Two loses to two terrible-to-mediocre teams in the past two games.
In fact, the Phoenix Suns are 2-2 against such opponents in the past four games.
Did we mention that Amare Stoudemire got two technical fouls, the latter of which put him in the locker room and pretty much assured a Suns 117-109 loss to the 9-7 New Jersey Nets on Sunday night?
That and 21 turnovers, one of which drew boos from the crowd at US Airways Center. The culprit: Steve Nash, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
These go along with 19 turnovers by the Suns (resulting in 21 points) in the game before, in which they were blown out by Miami. Yeah, the 8-9 Heat embarrassed the Suns Friday night 107-92.
It was a lousy weekend on Planet Orange.
In both games, the Suns defense blew along with its offense. Last night, New Jersey point guard Devin Harris scored at will against the Suns, namely Nash, who was looking every bit his almost 35 years. Harris lit up him and backup point guard Sean Singletary for 47 points.
It was the second time in two games that a star guard has gone off on the Suns: In the Miami game, it was Dwyane Wade with 43 points.
The Suns' two All Stars in the last three seasons, Stoudemire and Nash, had four more points in the Nets game than Harris -- combined. We're not saying they played badly with 25 and 26 points respectively, just that this isn't nearly enough.
The Suns are out of whack, and they'll be out of the playoff picture before too long playing like they have in the past four games. They're sinking fast.
It took a heroic end-of-the-game effort by Nash to pull off a one-point road victory against the worst team in professional basketball, the 2-16 Oklahoma City Thunder. The game after that, the Suns barely managed to hang on and beat the 4-11 Minnesota Timberwolves in the Twin Cities.
Then, when a closer-to-.500 team, the Heat, meets them on their own court, they lose by 15 points
Depressing. And it will only get worse until Coach Terry Porter figures out how to get the Suns back in the rhythm of the last three years.
Here's an idea: Bring Shaquille O'Neal (foul trouble, fumbled passes, nine points, and five rebounds against New Jersey) off the bench and start Robin Lopez. The kid doesn't play enough to get big points, but his defense is impressive when he's out there. He had a monster block against Nets star Vince Carter Sunday night. (A side-note to the game was that he played good D against his brother, Nets center Brook Lopez, in the battle of the former Stanford stars.)
Robin Lopez may not be Pao Gasol, whom the Suns should have gone after (salary cap or not) last year instead of the well-past-his-prime O'Neal, but he would be able to run with the Suns -- that is, tick up the pace.
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The Suns are frustrated. That second technical by Stoudemire on Sunday night is evidence of that. New remedies must be tried. -- Rick Barrs