The Phoenix Suns were unable to play cohesive basketball for 48 minutes, and the end result was a difficult loss to the Sacramento Kings, 116-113.
Channing Frye and Jared Dudley led the team with 21 points apiece, while Marcin Gortat grabbed 11 rebounds and Steve Nash contributed 14 assists.
Watching this team swirl the drain has been painful, especially considering all the talent that is on this squad. They are under performing and it's not fun to watch from a fan perspective. But enough about the score -- what was really happening against the Kings?
Alvin Gentry made two things very clear on Tuesday evening in Sacramento: this team was not going to make the playoffs, and that a roster evaluation needed to take place.
The clearest sign that there were changes in the air? As the third quarter wound down, Channing Frye slid over from power forward and played center for the first time in months. Instead of inserting Robin Lopez into the game, coach Gentry put Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick on the floor next to Steve Nash and Vince Carter.
These moves signify a strong shift in ideology, with the Suns moving towards what their coaching staff considers "players with potential." Outside of Vince Carter, one would fully expect Frye, Warrick, Childress, and Nash to be on the Phoenix roster in 2011-12.
Who are the odd men out at this point? Robin Lopez, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Zabian Dowdell.
Who does Gentry like? The answer is pretty obvious -- Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, Grant Hill and Steve Nash.
It's interesting to watch games when the playoffs are not a factor. The coach can let his personal preferences shine through into the rotations he puts on the court, and give minutes to his favorite players on the roster. Guys like Josh Childress and Aaron Brooks received increased minutes (spelling the veterans) while Lopez and Pietrus did not get involved in the same way.
With the loss, the Suns are basically done. The last games of the year will be for posterity's sake, and we will finally see who will be part of the Phoenix roster next season.