We knew to expect the worst when Suns broadcasters harped from the beginning of the game that the team got into Philadelphia at past 2 a.m. Monday after their victory over the Pistons in Detroit Sunday night
You know, the old back-to-back road games bugaboo.
And when they mentioned that the 76ers were "well rested" after five home games in a row and two days' rest, the stage was set...
For the Suns to suck -- that is, put out zilch energy in Monday evening's contest against a 25-24 team with a bunch of guys you've never heard of and Andre Iguodala, the one-time Arizona Wildcat.
And the Suns, as pretty much predicted by Planet Orange announcers, just laid down and let Iguodala & Co. roll over them 108-91. The energetic guy pictured above would've been an improvement over a couple of Suns starters. We're not sure we're kidding.
Iguodala isn't a great player, but he still embarrassed the Suns, making so many barely contested baskets in the paint that we couldn't stand to watch after awhile. The fourth-year small forward finished with 25 points and 7 assists.
And he was by no means the star of this game. This would be off-the-bench rookie big man Mareece Speights, who dominated the pathetic Suns with hooks, jumpshots, slam dunks, you name it to finish with 24 points and 7 rebounds.
Throw in power forward Thaddeus Young's 27 points, and you've got the makings of a good old-fashioned ass-whipping.
Which we've seen our share of this season with Coach Terry Porter's Suns -- along with garbage time starting painfully early. This time, it took up most of the second half.
Coach, how much garbage time do you think this franchise can stand before TV sponsors start dropping out because nobody's watching after the first quarter or two? If we hadn't been forced to watch to write this blog, we'd have been picking the fleas off our Great Dane instead.
Even though the Suns bench cut the gap to 11 points during the third quarter, Porter refused to pull down that white flag he so loves to put up and re-insert all of his starters.
Oh, the broadcasters -- who're paid to keep talking, we guess -- kept saying how great it was that everybody off the bench got some playing time, that these seldom-used players "deserved the game experience."
Fuck that! It made us rue the day when we ever criticized former Coach Mike D'Antoni for just going seven or eight deep on his bench. We'd yelp, develop those bench warmers! D'Antoni must've known what a bore this would be.
Maybe it was a lost cause Monday night, since it was clear that Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, and Grant Hill weren't going to put out in this game, not after actually doing their part (and then some, in Nash's case) to make the Suns look like a decent professional basketball team in Sunday night's 107-97 victory over the 27-22 Pistons.
But we've got to ask, why is it that Porter can't motivate his first unit to exert themselves against a mediocre bunch like the Sixers. Three of his starters may be 35, 36, and 37 respectively, but don't they give a shit? For Christ's sake, the Suns are fighting for a playoff spot!
So they have to win two nights in a row -- isn't that what good basketball teams do, especially when the second team on the trip's supposed to be a pasty?
The only thing we liked about Porter's coaching in this game was that he forced one starter, Amar'e Stoudemire, to play almost the entire game. Serves the whiner -- who's apparently on the trading block -- right. The Western Conference All-Star Team's starting forward managed 19 points and 6 rebound in 39 minutes. The next most prolific Suns starter was shooting guard Jason Richardson, who had 16 points in 29 minutes.
Subs Matt Barnes, Alando Tucker, and Leandro Barboss had 9 points each. Most all of it was in that endless garbage time.
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Though Shaq pulled down10 rebounds and Nash dished out 8 assists, they had no impact on this game. O'Neal scored 6 points, and Nash scored 2 (one of eight field goals).
Next up on this road trip: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night. The Cavs have only lost once at home this season -- to the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. God have mercy on our souls.