Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/15/12
PHOENIX -- This year's rewritten Phoenix Suns script seems to be offering considerably more than a changing of the point guard. Evidence of the differences is everywhere. There's a new offensive structure (which wasn't working very well), a fresh paint job for the U.S. Airways Center floor and nine players who worked somewhere else last season. One additional -- and even more important -- change is the Suns' ability to avoid falling apart in most of their fourth quarters. OK, so they're not exactly the Dream Team in the first quarter (or selected other intervals), but at least they've figured out how to generate offense and make stops with the game on the line. And even with you-know-who running the offense, that didn't happen very often the past two seasons. Please note that falling to the Chicago Bulls, 112-106, in overtime Wednesday night does not completely trash the positive karma created by doing well in the final 12 minutes of regulation. Playing against the league's sixth most-efficient defense, the Suns piled up 31 fourth-quarter points and limited Chicago to 17. "I think we did a good job of hanging on and shaving some points here there," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "But when you fall behind by 18 points, you put yourself in a perfect-storm situation. To get all the way back, it's almost impossible." For the record, this defeat ends the Suns' three-game home winning streak and puts them at 4-5 for the season. But the equal-opportunity approach to crunch playing time seems to be working. Sure, that's the silver lining in a Suns' sky that offers little in the way of star power. With 73 games remaining, looking for doomsday clues would be too painful. So, Gentry remains obliged to closing games with players who are going well at the time. The what-have-you-done-for-me-lately approach can produce interesting, single-game heroics. With this roster, it's a difficult strategy to avoid. It's also tough to sidestep the notion of shaking up the rotation, just to see if the Suns can start games with more gusto. Gentry said it's something he's considered, but not something that's in the offing... at least not right now. "You've got to be a little bit careful with all of a sudden changing it," he said, reminding us that working with a rotation full of new players can be tricky enough without making multiple alterations. "Do we like to get off to slow starts? Heck, no." This means that Jared Dudley (5 points vs. the Bulls) and Michael Beasley (12 of 4-of-15 shooting and 4 turnovers) will continue to start. It also keeps Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair providing juice off the bench. Against Chicago, Telfair (he made 4 of 8 3s), Brown and P.J. Tucker (7 offensive rebounds) kept the Suns alive. "It's just playing with energy," Telfair said. "Me personally, I heard a few boos. The last thing you want to do is lose the interest from your fans." Even without injured star Derrick Rose, the Bulls (6-4) remain fairly formidable. They don't figure to pose much of a threat to the Miami Heat (even if Rose returns in fine form), but rallying from 18 down to force overtime against them isn't easy. By the way, the Suns did this despite making only 40 percent of their shots from the field against Chicago's five-men-on-string, half-court defense. With the court flipped, the Bulls made half of their attempts against a Suns defense with continued frequent lapses. What saved the Suns was a 51-46 advantage in rebounding, including 20 boards on the offensive end. The Suns did cough up 15 turnovers (converted into a whopping 22 points by Chicago), but forced the Bulls into the same number. With a rebounding victory and more reasonable turnovers (they just six in Monday's win over Denver), the Suns can do some work. "You can see that when we do manage those two things, we're usually in the game with an opportunity to win," Gentry said. Wednesday's opportunity was boosted by power forward Luis Scola, who made 12 of 22 shots, scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds before fouling out. His understudy, Markieff Morris, contributed 10 rebounds and 8 points, but missed 9 of 12 shots before leaving with a bruised hip. Telfair had 17 points, but missed 8 of 13 shots. Brown had another huge role in the rally, but was only 4 of 15 from the field. A more conventional approach to winning basketball would be nice, but for now, Gentry and the Suns most cobble successful games by any means necessary. Their next two dates (the Lakers in L.A. Friday and the Heat here on Saturday) should provide sufficient opportunity for the Suns to be resourceful.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

‘Actor’ Todd Gurley wants to make ‘billions’

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker