Things haven't been going well for the Phoenix Suns, to say the least. They've lost five of their last 10 games, including Saturday night's 123-105 drubbing at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats, and have amassed a paltry 6-7 record overall.
Setting aside a pair of unexpected wins over Los Angeles and Denver, this season hasn't been anything to write home about so far.
The loss to Charlotte is Phoenix's third straight loss of their current road trip (which also, coincidentally, is also the third straight defeat since Steve Nash was hobbled with a groin injury). And what a loss it was, as the cellar-dwelling Bobcats (who have a marginally worse record than the Suns) unleashed a massive scoring blowout Planet Orange and perfectly illustrated the major deficiencies that the Suns have been suffering since the season began.
Chief among them is defense. Phoenix's D was laughable on Saturday at the Time Warner Cable Arena as they allowed Charlotte, a team that was averaging around 90 points a game, to rack up a total of 12 points. Guarding seemed to be an alien concept to Alvin Gentry's squad as they practically just stood by and watched as Charlotte's Stephen Jackson (who provided the franchise's first triple-double) and his teammates planted the ball into the basket again and again.
Doesn't matter if it was from the three-point line (The 'cats were 9-13 from long distance) or in the interior (Charlotte topped the Suns 64-42 in the paint), the home team this evening were on fire. As for Phoenix? Eh, not so much.
Without Nash in the game, the Suns are also stinking offensive-wise, as scoring seems to be quite irregular. To wit: The Purple and Orange Gang had a seven-point lead with six minutes to go in the second quarter, only to cease shooting and allow Charlotte to bounce back with a four-point advantage by halftime.
Other than Grant Hill (who landed 23 points during the game), nary a Phoenix player exceeded 20 points. Channing Frye only had 11 points, but couldn't guard Jackson to save his life (which is likely causing fans to literally beg Robin Lopez to heal up his knee injury as quickly as possible). Jason Richardson only provided 13, and Jared Dudley continued to underperform with only 4 points. Goran Dragic had a relatively good night with 17 points, but allowed just as many buckets from D.J. Augustin
Gentry reportedly spent his postgame talk tounge-lashing his team for their shortcomings, which will hopefully inspire the Suns to salvage at least one win from their roadtrip when they hit Houston's Toyota Center to face the Rockets. Let's hope that included a stern lecture on defense, as Planet Orange has giving up a whopping 109 points to their opponents so far in the 2010-2011 campaign. Yikes.
Rick Adelman's team has also been on a major slump lately on both offense and defense and they're off to their worst start in five years at 3-9. Fingers crossed that the Phoenix doesn't gift-wrap them a fourth victory later tonight. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m. TV: KUTP My45. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For more information, visit www.suns.com.