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Alvin Gentry, Phoenix Suns determined to end skid

For head coach Alvin Gentry and the Phoenix Suns, consistency on the offensive side of the court has been hard to come by.

Gentry’s offense — or lack thereof — has resulted in only one win over the Suns’ last nine games, with five of them being at US Airways Center.

“We lost rhythm, and we just never got it back,” Gentry said in regards to the Suns offensive struggles. “We’ve got to have rhythm about our offense.”

The month of December was a roller coaster for the Suns, providing losing streaks of five and six games. But it was a four-game winning streak sandwiched in between when the Suns were playing at their season’s best.

The Suns continued their struggles into the new year with losses in two of their three games at home while averaging a mere 83.3 points per game. The Suns’ season average is 96.3.

“We’re frustrated from the standpoint of what has happened offensively in the last two or three games,” Gentry said. “We’re frustrated from the fact that we’re not winning.”

Gentry’s offense hasn’t produced the points necessary to match the enhanced defensive play of the Suns. Fast-break points have been inconsistent of late, with an average of eight per game during the three game homestand. The team’s points off turnover ratio hasn’t proved to help the Suns, either.

“We got to be able to convert turnovers,” Gentry said. “Defensively we have been better, but our offense has suffered.”

Gentry, however, doesn’t believe the defensive improvement has had a direct effect on the offensive struggles, which have led Gentry to throw a wrench into the offensive mix.

Since a loss to the Timberwolves on Dec. 29, Gentry has moved P.J. Tucker into the starting lineup for Shannon Brown. The adjustment was made in hopes of providing a boost on defense for the Suns, along with a consistent force on offense.

“P.J. gives us a presence out there that we really need from a defensive standpoint,” Gentry said. “But also, he comes up with some loose balls and he makes some plays that help you win games.”

The team’s struggles won’t deter Gentry from making further roster moves, including giving forward Wesley Johnson some game time over Michael Beasley.

“He deserves an opportunity,” Gentry said. “I think we do need to take a good look at him. In certain situations, we are going to try Michael (Beasley) and see if he can give us a boost.”

Whatever way it has to be done, Gentry and the Suns are determined to turn the recent struggles around.

His players are on the same page.

“If you’re not embarrassed by losing, that’s a problem,” center Jermaine O’Neal said. “And if you’re not tired about losing, that’s a whole other problem.”

“The only ones that can turn it around are the people in the locker room,” Gentry said. “Everyone has got to be involved.”

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