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Suns Points: Transition defense key vs. Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (33) shoots from from the 3-point line against Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

A random combination of news, notes and analysis of what’s going on around the Phoenix Suns.

Transition Defense

In the Suns’ loss to the Pelicans Sunday it was a case of Phoenix allowing New Orleans to get where they wanted to early in the shot clock.

The struggles were seen off misses, turnovers and made baskets. According to SportVU, with between 18 and 24 seconds on the shot clock the Pelicans made 13-21 shots and were 10-14 on two pointers. It was especially apparent during New Orleans’ 36-point third quarter that propelled them to victory.

Eight of the 13 baskets the Pelicans made in the quarter came with 16 seconds or more on the shot clock, and six of them were with 19 seconds or more.

“We had a lot of transition breakdowns,” said head coach Jeff Hornacek. “When there’s mismatches you gotta be alert when you run back. You gotta talk. You know you’re not going to be lined up on the guy you’re supposed to guard. Sometimes you may have to take a guy you’re not assigned to, but then you just fix it later. I thought we had too many breakdowns, ‘oh my guy’s over there I gotta go run to him,’ when he should have picked up somebody else.”

Keep an eye on P.J. Tucker’s substitution pattern

Whether Hornacek is happy with how the team is defending Pelicans sniper Ryan Anderson or not can be tracked by how he uses Tucker.

Anderson went off in the first half Sunday, going for 18 points and making four threes.

In the second half, Hornacek subbed out Tucker at the 8:02 mark of the third quarter, only the fourth time this season he’d been taken out above the 5:00 min mark of the first or third (not counting foul trouble situations). This was done so he could come back in the game and defend Anderson when he entered off the Pelicans’ bench.

Hornacek said he would prefer to not have to use the strategy and keep a more typical rotation.

Bledsoe injury update

Eric Bledsoe missed Monday’s loss to the Spurs with what he described as a left knee “strain.”

Bledsoe is questionable for Wednesday night’s rematch with the Pelicans and is going to work out pregame before coming to a decision on whether he suits up.

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