It’s been such a long time since we’ve had a good old fashioned butt kicking that I’m not really sure how I feel about it yet. As near as I can tell, the last time we got spanked by 20 points or more was January 7th, against the T-Wolves, in our one, really bad game of the new year. Now make it two.
There is something that I really don’t understand, some weird relationship between the new (old) found run and gun, seven seconds or less offense that the Suns are back to, and somehow becoming more intense on defense at the same time. How does that happen? How do you crank up the speed and play loose and free, and simultaneously get better on defense? It doesn’t work for Golden State. There’s no doubt this is the best defense the Suns have played against us in our three matchups, and they did it with small ball (less the big Shaqtus). The Suns started three guards (Nash, Barbosa and J-Rich), a small forward (Grant Hill) and Shaq, and the only other guys they used for the most part was Louis Amundson ( a natural power forward), Barnes and Dragic.
The answer seems to be sort of a pick your poison gambit: They assume they may get beat on the boards, and may not be able to protect the rim that well (even though they did), in exchange for a lot of fast and loose guys switching and playing the passing lanes like a bunch of hawks. It worked great tonight. The Suns got 14 steals, and forced 23 turnovers (and got 29 points off of them), and the Thunder never looked in sync except for a nice little run in the third. The rest of the time it was making my eyes bleed.
In the first quarter I had a pretty good idea that we were in for a long night when I counted the Suns getting to the rim on their first seven possessions. Keep Reading…