On Tap: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  January 20, 2006

First things first: About the worst thing to face on the second game of a back-to-back is the team that plays at the fastest pace in the league. The Suns average five more possessions per game than the Lakers and if it is played at their pace things could get ugly.

Speaking of ugly, did you see the game last night? Here’s the stat of the night (TNT flashed something similar at one point) — Kobe’s true shooting percentage last night: 62.6%; the rest of the Lakers: 47.5% (for some comparison, the league median for players if 53.3%). Talk about being a ball hog all you want, when the rest of the guys don’t hit their shots Kobe has to shoot too much, and with that formula the Lakers can’t win consistently.

I’m with Chris in the comments below (and everyone else on the planet) in being frustrated with Lamar for that drive to the hoop with 14 seconds left on the game clock. Even a good outcome of that drive is that he gets fouled and hits two free throws, which means it is still a two possession game and the Kings get the ball back with too much time on the clock.

But there were other problems, too. Late in the game and in overtime a bunch of the Lakers had that “deer in the headlights” look. There was no triangle offense, only guys trying to get the ball to Kobe no matter how covered he is. Yes, Kobe wants the ball, but if they overplay him other guys have to be open, they need to get their shots and make them.

I want to like Kwame Brown, I am really trying to, but his defensive rotations are terrible (man to man it’s pretty good). He seems to have no sense of where he is on the defensive end of the court. It’s not just the non-rotation on that late three, I had made the note much earlier when Brad Miller pick-and-rolled to a dunk and Kwame didn’t step into the passing lane. There were other incidents as well and not just in this game.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a man. I detest Mike Bibby, and wish he played for us.

Check this out: The latest Carnival of the NBA blogs is up — at the cleverly named Bucket Brigade (all about Paul Pierce) — and worth the read.

About the Suns: You hear plenty about the Suns offense, but the key to them this season is they are playing very good defense — they are second in the NBA with a defensive rating of 101.9.

The key is that the Suns are creating more turnovers — on 16.1% of opponent possessions, up from 13.8% last season — and they are giving up fewer offensive rebounds — 27.6% this season, 31.7% last season. They also are slowing team’s shooting a little, 46.8% (eFG%) this season, 47.7% last season.

The best places to attack them have been the point (Steve Nash still doesn’t play defense) and the four. If the Lakers are to have any chance tonight, Lamar Odom has to have a big game and the Lakers need to get points inside.

And they need to control and slow down the tempo. Get into a track meet (as they did at points with both Golden State and Sacramento recently) and they will get run out of the building.

And I’m outta here: I’m going to Vegas for a three-day weekend to visit the in-laws, I’ll be back late Monday.

This brings my annual caution to you single men (and women) out there: Don’t marry someone with in-laws in Vegas. It turns the best city in the nation for nights of fun, debauchery and creating stories you’ll be laughing and retelling when you 70, and turns it into Bakersfield. I will not get to watch one NFL Championship game in a casino, not get one free Jack and coke while playing blackjack (let alone get near a poker table). Rather, I will listen to in-laws describe the pain from their bunions (and other ailments) in excruciating detail, all the while knowing good times are just around the corner taunting me.

Kurt

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2 responses to On Tap: The Phoenix Suns

  1. chris henderson January 20, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    you know I was going to write (good things) about Kobe’s shots last night against the Queens, (until the Lamar fiasco topped everything else) because while he’s getting rapped for taking too many shots, one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is how many times he pulls up for a mid range jumper, and WE ALL JUST KNOW IT’S GOING IN. Last night, and countless other games, his deadly jumper either gets us back in the game, or gets us caught up, or helps pull away when the opponet is threatening. Last night, yes, he took alot of shots, but he hit a lot, and that kept us just barely in front, long enough for a win, and shudda been a win, until…yeah, I know…enough…
    re: tonight against PHX, didn’t Smush have a great game against Nash last time? seem to recall him stealing from him more than once, so, if Smush can rise up tonight in a big way, maybe we can pull it out.
    There should be fire in their eyes tonight, especially Lamar, we can beat PHX, play hard D, play smart, focus…

  2. Can I subscribe to this blogs feed? Newbie in Phoenix