Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  April 13, 2007

Sorry to start this thing halfway through the second quarter, it’s been one hectic day on my end. Longer post tomorrow talking about Phil some. Plus other goodies over the weekend. For now, I’m off to watch the second half of this game at a pub with Gatinho (if you’re in the South Bay email me fast). We’re going to celebrate a Laker win with beers, or drown our sorrows in beer. Either way, it will be good for Newcastle’s bottom line.

to Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. warren (philippines) April 13, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    You know what sucks? the Lakers. We’re a bad team right now.

    CLIPS have Sac, @Phx, Nok.
    WARRIORS have Min, Dal, @Por
    LAKERS have Sea, @Sac

    What’s good is we have the tiebreakers. The Clips will go 2-1, GSW will go 2-1. The only team beating us right now is the Lakers. If we further go 0-2, 40-42, we might just miss it.


  2. You know things have flipped when last night in crunch time I was saying to myself; “I hope they kick the rock out to Smush, I hope they kick the rock out to Smush…”


  3. With Smush out in the 4th we make a comeback. Suprise! Perhaps Phil should have tried Sasha earlier this year.

    However, this game it wasn’t Smush, it was Lamar and his ‘long range’ offense that lost it tonight. If he would A) drive the lane most times (like the coach wants) and B) if he wouldn’t ‘fix’ on a passing target and then wait until he can get the ball to them, then he might contribute more to the game. Sometimes he, not Kwame, seems like the ‘head case’.


  4. warren (philippines) April 13, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    I’m looking at the draft lottery right now.


  5. In recent games, I’ve noticed a pattern with the Lakers — fall in a hole in the 1st, then take a lead or mount a furious comeback over the next 2 quarters, and finally go limp in the 4th (give or take half a quarter here and there).

    Well, tonight, Phil finally inserts some energy into the starting lineup in the form of Ronny, and the first part of that pattern is broken. Better still, the demotion to the bench seems to light a small fire under Andrew, who contributes solid minutes.

    Two things really lost it for us tonight, though: (1) Kobe’s shooting. Lately, it’s been live by Kobe or die by Kobe, and this game was the latter; (2) LO’s play in the first 6 minutes of the 3rd, in which he had 3 fouls, 3 missed shots, and 3 missed free throws (and, to be fair, 3 points).

    Am I guilty of ignoring the red carpet to the basket in the first half? Yes; but in terms of timing, I think the start of the third was more critical, especially because that’s when Phoenix built its cushion.

    This is really not the way to go into the playoffs … I just hope we’re not out of them!


  6. The Lakers have a history of getting lucky in the lottery at the right time, and we’re due for a little luck.

    I really think the Warriors will go 3-0. Minnesota and Portland should be easy wins for them, and the last time they played Dallas they beat them badly. Plus, the Mavs already have homecourt, they’re not going to play desperate like the Warriors are playing right now.

    The Clips will go 2-1, I think, losing only to Phoenix. The Lakers? Who the hell knows. Seattle and Sacramento should be wins for them, but the way the Lakers are playing right now I think Gonzaga could beat them.


  7. warren (philippines) April 14, 2007 at 12:15 am

    RIght on matt! I think they are better matched with the Timberwolves or the Hornets right now. Injury shouldnt be the case though it is. Turiaf was a good move tonight and it paid dividends. Bynum is good for 15mins sub time for now, however, due to Kwame’s injury, we’re pretty shallow. Next year is the thing for me now. I’ll be watching the playoffs rooting for the Suns.

    I hope Mitch Kupchak gets traded in the off-season.


  8. warren (philippines) April 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Buss has always expressed how good he is with the Cap.
    This year, the Lakers payroll is at 77,419,550.00

    The salary cap is at 54M.With Brian Grant’s 15,570,625.00 and Radmanovic’s 5,215,000 as the exceptions, LA is over by 2-3M only. Next Year, they have 57M guaranteed salary on the payroll with 9 players.

    Luke Walton (BIRD)
    Ronny Turiaf
    Chris Mihm

    the thing is with Smush is he needs to be re-evaluated.
    He can be re-signed provided he will be back-up to Mike James or Mo Williams or simply Jordan Farmar.

    I think a trade has to be done too. If not KG, get Jermaine Oneal.


  9. warren (philippines) April 14, 2007 at 12:34 am

    ey Kurt, ESPN has Turiaf for 2 years while HoopHype has him none for next season. Which is which?


  10. I’m sick. I’m almost hoping we miss the playoffs at this point, we are playing with such little heart (and less brains, hustle and skill) that an ass kicking in the playoffs would probably not sting as much as missing all together.


  11. Many of you are focusing on the offense. I’m focusing on the defense–especially the excellent team defense the Lakers played whenever Smush didn’t.

    Phil sarted Ronnie the “energy guy,” and had Bynum play about 20 minutes. Worked like a charm for both of them.

    Unfortunately the guy who should really be an “energy guy” (the Smusher himself) started. Phil seemed to sense the failure of this ploy (with Nash doing big time scoring), so he substituted in Farmar before the first quarter was over, and Smush didn’t come back again in the first half. The Lakers only trailed by one, 51-50.

    Then, inexplicably, Phil brought the Smusher back to start the second half. When Smush left (for good) later in the third quarter, the Lakers trailed by 13!!!

    With Smush and Kobe on the bench, the Lakers mounted a comeback fueled by good defense and timely team offense and made 8 points in a row–so Phil brought Kobe back in and the rally stopped.

    Now if Phil can continue to start the “energy guy,” and use “you know who” as an energy guy off the bench for no more than 20-25 minutes (and not at all in the last 3 minutes), the Lakers might yet be a team to be reckoned with!

    I have renewed hope if only Phil can forget his early season fantasy and think fkexibly–or at least critically.

    Come on, Phil. What do you have to lose?


  12. my dispondant point… they need something to sting them a little bit, kick em in the ass, get them fired up adn working out all summer.
    coach won’t. maybe embarassment will.


  13. For the last 10 games the Lakers are 2-8 and the Dodgers are 7-3. Did I wake up on Bizarro World?


  14. warren (philippines) April 14, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Phil has got to quit on the Smusher. I agree, his teammates seem to be lackluster with him around. Its like, its ok to leave your man in defense… Smush does, anyway, and he starts.

    Hope Phil gets it in time for the playoffs. Start Farmar and see what happens! Get Smush in when he is eager to play and get the most from him – from the bench.


  15. Kobe missing 18 of his 25 shots and Lamar Odom disappearing for the ENTIRE second half were primary reasons we lost, again with our inability to protect our own backboard. Sorry, Smush didn”t play the last 15 minutes of the game, can’t blame him, actually i’m sure people can, but it doesn’t make too much sense. We we cut the lead to 5 on 4 separate occassions in the fourth quater and could never get the score we needed to make it a one possession game.


  16. (11) The reason we’re focusing on the defense is because the suns shot 38% or so..yeah there were a ton of open looks that they blew but thats as good as the Lakers defense will get these days..the offense isn’t supposed to be the problem with this team and its getting worse by each game…I can only assume they are for some reason pulling a final week tank because of some backdoor deal with Stern in the Lottery…


  17. When you look at Smush, you see a physically gifted (long arms) defender, so it’s a shame that he can’t put in the effort that Sasha or Jordan put in. Watching Sasha last night, he was doing some of the same things that Smush would do, in terms of funneling Nash into the paint, but he was just so much more active and tried much harder to stick with Nash, and therefore had much more success (relatively speaking).

    Speaking of Sasha, if he could develop a better relationship with the referees, he might actually get some calls to go his way. He needs to drop the “theatrical reactions” — as Kevin Ding put it on his blog — to every call, and basically stop crying wolf.


  18. Assuming the Lakers don’t need a PG who can run an offense,may I suggest in offseason Radmanavich for Banks and Piatkowski?

    I was playing w/some simple stats and found some interesting-and pretty unscientific-numbers. Adjusting assists for % of 3pts made(by subtracting assisting players makes from team 3 pt and total makes)and adding assist points to scoring ave gets
    Nash creating 44.4 ppg,Kobe 43.3,Arenas 41.3,LeBron 40.4,T-Mac 38.7.
    Based on per minute played,pts created is
    Nash 1.26,T-Mac 1.09,Kobe 1.06,Arenas .99,LeBron .98.
    As a percentage of teams ave score(least accurate,still…)
    Kobe 43.96%,LeBron 41.9%,Nash 40.25%,T-Mac 40.14%,Arenas 39.26%.

    W/out McGrady,Kobe or Nash’s makes,3pt shots were 25.6% of Rockets made baskets,21.7% of Suns,20.7% of Lakers and w/out D.Williams only 10% of Utah’s were 3pt shots.
    (Yes I was bored Thurs nite and took figures fron )


  19. Draft (6). We have a history of getting lucky in the draft, not the lottery. My bad.


  20. 18. I lke your trade suggestion, but doubt it will happen. One: the suns wont want to help us. 2. mitch doesnt admit mistakes, and trading the Rad Man a year into his deal is admitting a mistake.

    Is there an east coast team with something similar to offer? Maybe… New Jersey? If Carter leaves, the could slide RJ to the 2 and take Radmanovic at the 3, in returns for their “PG of the future.”


  21. (15) Kwame,

    There were some simple team and individual statistics from the Phoenix game that you didn’t mention.

    The Lakers gave up 91 points to a Phoenix team that would usually score more than the Clippers. The night before, the Lakers gave up 118 to the Clippers. That’s a difference of 27 points!

    The shooting percentage of Phoenix was at or below their season LOW!!

    I believe that Phoenix scored 127 tonite against the Nuggets.

    Maybe Kobe missed an unusually high percentage of shots, but he played much more active attacking defense. Odom played outstanding help defense, and facilitated. He got 13 rebounds.

    Mostly, Lakers made enough stops to make the score see-saw back and forth.

    The one time that Laker team defense fell apart and the Suns went on a run was at the beginning of the third quarter. If you do + and – differences by players, guess who stands out as the biggest minus for his playing time? Could it be that guy who you said was in no way responsible for the loss?

    Let me give you a big hint: not Lamar and not Kobe. Mostly, what they missed on offense they made up for on defense. After all, Odom’s man Marion was 7-18, and Kobe’s man Raja Bell was 6-15. Maybe everone on both teams got worn out by playing good team defense.

    The Smusher’s man (Nash) was 10-16 and had 14 assists.

    Barbosa, Nash’s sub, facing other Laker defenders, was 3-10 with one assist.

    Maybe Sasha made too many fouls in critical situations, and that undercut some of his team defense accomplishments. On the other hand, he hit some critical 3’s.

    The Smusher’s playground defense may not show up directly in box scores, but if you dig, the poisonous consequences can be captured in numbers.

    It’s not the shots or passes that he didn’t make–even though that was a problem in this and other games. The harm an individual player can wreak on team defense is not always directly visible–but it is measureable. Take away the Smusher’s + – (assuming that the Suns might have scored less and made more mistakes) and the Lakers might have won!

    You say, ” . . .can’t blame him (Smush) . . .”

    au contraire


  22. Bryan,to be honest virtually no trade proposed by us ever happens,but it’s fun nonetheless.
    As for Phoenix,they regard Banks as a horrible mistake and may well feel they are not helping the Lakers by trading Banks.


  23. Stephen — Are you KIDDING me?? There’s a reason why Phoenix regards Banks as a horrible mistake — because he’s a horrible player!

    Signing Vlade may have been a bad move, but he can still be a useful rotation player. Banks is simply useless (he’s shooting 31.6% from 3 for his career, 17.2% this season!). Don’t forget that Vlade has played with an injured hand all year, he’ll be better next year.

    Plus, at some point Vlade could be a useful trade chip. Somebody might want him. Nobody will EVER want Banks.