Phoenix Suns' 4-2 Road Trip: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Phoenix Suns' 4-2 Road Trip: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Grant Hill's defense and Steve Nash moving into 6th place for assists were just part of the 11 day trip for Phoenix.

The Suns finished their six-game road trip on Sunday night.  They finished the trip with a solid 4-2 record.  Here’s the good, bad and ugly of the last 11 days.

 

The Good

Winning four games was good.  This is not college basketball.  Wins are wins.  Toronto, Indiana, New Jersey and Milwaukee having losing records does not matter.  What matters are the wins.

Channing Frye was better than good for five of the six games.  Despite a rough night against the Celtics, he was the road trip’s MVP.  He shot the ball very well including hitting two game winners. He did more than just score on the road trip though.   Before his injury against the Thunder on Sunday night, he had a career-high 15 boards.

Grant Hill’s defense was great on the road trip.  He held Deron Williams to 5-14 shooting, and the NBA’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant, made just 3-14 from the field against Hill.

The bench against the Celtics was very good.  Look at the box score.  The starters all have a negative plus/minus.  The second five all have a positive plus/minus.  Plus/minus is not always the best indicator of how an individual played, but for an entire unit, as is the case here, it is very telling.

Rounding out the good are Steve Nash now being No. 6 all-time for assists in the NBA and Mickael Pietrus finding some offense (20 points apiece) in games five and six of the trip.

Elsa/Getty Images
If Pietrus can continue to score well, it will be a huge lift for this team.

 

The Bad

Losses are bad.  Period.  You can have losses that can help you improve, but in a perfect world you can learn those lessons without making notches in the "L" column.

The worst kinds of losses are the ones you waste because you don’t get better from them.  Did the Suns get better or learn anything new after the Celtics or Thunder losses?

Here’s what we saw.  Whether or not we learned anything is another story.

Against the Celtics, the starters just plain sucked.  The bench got the team back into the game and turned garbage time into crunch time as noted in the Good section, but if the starters would have done anything worthwhile, the outcome of that game could have been drastically different.

Late game struggles. Steve Nash unfortunately epitomized this problem Sunday night against OKC.  With his team down one, with under 20 seconds left, he turned the ball over for just the second time in the game.

He continued to struggle in overtime when he forced an off-balance, running, 28-footer with nine seconds left.  Even if it went in, it was not a great or even good shot because it would give the Thunder too much time to work with.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Suns fans hope Frye doesn't miss too much time with his shoulder injury.

Also worth noting is the Suns were .01 second away from leaving New Jersey with a loss after Kris Humphries tip was disallowed.  This team has to close out better.

Grant Hill’s offense.  In the Toronto, New Jersey and Oklahoma City games combined he only scored 12 total points.  His 34 against the Pacers was impressive, but he didn’t score a single point against the Thunder.  Overall, he struggled on the offensive end of the floor.

 

The Ugly

Channing Frye’s injury was ugly for two reasons.  One, it looked ugly.  The immediate reaction was his arm looked dislocated, and anyone even vaguely aware of how the human body is supposed to work realizes dislocated shoulders don’t look right. 

Two, it was ugly for the team.  Frye seemed to be blossoming into the Suns’ go to guy (see the aforementioned game-winners), and he was rebounding well.  If he misses any substantial time (MRI is scheduled for Monday), it might thwart any playoff chances this team has.

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