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Phoenix Suns want to push the tempo

The Phoenix Suns’ 85-84 loss on opening night to the New
Orleans Hornets made Planet Orange’s eyes bleed. A fan
base accustomed to a potent offense isn’t used to seeing
the Suns struggle through a game with fewer than 90
points. Head coach Alvin Gentry has a solution.

“We got to become more of a running team,” said Gentry
after shoot around on Wednesday. “We’re not a running
team, we’re a jogging team. We’re not good as a jogging
team; we got to find a way to manufacture easy baskets and
not to have to work so hard in half-court sets.

Phoenix shot 38% from the field in half-court sets Monday
night.

“We have to get back to where we’ve got teams on their
heels,” continued Gentry. “They’re not on their heels
right now they’re just running back and getting themselves
set.”

When most people hear the words “running” and “pushing the
tempo” they think fastbreak points. This isn’t the case
with the Suns, as they are not your traditional run and
gun team, which is shown by the 14 fastbreak points they
had against the Hornets. The Suns averaged 13.8 fastbreak
points in 2010-11.

The two differences in the Suns offense on opening night
compared to last year were pace and offensive efficiency.
During the 2010-11 campaign Phoenix averaged 96.8
possessions and an offensive efficiency of 107. Against
the Hornets there were only 90 possessions and the Suns
offensive efficiency was 93.3.

What Coach Gentry is discussing isn’t getting out on the
break more, he wants to attack early in the shot clock on
made and missed baskets.