Yesterday I wrote about the Suns and what I thought they needed to do to have success against the Blazers last night. I said the Suns needed to impose their will upon the Blazers and play at their desired pace, rather than play at the Blazers’ pace as they had in the previous two matchups (read: losses) this season.
Well, the game was played at the Blazers’ (disgustingly slow) pace. The teams each finished the game with around 87 possessions. Ugh. The Suns shot an atrocious .388 from the floor. Fortunately, though, the Blazers shot an abominable .364. Wow, that’s bad. The real key was the Blazers shooting 17 threes…and making exactly two of them. They also missed eight of their 29 free throws. The Suns only shot 7 of 23 from three, but only missed two of their 26 free throws.
I think we can say, fairly certainly, that this was just a bad game by two teams who are usually very efficient offensively (PHX is No. 1, PDX is No. 7). This game? Epic Offensive FAIL. But the Suns beat the Blazers at their own game. Thanks for making me look like a jerk, fellas.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the other EPIC FAIL of this game: Gentry benching Nash at 6:09 of the first quarter after he picked up his second personal foul. It seems to me (and to Ben, who pointed this out to me), that this was an entirely unnecessary move that Gentry made because, well, that’s what NBA coaches do when a player collects his second foul before half of the first quarter has elapsed. Do you know how many fouls Steve Nash finished the game with? That’s right, three. Do you know how many fouls Nash is averaging per game this season? ONE-POINT-THREE. Point being, Steve Nash does not commit many fouls. Pulling him because he got two early ones just because that’s what NBA coaches do was completely asinine. I don’t think anyone would think that Nash was in “foul trouble” with two fouls. It didn’t hurt the Suns in this game, but using that ridiculous “conventional wisdom” coaching style could hurt the Suns later.