On the final play the Suns had Nash inbound the ball to Morris at the high post, then had Nash run off screens on the opposite side. Morris’ cross-court pass was tipped out of bounds and the Suns never got a shot off. Your thoughts?
Matty P: Confusing play. Why risk a cross-court pass? Why have a rookie throw the pass? Looks like Gentry, in an effort to create some offense, outsmarted himself. Or something like that. Myself, I’m going pick-and-roll with Morris, who has the shooting range and strength to do whatever the Suns need him to do in the pick-and-roll.
Kdog: I would have had Grant Hill inbound the ball. I would have taken out Morris. You’re asking an awful lot of a rookie to make a play, to make a shot or pass. I would have probably tried to go pick-and-pop with Frye, using him as a decoy to stretch the defense a little more, then have Nash make a play. Score or pass, you decide.
B-Lowe: Nash shouldn’t be inbounding the ball. I’d run a pick-and-roll with Lopez. Lopez was the leading scorer. He was the one leading the team. Get him going on the pick-and-roll and get it moving faster. Four seconds wasn’t long enough for the play they designed.
Nostraduncan: Bad play call. If your gonna run that play, you have to make the pass on the inbounds. Don’t make the rookie do it. He had a great game, but that’s putting too much pressure on him.
(AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Robin Lopez led the team with 21 points, stealing crunch time minutes and production from Marcin Gortat. How impressed were you with Lopez and were you surprised with Gortat’s late-game benching?
Matty P: I never thought I’d see Lopez snag a loose ball with one hand and thunder it down with one hand. The guy was a beast, and I can’t believe it even as I type it.
It’s hard to fault Gentry for keeping Gortat on the bench. He played well, but Lopez and Morris brought an energy the team sorely needed. If there was any rotation mistake Gentry did make, it was putting a clearly ailing Grant Hill back in at crunch time. At that point, I’d keep in Childress or go big with Gortat, Lopez and Morris.
Kdog: I wasn’t surprised by Gortat’s benching. I think they might have been managing his minutes with his thumb injury. It also had to do with Lopez playing out of his mind. He busted out his left-handed hook shot. I was surprised with Morris’ play. He played really well.
B-Lowe: Honestly, I was a little surprised that they kept Gortat out. Lopez played really well, but Gortat played really well also, so I was surprised they were keeping someone they’re planning on being the face of the franchise after Nash leaves on the bench.
Nostraduncan: I was impressed by Robin Lopez, but not totally sold on him being a mega-center. I don’t think Orlando would trade Howard straight up for Dwight just yet.
I wasn’t surprised about Gortat’s benching. Lopez was having a career night and Gentry rode the hot hand. I wasn’t shocked.
Biggest reason to be optimistic and pessimistic?
Matty P: We’re strong in the post and on the boards. Who’d have thought? Really worried about all our perimeter players outside of Dudley and Nash, though. Hill looked really old, Childress can’t shoot, Brown tried too hard and Price/Telfair underwhelmed. Btw, where was Warrick?
Kdog: Pessimistic because they lost to probably one of the worst teams of the league. Optimistic? I liked the center combo of Gortat and Lopez.
B-Lowe: Pessimistic: Our wings combined for 24 points between the four of them. That was depressing. Optimistic? Morris. I was impressed with the strong play of the rook.
Nostraduncan: Pessimistc? They lost to a Chris Paul-less Hornets team. Optimist? They lost to a Chris Paul-less Hornets team. You’re gonna get a great pick from the draft or you’re going to learn from it.
Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris, front is hauled down by New Orleans Hornets forward Carl Landry, rear, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Phoenix. The Hornets won 85-84. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Overall thoughts on the team going forward?
Matty P: Have to find out ASAP who will score buckets when we need them. Nash appears to be the default guy, but he needs help to get off a shot. Dudley or Gortat appear to be next in line.
Kdog: Going forward, we lost a home game to one of the worst teams in the NBA. Can you say lottery? “haha, hahaha.”
B-Lowe: I’m counting the days until the Steve Nash trade rumors start going crazy. The Suns need to deal him. If that’s the best the Suns have, they need to trade him.
Nostraduncan: I think we’re going to be okay. Realistically, I think we’re going to finish 9th. Optimistically, we’ll squeak in at 8th.