DALLAS – The The sun return to Phoenix tied 2-2 s Mavericks after two consecutive falls in Dallas. The question is will their offense be where they left it?
There will be a lot of focus on Phoenix’s defense after losing in Game 4 to the Mavs on Sunday. The Suns were defeated by 111 points, including a frankly comical 20-of-44 shot for three points from Dallas. Still, the Phoenix attack is now probably in even bigger trouble after a nightmarish weekend. After posting an attack rating of at least 130 in Games 1 and 2, the Suns have dropped to 107.1 in their last two games — the fourth worst of all teams in a regular season.
So is this a small sample size? Missed punches? What is the reason for Phoenix’s offensive troubles? Participants offered different reasons after the fourth game.
Devin Booker“Who scored the top 35 of the game on Sunday,” he said, adding that he generally liked the Suns’ attack in the final defeat. He highlighted Dallas’ offensive success, which contributed to the drop in goals, saying Phoenix found it harder to score when he took the ball out of the hoop than when he entered the transition.
Jae Crowder he is credited with defending the Mavs, who he says have scouted the Suns well and often deprive them of the first option. Crowder said Phoenix needs to do its attack more thoughtfully, and stop being accelerated and the first sight available. He also mentioned that it is a relative absence Chris Paul on Sunday he exacerbated the problem as he is a player who usually calms the team down during offensive lulls.
And that brings us to Paul. As great as CP3 was during the first two games of the second round, he was confusingly bad in the last two — which coincided with his 37th birthday. In Game 3, Paul unusually turned the ball seven times. In the fourth game, he played just 23 minutes due to constant foul problems, picking up four in the first half alone.
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There will be quarrels over Paul’s violations. His last three have been controversial at best. His fourth came with 1.1 seconds to go in the second quarter when Paul tried to track his own miss and ran into Luka Dončić, who exaggerated the contact. On his fifth, Paul tried to commit a foul Jalen Brunson retreating in front of him in the hinterland – a game we CP played countless times. But Paul may have stretched his butt too much and was called in for an offensive offense, when a non-return would probably suffice. And finally, he made his sixth foul on Brunson on the jump, at best on the edge contact.
Paul was not in a talkative mood after the game, he often glanced at his phone and then left his press conference in the middle after putting out platitudes on a few questions. While Paul was obviously frustrated by the situation the fans and his family were in during the match, simply put, he needs to be better in this series going forward.
Paul is not Phoenix’s top scorer, but he is the maestro of his attack. It is no coincidence that the Suns struggled when he either turned the ball or was not on the floor. (Phoenix had an offensive efficiency of 113.0 with CP on the floor on Sunday – not great, but much better than with him on the bench.)
Deandre Ayton it also needs to be strengthened. Crowder likes to say that at some point the playoffs become less about the scheme and more about the “mano a mano” battles. Ayton have largely failed to take advantage of their matches in the last few games. Part of the problem is that the Suns aren’t doing enough in their attack to make Ayton look when they seal the smaller guys in color. But Ayton also needs to be more assertive. That diverse offensive play he showed during the regular season wasn’t so obvious in this series, and Ayton has to be a factor in making Dallas pay for a little play.
The Mavs will take off their threes. They have now fired 39, 41, 39 and 44 attempts outside the arc through games 1 to 4 of this series. Yes, there’s room for Phoenix to improve on defensive form, especially preventing dribble penetration in the middle of the floor, allowing many of those throws to happen. The Suns have to keep a step closer to these shooters and run guys like Davis Bertans and Dorian Finney-Smith out of line.
But none of that will matter if Phoenix alone can’t score. With Key Game 5 on the horizon, the Suns ’next adjustment must come in attack. Maybe returning home will encourage getting back in shape.
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