The Phoenix Suns are amongst their worst stretch of games since their last season without Steve Nash back during the 2003-04 season. They have lost 11 of 14 games including seven in a row and four of which at the time of the game were against teams below .500.
“We’re in a hole here and the only way we are going to get out is if we dig ourself out,” explained Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “This is not a real sympathetic league. Especially since over the last seven or eight years we’ve been a pretty dog gone good team. Everyone remembers the losses they had against you. I don’t care how far it goes back.”
One of the biggest problems for the Suns, especially during this seven game skid, has been turnovers. The team is averaging 17.5 turnovers a game on this stretch leading to an average of 22 points per game. And Gentry breaks down the problems with these turnovers even further.
“Right now we are giving up six lay-ups a game, or 5.4, off of our turnovers,” explained Gentry. “That’s ten points a game where they go dead to the basket and lay it in. We have given up 91 lay-ups dead at the basket in the 22 games we’ve played. That’s a big number off of our turnovers.”
A lot has been made of all of the lineup changes the Suns have made over the past month. First moving Luis Scola and Jared Dudley to the bench. Then Saturday against the Clippers moving Michael Beasley to the bench and bringing Dudley back into the starting rotation. While some players have stepped up and some have struggled through the changes, none have been consistent. However with finally three days off before the next game against Memphis, it’s the team’s first time in a long time to adjust to the changes in practice.
“Ever since the lineup changes I think we have only had like two or three practices,” said forward Markieff Morris who was moved into the starting lineup for Scola. “We’ve got to get more adjusted to each other and try to play hard and get a win.”
“Just trying to get situations taken care of,” added Gentry. “There have been bothersome and just kind of repeat things that we cant afford to repeat…there are things we have to eliminate.”
The Suns above all need to experience playing a full game from start to finish. Even in wins this season they have had stretches where they have gone way down and had to fight back or the other way around. A great example is the last time the Suns faced the Grizzlies. Played as complete of three and a half quarters as has been seen from the team but fell apart in the last half of the fourth and overtime which resulted in a loss.
“We’ve got to play a 48 minute game,” Gentry mentioned. “It doesn’t work when you play 40 and it definitely doesn’t work when you play 36…We have to find a way to get back on track and back on the winning side.”