Curing the Suns' offense? It's all about ball movement

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The offense tends to bog down when 'the ball sticks'.

During the Phoenix Suns' loss on Thursday night to the Dallas Mavericks, there was a point in the third quarter when the Mavs went on a 23-4 run, which put Phoenix in a big hole, as has happened many, many times this year. The Suns would almost complete the rally, but fall 97-94.

Head coach Alvin Gentry pinpointed one of the problems for the Suns and that was what was happening offensively. For the game, they shot only 40 percent, while Dallas shot 47 percent. During that point in the game, the ball started slowing down offensively and the players were going with more isolation plays, which Gentry noted is not one of the team's strengths.

"I was just disappointed in our ball movement," he said after the game. "We've got to do a better job. We're not an iso (isolation offense) team. We're not a one pass team."

The telling stat at the half was dealing with passing. Gentry noted that in the first half the Suns shot only 33 percent when they passed the ball two times or less. When they pass the ball at least three times in a possession, that percentage goes up to 68 percent.

Markieff Morris also observed, "The ball was sticking. We weren't getting as much movement as usual."

One thing that was notable was the play of Goran Dragic. He had a bad shooting night, going 5/14 from the field. But he was getting penetration and then passing the ball, almost always kicking it out to the opposite side of the floor. It almost seems as if he is trying too hard to distribute when he could take a shot at the hoop. With that penetration, dishing it off is a great idea. The issue is that there isn't an easy pass to where there is empty space on the floor.

Is Goran being a little too intent on not being a scoring point guard? Perhaps. Or perhaps it is a case where the offensive rotation is not working the way it should or could.

Regardless the reason, Gentry summed up what needs to happen offensively if the Suns want to have more success, especially if their opponents start hiting tough shots. It is simply this: "We've got to get the ball moving."

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