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Phoenix Suns: Signs of Life Don't Mean Flaws Are Solved

Matt Petersen@@TheMattPetersenCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

The Suns are anything but on the same page right now.
The Suns are anything but on the same page right now.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A gritty, overtime win over the New Jersey Nets should be considered just that: a gritty, overtime win over the New Jersey Nets.

In other words, if you're a Suns fan, don't be impressed, hopeful or optimistic that Phoenix has turned a corner.

Instead, accept the following facts:

  1. Your team is good enough to barely beat the dregs of the league (as seen with the nail-biters over Cleveland and Jersey this week).
  2. There are still a lot of awkward issues with this team.

Spacing

Of any five Suns on the floor, at least three are on a different page when it comes to spacing the floor.

Nash would weave in and out of the lane several times before realizing no one was putting themself in a position to receive the ball, leaving him to hoist up a shot with the clock winding down.

Defense

Nash said the following to the Arizona Republic following the Suns' debacle at Denver:

"We've got to go out there and have each of us demand more of ourselves and go out there and play hard and try to win even if it's not pretty."

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Quotes like that have been almost redundant over the last two weeks, but for all the talk about effort, the Suns needed to be down 15 in the fourth quarter before showing any.

Except for Jared Dudley (who should be starting given his recent play), no one for Phoenix showed any sense of urgency on the defensive end.

There was no man-to-man pressure when a player's man had the ball, which might have cost the Suns the win were it not for Travis Outlaw's horrid shooting (2-for-12) despite several open looks.

Offense

Who's "the man?"

It was Jason Richardson, but now that he's been shipped to Orlando, you can almost see that question asked via the Suns' listless play on offense.

Nash occasionally takes over, but it's always as a last resort. Vince Carter will occasionally have flashback moments, but those are sparks compared to the fire J-Rich left behind.

Hakim Warrick's atrocious attention on the defensive end compromises the benefit of his pick-and-roll game.

Again, maybe Phoenix should go to Jared Dudley more.

If that's the case, Suns fans have yet another reason to admit how far their team has fallen.

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