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Jazz Silence Suns
By: Stefan Swiat, Suns.comThe Suns were unstoppable offensively Friday. Unfortunately, it only lasted for a quarter.
After shooting 78 percent in the first period, the Suns’ shooting went frigid en route to an 87-80 home loss to the Jazz on Friday.
“I thought the first quarter was the best we’ve played the whole season,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. “I thought the last three quarters were just the worst we could have possibly played. The second quarter was as poorly as we’ve played all season.”
Coming out of the gate, Phoenix drilled 7-of-8 and eventually 11-of-13 of its first shots. However, the second quarter was another story.
After draining their first two, the Suns only were able to convert on 2-of-17 of their shots to finish the half. The outcome was nine points, their worst output of the season.
“We were always on the (shot) clock,” Gentry said. “We got on the clock in the second quarter. We went 15 straight possessions without a basket because we weren’t executing and we weren’t getting into the play sets quickly enough and so we got on the clock.”
Much of the struggles were a result of a season-high 21 turnovers and the 25 points surrendered due to them. In addition, of the 87 points surrendered, 60 were in the paint.
“The second unit didn’t move the ball so well,” Suns point guard Goran Dragic said. “They were playing more one-on-five. When you play like that, you’re not getting the good looks, you’re shooting contested shots and your percentage is way down.”
Suns center Marcin Gortat led five Suns in double figures with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, while Dragic contributed 17 points and six assists. Jared Dudley added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Suns look to rebound against the Grizzlies on Sunday.
Luck of the Irish
One Suns player will be particularly interested in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game on Monday. That player will be Luke Zeller.
A Notre Dame alum, Zeller claims he will be camped out in his hotel room in Milwaukee when the two teams clash in college football’s biggest game. He said that the ritual has brought luck to the Fighting Irish the past few games.
“I’ll probably just hang out in the room in Milwaukee because I know I’m going to just yell and scream,” the Suns center said. “I’m excited that we’re playing Alabama because you always want to play the best team out there. And I think Alabama has shown that they’re the best other team in the country.”
Notre Dame does not belong to a conference and is the first independent team to play in the National Championship game since the start of the BCS. Despite the college’s immense history, it hasn’t won a national championship since 1988. Zeller knows that his team is playing a tough Alabama team though.
“I think our defense can stop them but (Everett) Golson is a redshirt freshman quarterback and is going to have to have a big game against a tough, tough defense,” Zeller surmised. “Luckily, he goes against a tough defense every day in practice so I think he’s got a good chance. I think the biggest thing is not turning it over.”
Suns point guard Goran Dragic came into Friday’s game averaging 17.3 points, 8.7 assists and 1.67 blocks in his last three games. He accomplished that by getting to the line at a rate of 9.3 attempts per contest.
In addition, for the first time as a member of the Suns, Dragic has at least 16 points and six assists in four-straight games.
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