Phoenix Suns Play Lousy Defense as Still Another Bad Team Stomps Them

It's past time for the Suns to panic. But they can't muster up enough energy to even care whether another sub-.500 team blows them out.

Pride?  Apparently they have none.

Is it that they hate Coach Terry Porter, he of the long practices, clich'ed press conferences, and tough-guy persona?

Because they can't really be this bad. Can they?

They've shown signs of life this season. They still have a 26-21 record -- much better than the team they played Wednesday night in Oakland.

Yet Stephen Jackson (pictured) and his 16-34 Golden State Warriors handed the pitiful Suns their asses on a platter. They scored at will. There were wide-open jump shots and uncontested layups all night long. The final score, 124-112, doesn't reflect how bad the Suns really were.

It was 17-2 in the first quarter before the Suns even woke up. For most of the game, the gap was 17-20 points. The closest we saw the Suns come was 11 points, before the Warriors had another run. Some of the gap was erased in garbage time, after Porter emptied his bench in the fourth quarter.

Coach Don Nelson's run-and-gun guys hit 13 three-pointers to the Suns' 7, and shot 52 percent from the field to the Suns' 46.

Looking nothing like the Western Conference All-Star Team's starting power forward, Amar'e Stoudemire had a pathetic (for him) 13 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes. He got another in a long line of technical fouls because he (sniff, sniff) got a bad call. See, he wants to be treated with the due respect of an All-Star starter and get the calls that, say, Kobe Bryant or  Kevin Garnett would get.

Only he rarely shows the energy of these guys, who play on both ends of the floor. Amar'e just can't be bothered when somebody half-a-foot shorter blows in for a layup. We're beginning to hope that the trade rumors are true. Maybe it's time for the Suns to cut bait and see if they can get somebody who'll think "We" instead of  "Me"? They could get a couple or three "We's" for him if they don't wait too long. From the looks of things, he's only going to get worse.

And the Suns are only going to get worse, unless General Manager Steve Kerr figures something out. It doesn't look like Porter's up to the task. Is it time to call this a failed experiment?

To be fair, it's not like everybody on the Suns roster laid down Wesnesday night. Shaquille O'Neal had his usual solid night with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes. Steve Nash did fine with 16 points and 9 assists. Jason Richardson, who's largely been a bust since he was acquired from Charlotte, scored 24 points. And Grant Hill, though he only put in 8, played the best defense of anybody on the team.

But the big numbers were put up by the Warriors, the youngest team in the NBA. The big producer was forward Jackson, the team's old man at 30, who posted his first career triple-double: 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Then came guard Jamal Crawford with 27 points and forward Kalenna Azubuike with 25.

The Suns play the Warriors again Friday night at US Airways Center. Wonder if anybody will put a hand in Jackson or Crawford's face then? Naaah, why bother. Just as Porter put up the white flag at the end of Wednesday night's game, looks like his Suns have put it up for the rest of the season.  

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Rick Barrs
Contact: Rick Barrs