DALLAS – El Alone return to Phoenix tied 2-2 with the Mavericks after falling twice in a row in Dallas. The question is, will their offense be where they left off?
He will focus heavily on Phoenix’s defense after the fourth game loss to the Mavs on Sunday. The Suns won 111 points, including a frankly comical 20-of-44 Dallas three-point shot. And yet, the Phoenix offensive now has more problems after a nightmare weekend. After posting an offensive score of at least 130 in Games 1 and 2, the Suns have dropped to 107.1 in the last two games, which would have been the fourth worst among all teams in the regular season.
So, is it a small sample? Missing features? What is the reason for Phoenix’s offensive problems? Participants offered different motives after game 4.
Devin Booker– who scored the best game on Sunday 35 – said that in general he liked the process of the attack of the Suns in the most recent defeat. He noted Dallas’ offensive success as a contributor to the fall in scoring, saying it’s harder for Phoenix to score when he pulls the ball from under the hoop than in transition.
Jae Crowder he credited the Mavs defense, which he says has explored the Suns well and often takes away the first option. Crowder said Phoenix needs to work on his offense more deliberately and stop accelerating and take the first available look. He also mentioned that the relative absence of Chris Paul On Sunday he aggravated the problem, because he is the player who usually sets the team during offensive breaks.
And that brings us to Paul. As much as he was CP3 during the first two games of the second round, it has been confusingly bad the last two, which coincided with him turning 37 on May 6th. In Game 3, Paul spun the ball unusually seven times. In the fourth game, he only played 23 minutes due to constant foul problems, and scored four in the first half.
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There will be doubts about Paul’s faults. His last three were, at best, controversial. His fourth came with 1.1 seconds left in the second quarter, when Paul tried to follow his own mistake and ran into Luka Dončić, which exaggerated the contact. In his fifth, Paul tried to score a foul Jalen Brunson throwing himself in front of him on the back court, a play we’ve run CP countless times. But perhaps Paul turned his back too far and was called in for an offensive rape, when a non-call would probably have been enough. And finally, he received his sixth foul on Brunson on a rebound, at best in marginal contact.
Paul wasn’t in the mood to talk after the game, he often looked at his phone and then left his press conference in the middle after offering clichés on a couple of questions. While Paul was obviously frustrated by a situation involving the fans and his family during the game, in a nutshell, he needs to be better in this series to move forward.
Paul is not Phoenix’s top scorer, but he is the master of his offense. It’s no coincidence that the Suns fought when he turned the ball around or wasn’t on the ground. (Phoenix had an offensive efficiency of 113.0 with CP on the ground on Sunday, not great, but much better than with him on the bench).
Deandre Ayton it also needs to increase. Crowder likes to say that at some point the playoffs become less about the scheme and more about the “hand-to-hand” battles. Ayton has largely failed to take advantage of his clashes in recent games. Part of the problem is that the Suns aren’t working hard enough on their offense to get the look of Ayton when he seals the younger boys in the paint. But Ayton also needs to be more assertive. This varied offensive play he showed during the regular season has not been so evident in this series, and Ayton must be a factor for Dallas to pay to play small.
The Mavs are going to take out all three. They have now fired 39, 41, 39 and 44 attempts from beyond the bow through Games 1 to 4 of this series. Yes, there is room for Phoenix to improve on the defensive, especially avoiding the penetration of the dribble in the middle of the ground, which allows many of these kicks to occur in the first place. The Suns need to step closer to these shooters and run like the boys Davis Bertans i Dorian Finney-Smith offline.
But none of that will matter if Phoenix himself can’t score. With a game 5 key on the horizon, the Suns ’next adjustment must reach the offensive end. Maybe a return home will lead to a return to form.
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