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Suns need a focused Michael Beasley to win games

November 1, 2012: Gentry: He’s got to be a star player for us

Regardless of the name on the back of the uniform and how many zeros appear on the player’s paycheck, Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry has proven he will play the hot hand.

Ask Amare Stoudemire. Ask Jason Richardson.

And now, ask Michael Beasley.

The Suns this summer made Beasley their number one target in free agency, investing $18 million over the next three years on the former 2008 second overall draft pick.

That investment played only 22 minutes — the fewest of any starter — and not a single minute in the fourth quarter on opening night as Gentry opted to go with P.J. Tucker.

“Just how it goes sometimes,” Beasley said after practice Thursday.

He watched from the bench as his teammates lost an eight point lead and ultimately the game, 87-85 to the Golden State Warriors.

“That was one of those rare situations,” Gentry explained. “He’s got to be on the floor for us. He’s got to be a star player for us.”

Beasley was hardly the star Wednesday, missing seven of his nine field goal attempts.

“We need for him to play for us to win ball games,” Luis Scola said. “We need to find a way to make him more comfortable and get him the shots he that he wants…so he can get it going. That’s when the real Michael shows up. Once he gets it going, it’s really hard to stop him.”

“Just got to be aggressive,” Beasley said of how he can be more effective, “aggressive on both ends of the floor. I feel like I have the talent level and the stamina and also the mental stability to play 30-plus minutes a game. I can’t really flow in and out of games.”

Keeping the 23-year-old fully engaged is going to be one of the bigger challenges for the Suns this season.

“When he’s out there there’s got to be a 48 minute-focus,” Gentry said. “If he’s out there 35 minutes, it’s got to be a 35 minute-focus. We’ve got to give him a little bit of a break because this is the first time in his career that anybody, any team has asked him to do what we’re asking him to do. We’re asking him to be basically the man on our team.”

Gentry the day after acknowledged the Suns did some good things against the Warriors, but ultimately the game came down to rebounding. “We have to complete the possession and the way you complete the possession is to come up with the rebound.”

The Suns allowed 17 offensive rebounds.

Scola said the team can’t afford stretches where they allow teams to go on a 17-4 run as the Warriors did in the second quarter.

“We’re going to lose almost every game that we play even for one quarter if we play a little bit of the game the way we did last night. We need to play hard. We’re not a cool team. We’re not a pretty team. It’s not going to be sexy. We just got to grind it.”