Offense just seems to flow better when the ball is moving around the floor and not "sticking" to one spot for the entirety of a shot-clock. That is something that the Phoenix Suns coaches noticed in previous games so they put an emphasis in practice on getting three or more passes in the half-court offense to create that flow.
That attention to detail paid dividends in the most complete offensive game of the season to date for the Suns.
"The ball was sticking a lot so definitely we did a lot of drills just passing," said Markieff Morris after the game. "Basically coach said the ball was sticking and we have to get more passing, just look at the box-score. The scorers are spread out and we need that."
Before the game Coach Alvin Gentry brought up that the team is tracking the effectiveness of the offense in different situations. To no shock they are shooting the ball nearly 56% when the ball is moving around a minimum of three times throughout the shot-clock.
There is truth to what Morris is saying as the team had seven players in double-digits, more importantly a season-high (tying) 29 total assists as a team, something Coach Gentry is starting to see:
"I just think everybody is getting a little more familiar with each other, that is big as we have talked about before. The execution was better for sure. I think it is the idea of knowing the guy besides you I thought was really important."
Coach Alvin Gentry has been preaching that since day one. This team needs to get on the same page as one another. Along the way there are singular issues that need to get resolved to bring the team together, most of which are solvable over time, not instant fixes after a days worth of practices.
First it was defending the perimeter, there are the offensive rebounding woes, general spacing on offense, and team shooting from the perimeter as a whole. All of those have not been resolved, but that is not from a lack of effort.
"I said all along we have competed and played extremely hard," said Coach Gentry. "We haven't played well, but we have played hard and competed. Our execution was a little better tonight and we didn't shoot the ball as well as I know we are capable of, but we did a better job of executing. Obviously we did a better job rebounding the basketball. I cannot remember the last time we had more offensive rebounds than they did."
Part of that execution was getting productivity from more than Shannon Brown off of the bench. The bench delivered with 34 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds giving the starters a needed break and spark of energy.
Goran Dragic was then able to come in and execute down the stretch pulling the strings with five points, four assists, and elite level defense on Nuggets star guard Ty Lawson (two points and two assists in the fourth) holding him in check.
This is no doubt the most complete game of the season by the Suns and the blueprint on how to get over the hump as a winning team, even a playoff caliber team this season.