When Lindsey Hunter took over as interim head coach, he preached defense first and foremost. The offense, he said, would take care of itself. And it did, initially.
In the eight games after the coaching change, the Suns scored 90 or more points in a season-high eight straight games.
In the last eight games, however, the Suns have reached the 90-point mark just three times.
“We haven’t been in a good rhythm offensively in a while, probably since Portland,” Jared Dudley said. “When it comes to offensively, I just think we’re in a bad place right now. I don’t know if it’s because our defense is affecting our offense, offense affecting our defense. We need to work on both, but if you can’t score 90 points it’s going to tough for you to win in this league.”
The Suns haven’t won, losing three straight and seven of eight overall. Going into Monday night’s action, their 18-39 record is the fourth-worst mark in the NBA.
“It’s really pretty deep in the season and we still got some problems with the offense,” Goran Dragic said. “Some guys just forgot the plays or they’re not in the right spot. We’ve got maybe one option or two and none more. We have to find some other options too.”
Dragic did say the chemistry between him and Marcin Gortat has improved, especially on pick-and-rolls. “He’s really diving well,” said Dragic, who assisted on half of Gortat’s ten made field goals against San Antonio Sunday.
The constant lineup shuffling is likely not help matters. And after practice Monday, Hunter again hinted at changing who he sends out to start games. “Quite possibly,” he said. “Nothing is concrete. I just think we’re looking for some consistency out of our guys and find a level of comfort for them and then we can continue to push forward.”
Dudley, who’s seen his minutes fluctuate, is not buying the number of different rotations as a reason for the team’s lack of scoring punch.
“You can’t use that as an excuse,” he said. “I would just say right now, it’s not good chemistry. The ball is sticking, staying in one hand. In basketball, when you don’t have a go-to guy or a guy you can throw it in and give you 25 points a game the ball has got to move from side to side. I just think that we’ve got to start using our strength a little better.”
Putting the ball in the basket has become even more difficult to do at US Airways Center. In the last three home games, the Suns have averaged 81.3 points on 36.9 percent shooting, including 26.2 percent from 3-point range.
“We’ve been trying to break things down and simplify for our guys,” Hunter said. “I don’t think it has to be something that’s complicated. It just has to be simplified and show guys how to execute in the small things we do. That’s what it’s about, and we’re getting there.”