlee as Phoenix attempted to match the small ball crew of Brooklyn, but it didn’t pay enough dividends for the Suns to have a serious chance at making it a game.

  • Dave:f32

    Phoenix was actually the bigger of the two teams as Brooklyn rolled out a starting lineup of rookie center Mason Plumlee planked by swingmen Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce.”

    Oh, that’s why Phoenix lost: because the Nets started 3 players, to Phoenix’s starting 5!

    And, to the sucker that told me on this thread in the beginning of the season that Brooklyn was old, slow and unskilled in comparison to the Suns lineup…. Well, i hate to say it that i was right, and YOU WERE TWICE AS WRONG!

    That makes it a Nets blowout win in Phoenix AND an easy Nets win in Brooklyn Zooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Shows how much you know about basketball.

    Psst, I told you so!

  • Dave:f32

    Its almost as if the Suns got to their season goal for wins and have given up on the rest of the games…or the playoffs.(

    You can only get by so many games from teams not expecting you to be good, before you actually have to start being good in order to win!

    Gut this team and start fresh cuz this team has serious defensive deficiencies. To pay Bledsoe all that money, after you see just how well he stacks up goin against a real PG just goes to show how desperate Sarver has become for a hero. So desperate, that Sarver chooses to write his own hero.

  • Dave:f32

    Same old Sarver…. Selfish, with a capital Ssssssssssssynonymouswithlosersssssssssssssassss

  • Raffi aka Anonymous

    This team just needs a solid center and a decent small forward. Trade len, plumlee, marcus, a pick or two and we got a team for next year.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    Who are you thinking of?

  • bill_thomas

    I don’t know if Hornacek will win Coach of the Year or even Rookie Coach of the Year. But he should at least win the “Adelman Gold Award.”

    Now just what is that? That is the award going to the coach who gives rookies and other unproven players the fewest minutes, only to be proven completely and utterly wrong when they actually get minutes.

    Witness tonight Goodwin, once or twice Len for a few minutes,and Gorgui Deng the other night, and Shabazz Mohammed against us a few weeks ago.

    Hornacek should always be able to get a job as Adelman’s assistant if he is not coaching here.

  • bill_thomas

    Hey Rick, make sure to put Budinger in there ahead of Mohammed, at least he’s white.

  • bill_thomas

    Piss-Ass Snot !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bill_thomas

    If we had Gorgui Deng we would have easily won this game.

    Hey McDonut, why is Len playing just 5 minutes per game?

    Does he have a tooth cavity ????????????????

  • bill_thomas

    Bring on the Whites !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • bill_thomas

    Tooth cavity of Len ? Hey, my Russian friend is dentist. Maybe you want to go East European Bloc.
    Anyway, obviously Len needs a dentist.

  • bill_thomas

    Len needs a dentist. If he had one he would be playing ahead of that PATHETIC PLUMLEE/FRYE duo.

    WHERE THE FUCK did these two come from ??????????

  • EBJM

    Where was Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry? How many minutes did AK-47 play?

    Livingston and Mason Plumlee were not in the plans.

    I’ve never read such stupidity and idiocy in my life!
    Your analogy is similar to the Suns trading for a couple of stars at the deadline and then winning the Pacific and then saying I told you so!

  • sunsn7

    People were sleeping on the Nets. Im not one of them.

    As for the Suns?

    HORNACEK is choking

  • sunsn7

    Hornacek is too much of a players coach.

    Think Paul Westphal

  • john

    Go back under your bridge, @Dave:f32

  • Foreveris2long

    I did not see most of the game (until 4th quarter) so I can’t comment about the lack of performance. I will say this however, we are not good enough to turn the ball over 17 or 18 times and only shoot slightly better than 50% from the free throw line. The Suns margin for error is slight so the above stats and pour defense will prove lethal every night.

    Since the Suns are void of a dominant low post game, the Nets were smart to play small ball against the Suns as we could not punish them in the paint when the Suns were on offense. A decent big man to play the 4 spot, who can score inside and defend should really help this offseason. I am begging for Monroe, Bosh and or A. Payne (Michigan State) this summer.

  • Al

    Do you think McD and others in the FO told Hornaceck to play well, but not to aim for the playoffs? Btw, is Ish Smith the only 3rd string point guard that gets minutes? I like Ish for his distribution and pushing the pace, but the guy has no shooting touch. Suns are looking at the last spot in the lottery. They’re this years Utah Jazz. Will barely missing the playoffs be enough to convince coveted players to sign in Phoenix? Can Phoenix get Bledsoe to convince Lebron to sign with the Suns? Could McD go after Nowitzki? and draft good defensive players…

  • Brenton

    Yeah, Ish is a very good 3rd point guard, but he should only be playing in emergency situations. Dragic and Bledsoe should get all the minutes at the point. It was tough because Dragic played terrible and was singled out by the refs, Mark West like, but come on. Ish shouldnt get meaningful minutes on a playoff team.

    Suns look worn down right now.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    Len and Goodwin need to get more minutes, they may make mistakes, but they are also, as of right now, the future of the team

    i dont see the Suns magically locking up a playoff spot when they dont own tie breakers on any of the teams they are chasing, and have a brutal end to the season. The whole month of April is a very tough schedule.

    The Suns need to hope that Memphis or Dallas suffers an injury to a key player, because if we keep playing like this, we dont got a chance

    Bledsoe has played well since he returned, but not max contract well

    i would rather sign and trade him for assets then commit max money to him at this point


    The Suns have two decent young centers that just need playing time to develop. Why Hornacek plays Frye at the 5 especially when he is not hitting his shot is beyond me.He plays no defense and does not rebound. Let Plumlee develop, he may be the most athletic 7footer in the NBA.

  • DZ

    I started out writing a long response but I decided to delete it and be brief.

    No. I do NOT believe that the FO has or is encouraging Horny to miss the playoffs. Probably the opposite.

    Could McD go after Nowitzki? I hope not. At his age he wouldn’t be able to play at the pace the Suns play at and the Suns would be terrible trying to slow down to match a pace he would be comfortable with.

    I’m wondering if the real problem with the Suns isn’t that they started off the season playing at playoff intensity level and are just worn down because of that. They’ve already given all they can give and they are now not a “surprise” team to anyone so every team they play takes them very seriously which they might not have earlier.

    And place the blame wherever you want but the Suns have no real inside game. That’s what they need to try to bring in either through the draft or free agency.

    When/if it becomes obvious that the Suns have little or no chance to make the playoffs, then we will see Len and Goodwin getting more minutes.

    Bledsoe has not played well enough to earn a max contract. Some of the Laker trolls have claimed that they are going to steal him from the Suns during the off-season by making him a max offer but I doubt that very much.

  • Dave:f32

    @john… Thank you! Im glad you agree with me and what i had to say about our latest Suns disappointment. I know it must not have been you that scoffed at the Nets.

    Here’s who the Suns keep:
    Archie Goodwin
    Goran Dragic
    2 draft picks

    The rest should be traded for an actual real life team, that actually plays defense as well as they play offense. We need a new head coach, GM and Owner too!

  • CarlyJoni

    Back to backs are always brutal, and its rare to win on both nights. Even Clips couldn’t do it against Denver. That said, Suns need a greater amount of energy and focus to get to the post season. Every team is playing for position now, and those that are not are playing spoiler.
    Can’t take anyone lightly, not even upcoming Orlando.

  • john

    Nah, it wasn’t me. I just don’t like trolls or people who have nothing but negative things to say. You’re both.

  • Al

    I don’t get why LA would want to try to go after a RFA like Bledsoe when they can go after a UFA PG like Kyle Lowry. Their game is very similar the only differences are that Lowry is 3 years older, has better shooting touch, but less athleticism than EB…and can bully his way to the basket…Also, I am not an expert, but doesn’t most low post/inside game require the game to slow down and play half court? Nowitzki’s a finesse player that could compliment well with this team. He can’t be worse than Frye on defense if he makes it up with solid offense. Frye is an average defender at best with horrible rebounding skills. In my off season Suns fantasy, I see Phoenix signing Lebron and Nowitzki…then extending EB…

  • Ughz

    The Nets playing without Garnett, Lopez, Terry or Kirlenko…. ?

    The Suns playing with their whole team….. !

    Key number: 58.6 Brooklyn’s field-goal percentage, the highest by a Suns opponent since April 2009.

  • Dan S

    Majority of the Suns fans on this board need a life, oh now here we are back to trashing McDonough, Hornacek, Sarver, the players etc. The truth is, this isn’t a very good team who played an easy, spread out, home heavy sched the first 2/3 of the season. Check it out yourself, from Mar.9 to Apr. 16..they play 21 games in 39 nights (playing more than every other day), and the 14 of those 21 are on the road. So good luck with expecting the team to get in

  • Dan S

    And yeah, I’ll admit Frye and Plumlee aren’t playing very good, but that’s why they’re Frye and Plumlee and not Gasol and Randolph, Monroe and Drummond, Griffin and Jordan etc. The front office could have made a trade to get a big man, Monroe, Taj Gibson..but didn’t so now everybody gets to take a deep breath and face facts. Time for the Suns to finish in their comfortable, familiar 9th spot which is the worst place to end up in pro sports.

  • DZ

    Al, I like Nowitski but more than anything else I think that he loves playing in Dallas and Cuban loves him enough to not let him leave. Dirk will eventually retire as a Mav and Cuban has a championship to justify keeping him until he is ready to retire. I’m sure both of them want another championship but Dirk has already said that he is willing to take a pay cut to bring in more talent to Dallas. He won’t be going anywhere.

    And the talk about the Lakers going hard after Bledsoe all comes from Laker trolls here on this site. I agree that Lowry would be a more likely goal for them. The trolls were just trying to piss everyone off – as usual – by saying that.

    As I said before, the Suns’ weakness is inside. Len may eventually cure some of that at the 5 but they need a 4 that can score inside and rebound and at least hit the mid-range jumper to keep other teams honest on D. Markieff does that – inconsistently – as a backup but not as a starter. He’s also a good backup defender but not a starting level defender.

    The Suns need a 4 more than anything else. Bosh or Aldridge would be near perfect additions to this team. I doubt we could get either one but either of them could have propelled the Suns from pretenders to contenders this season.

  • DZ

    Lol. I really don’t agree with you, Dan S, but considering the preseason expectations of this team the condemnation of it’s late season failings are ridiculous. The trade for Bledsoe was pretty much the only move the Suns made that people liked and then almost everyone was wondering when – not if – the Suns would trade Dragic. A lot of people thought that Green would be cut. A lot of people thought Plumlee was a waste. We were going to be lucky to win 25 games this season and a LOT of people expected us to win only 15-16 and be the worst teem in the NBA this year

    Well those people were all wrong.

    I’m sorry if the Suns over performed early in the season and made you expect more than they could ultimately give.

    But it’s been a great ride and I’m not ready to give up on this team yet.

  • TI

    Lets all face the facts Suns fans the Suns just arent that good. Better than last years team but not by much. The FO would have messed up the draft pick had it been a high lottery pick anyways. Look at what they did last year and years prior. Phoenix FO is just dumbski when it comes to draft picks and talent in general.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    I think the Suns had a great draft, and Len has a good chance to become an excellent center. I think Goodwin has already shown he is worthy of alot of minutes next year, how many depends on what happens with Bledsoe

    Stay, the course, draft well, and make a big move this summer when you have lots of cap space, moveable guys, and 3 or 4 draft picks

  • Chad Scott Michael

    Did you see that double fake move that Blatche did on Len, in which he scored for an easy uncontested layup?

    It was sick, and made Len look like a num num.

  • john

    Lol at the anti-fans coming out after a lackluster game/stretch. This Suns team is miles ahead of where ANY of us expected them to be at this point. There are no two ways about that. This organization is heading in the right direction, and every fan out there should be thrilled by what they’re seeing out of this team and this front office.

  • john

    That wasn’t me saying that fyi someone assuming my namesake You imposters im the only real fan because i make excuses for the suns and blindly support the organization at whatever it chooses im actually the worst kind of fan that exists because i don’t demand it get better i just accept an inferior product and call it being a fan nor do i understand anything about baskeyball i just support the team and wear the tshirts my boyfriend does its okay theres allways next season

  • john

    Good one. ^^^^^ fake ^^^^^

  • DBreezy

    Tough times for the front office and Horny. The west is brutal and generally speaking over the last 10 years or so, I’ve felt 48 W’s has been a safe target of assuring a playoff berth. Yes, teams have made it with slightly less before, but I think it’s safe target.

    So it looks like the Suns would need a minimum of 10 more wins and I’m guessing one of those would have to be the Apr 14th game against the Mavs because I don’t think the odds of getting in are good if they lose the first tie breaker to the Mavs and Grizz. Save for a good stretch vs the Raps, their defense has been atrocious for quite some time now and there seems to be little hope for improvement. Sure there are individual defensive issues with certain players, but it seems to me that a lot of what we’re seeing is mental. I think Longabardi is a very good defensive coach, but as the season wears on teams learn your tendencies and they adjust their game plans to what you do. The really good defensive teams can adjust to that on the fly and be effective. I think the Suns have been pretty solid most of the season (15th in defensive efficiency) with Longabardi’s base schemes, but once he’s forced to adjust his schemes to what an opponent is doing it’s over. They’re no longer ‘on a string’ defensively and it’s leading to wide open shots, inside and out, poor positioning for rebounds, and increased fouls. The Suns don’t have a guy like Noah, KG, Marc Gasol, Duncan, etc who is an on court extension of what Longabardi wants and can move the parts around on the fly. Even a washed up guy like Kendrick Perkins, is solid at that skill which is huge as the games get bigger.

    It’s hard to see the defense changing before season’s end, and the offense has become erratic as well. Some people have worn down a bit, some teams are scheming harder against certain players and the team has become far more reliant on someone getting hot for the offense to work on a nightly basis. If you’re trying to put together a stretch of .666 or better ball to get to the postseason, does it seem likely that relying on Green to put up 30-40 points(or the twins) nightly is going to get it done?

    The way they’re playing, I don’t see them having a great chance unless they basically win out March from here on out. Then they would only have to win 3 of the final 8 tough games to have a great shot-again probably including the Dallas game which is a road back to back game after a tough one in SA. With the head to head tiebreaker being more important to this team at this point than the conference one, does Horny pull a Pop and sit his main guys on Apr. 11th in SA to go all out vs Dallas the next night? Do the Suns play well enough over the next 7 for it to even matter?

  • Dan S

    The Suns have hit rock bottom again. If history is any indicator to what will happen in the near future Sarver will keep the Suns at the bottom for many years to come

  • DBreezy


    Do you really see McD making a hard push for Bosh or Monroe this summer? While I think either one of those players would make this year’s Suns a playoff team, I’m not sure their value makes sense going forward. If Bosh leaves Miami, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s no longer going to be willing to take the discount he’s taking now at 19M and change per year. Monroe’s agent is David Falk who has already turned down 10M a year and is said to be seeking the max of 4 years and 60M. As a RFA it’s probably going to take the max or pretty close to it, to keep Detroit from matching. Remember that if push comes to shove, they can stretch their current highest salary in Josh Smith if they need to down the line.

    The Suns currently have about 5.2M in cap room. Okafor and Barbosa come right off the cap for an extra 14.9M in cap room. Bledsoe and Tucker are both RFA’s that will at a minimum have cap holds until their respective situations are resolved. The twins, Plumlee, Goodwin, and Len will all receive raises on their rookie deals with the slight possibility of extensions in the case of the twins. I believe there are outs and/or partial guarantees on the contracts for Christmas, Ish, and Randolph. The Suns will also have at least 3 1st round picks affecting the cap.

    The current cap is 58M, so let’s just say it pushes up to 60M next season for a round number. Using this year’s salaries and ignoring raise, they’ll have 27.2M going out to Dragic, Frye, Green, Len, the twins, Plumlee, and Archie. Assuming Bledsoe’s baseline request of 10M per season is met, you’re looking at least 25M to sign Bledsoe and Monroe or more than 29.7M to sign Bledsoe and Bosh. That puts the team at between 52.2 and 56.9 for 11 players. I pushed in leeway, but the latter figure is pretty close to the current cap before you include any draft picks. In fact those draft picks would likely round out the roster in that scenario unless they went over to keep Tucker or Ish.

    I suppose it’s doable, but I think the question for McD would be what happens in 2015. He’s got several guys who likely either had career years or have peaked at what they can do in the league in the twins, Green, Tucker and Frye. I’m not saying that all or any of these guys will decline sharply next year, just that if I were GM I wouldn’t rely heavily on expecting them to be better next season. So you’re capped out or pretty close to it for a team that is probably a 4th seed at best, more like a 6th. If it all goes well next season, that probably means Goran keeps it up which means he’s likely to decline his player option for 2015-2016 and become a free agent. So the Suns either have to be able to resign him, hope Archie is ready to replace him, or sign someone else.

    It’s definitely doable, but my bet is that McD will sniff around to see what’s out there, but pass on the bigger name free agents out there this summer, resign Bledsoe, make smart picks, develop players, and save his cap space and trade flexibility for a bigger fish. In fact, I’ve prepared myself for the possibility that they may take a little step backwards record wise next season as a result if certain role players don’t have great seasons next year.

  • foreveris2long

    I definitely think McD will offer a max or near max deal for Monroe.While Bosh is more of a long shot I think he will consider it even if other present parts are sacrificed. He may also explore Davis in Memphis as I think he will be a restricted free agent but I am not convinced he is the answer. One reason I think he is going to make a serious bid for one of the above is the draft is really thin at the 4 spot after VonLeigh (assuming) and Randall go in the draft.

    On another note I heard from two reliable sources Univ of Ariz has a commitment from a Southern Calif. kid who I believe plays at Mater Dei who has superstar potential. Definite one and done but he supposedly is a man amongst boys. Should be available in 2015 draft.

  • Ellensburgbballfan

    Excellent post DBreezy, i agree on all your points!

  • foreveris2long

    The kid’s name is Stanley Johnson from Fullerton, Calif. The compliments about this kid are through the roof.

  • foreveris2long

    A very recent LA Times article written by Eric Sondheimer stated the following about Johnson,
    “St. John Bosco Coach Derrick Taylor said. “He always seems to make the right decision at the right time and finds a way to win.
    “I think he’s an all-time great. I’ve coached against Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, John Wall, Nick Young, Arron Afflalo,” Taylor said, ticking off players from the NBA, “and there’s only two players that made me feel completely helpless regarding a game plan, and that was Kyrie Irving and Stanley Johnson.”

  • bill_thomas

    Well if Eric Gordon is worth $15 mil a year, Monroe sure is. Make it happen, Lance.

  • bill_thomas

    I’m not gonna say Love is not the right guy for this team, but you don’t look to him for basket defense or inside toughness.

    We already have a bunch of 3-pt. shooters.

    I don’t think he’s worth 2 players and 2 first rounders.

    Melo wasn’t worth what Denver got for him, nor Deron Williams. Just look at the record.

  • bill_thomas

    But it prolly is worth just outbidding Detroit and whomever for Monroe.

  • bill_thomas

    Frye is not athletic ?? Put the pipe away man. MJ wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about Frye.

  • DBreezy


    Leaving $$$ aside, Bosh would be the better fit imo. Defense is the biggest reason imo, but he’s also a better fit offensively as well to me. Monroe struggles defending the S/R and against the quicker stretch 4′s that are prevalent around the league these days.

    If you look at Monroe’s numbers on you see that he rates out better at the 5 than the 4. He’s got a 17.9 PER at the 4 vs 20.7 at the 5 with better FG% and rebounding numbers. His opponents have a 20.4 PER vs him at the 4 as opposed to 15.0 at the 5. That is with a strong young defensive presence in Drummond and often Smith next to him. The Suns don’t have that kind of presence yet.

    While you know I don’t think PER is an end all, be all stat it does have it’s uses. Per 48 minutes, Monroe posts a -2.5 PER differential at the 4 vs. +5.8 at the 5. Bosh’s numbers are way better at the 4 than the 5, but he’s superior to Monroe at both positions. He’s got a positive differential at both positions. His PER at the 4 is a whopping 30.3 and at the 5 he’s basically even with Monroe at the 5 with a 20.4. They have similar career usage rates as well, although Bosh has shown the ability to maintain his stats with higher usage rates in the past. That’s something to consider with the Suns pace and with the expectations that may be heaped upon on him if he were to come here as a RFA.

    I’m going to the game on Fri. vs Detroit, so hopefully I get a good closeup look at Monroe.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hey DBreezy, I do not really disagree with you regarding Bosh and Monroe. My guess would be due to age and $ Monroe will be the 1st choice but if we put $ aside I too think they would rather have Bosh. I will say that if Len develops the way I think he will, he will be a pretty mobile center to help with someone like Monroe at the 4 spot defensively.

    Yeah I will be interested in your first hand take on Monroe when you see him play Friday. Does he appear confident shooting a 15 footer? Is he a decent passer out of the low post? Does he rely on athleticism or fundamentals in rebounding? I am going to the Lakers game tonight so I will need your input and that of others on the Suns v Orlando. However I will watch on tv Friday’s game.

    As always excellent dialogue.