Before the game Head Coach Alvin Gentry made it pretty evident that the team was going to show more of their seasonal rotation against the Sacramento Kings. All pre-season the team was seeing what they had in their training camp invites, but tonight was more of a taste of the regular season.
"Yeah pretty much," stated Gentry about this game being indicative of the seasonal rotation. "We will see, but if we continue to have starts like that it will not last very long."
With the way he controlled the rotation it was pretty clear that roles are being defined throughout the team.
The minutes for the point guards were broken down between the starter, Goran Dragic (30 minutes), and the back-up Sebastian Telfair (18 minutes) like it would be in the regular season. There is a noticeable name missing from that group in rookie first round pick Kendall Marshall who clocked exactly zero minutes.
"When he said it was going to be a real game I knew I wasn't going to play 25 minutes," said Marshall with a smile after the game on Gentry's rotation today. "Obviously I'd like to be great right now, but that is not the way it works all the time."
Does this mean there will be a healthy amount of "DNP Coaches Decision's" in the future of the rookie that was drafted to be the future of the franchise?
"We are not going to be able to play three or four guards," said Gentry post-game on Marshall's DNP. "Obviously there will be times he will play. I wanted to take a good look at Goran and a good look at Bassy (Telfair) and right now those guys are ahead of him."
On the wing the team received a spark from P.J. Tucker who Gentry labeled as the "teams best perimeter defender" as he came in and gave the team a spark in the second quarter helping get Shannon Brown going on offense and rubbing off on Jermaine O'Neal as he stepped into a youthful form rebounding and blocking shots like it was 2004 all over again.
"For me it is not a thought it is just the way I play," said Tucker about playing with energy all the time. "It is what I do. Some people are like, I need to do this or make yourself do it, but for me it's just what I do. It is natural. I think hard work beats talent every day."
Offensively the team showed more balance, defensively they played well in spots, and on the glass they took advantage of size and experience to take control of the game. Having a player of DeMarcus Cousins' caliber play only eight and a half minutes is not going to happen in the regular season so the rebounding dominance has to be taken with a grain of salt.
The game was summarized best by Gentry, "in the end it is a pre-season game so take it for what it is worth guys."
That about sums it up, but what has to be tough for the fans of the Valley has got to be that the team struggled at times against a team that was clearly not using its seasonal rotation all the while the Suns were. Take that for what it is worth.
It was the performance that the coaching staff has been looking for all pre-season after preaching they need to fix their deficiencies on the glass as the Phoenix Suns took it to the Sacramento Kings at home. The start was brutal to watch as the team fumbled away eight turnovers in the first quarter leading to a 14-2 deficit.
That hole was tough to climb out of, but a 48-30 closure of the half did the trick as the Suns (3-2) defeated the Kings (4-2) 103-88 surrounded by a complete team performance across the board.
Overall it was the play on the glass that gave the home team the needed edge to knock off the team that gave them their first loss of the pre-season only a few weeks ago. As a collective unit the Suns out-rebounded the Kings (56-44) despite giving up 18 ( four to Thomas Robinson) offensive rebounds. Those offensive rebounds nearly helped bring the Kings back, but the Suns fought them off in the end.
Rebounding has been the issue this pre-season as the team has been out-rebounded in three out of four games and a collective 176-173 -- a story numbers do not fully tell. Offensively balance was key as well with five players in double figures led by Jared Dudley's 25 and Beasley's 15.
Up next for the Suns is a trip to face the Golden State Warriors on a back-to-back at 7:30 p.m. local time getting a preview of the team they open the season with in a weeks time.