Newsroom Notes: Suns Torch Blazers
Suns head coach Alvin Gentry called Wednesday's 114-87 home win over the Blazers the club's most "complete" victory of the season. Check out some notable tidbits uncovered in the locker room before and after the game.
With the Suns coming into the night 4-7, Gentry felt that a change needed to be made to the starting lineup.
Gentry’s explanation for the shuffle was as followed: the team needed better first-quarter starts and defensive consistency.
The thinking behind the move was that Brown can get his own shot and has improved on defense, while Morris can help space the floor. Also, with Scola playing against the opponents' reserves, he could receive more post-up opportunities.
“We had long discussions over the past week over this,” Gentry said. “(The conversations) would go an hour to hour and a half after practice.”
Like with the original starting five, Gentry would like to see a decent sampling of games before he decides whether to tinker with it again. And the move didn't come without some reservation.
“My biggest concern is how he (Scola) adapts to the bench,” Gentry said. “He’s started his entire career and isn’t used to coming off the bench.”
Although Gentry doesn’t look at moving Scola and Dudley to the bench as a demotion of any kind, he had to make sure they didn’t view it that way. Before making a change to the rotation or to the lineup, Gentry will take the player aside and let them know what he’s planning on doing.
In return, he will hear the players’ thoughts. Knowing the nature of competitors, the Suns head coach knows that adjustments to playing time can sometimes trouble players.
“They’re going to be disappointed,” Gentry said. “But that is a big part of what makes them who they are. And as a coach I have to be able to deal with that.”
Coming into Wednesday’s contest, the Suns have trailed by double figures in all six home games this season. In fact, Phoenix had trailed by double-digits in the first half of four of those six home games.
In addition, in 10 of their 11 games this season, the Suns have fallen behind by 10 or more points. Whether it could be attributed to the lineup change or not, the largest deficit that Phoenix faced on Wednesday was four points.
O’Neal on Track
Coming into November 16’s contest against Miami, Suns backup center Jermaine O’Neal had only totaled four points three games. Since then, O'Neal has reeled off three-straight games of double-figure scoring.
Against Portland, the six-time All-Star posted a season-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He added five rebounds and two blocks, as well.
His 17 points was the most he’s scored since pouring in 19 on December 30, 2011 against Detroit as a member of the Celtics.
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