Following the Phoenix Suns heartbreaking 112-106 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Dave King of Bright Side of the Sun is doing some finger-pointing. And those fingers are being pointed directly at Jared Dudley and Michael Beasley. King laments the disappearance of the Dudley he used to know:
"Jared Dudley is the surprise entrant in the doghouse. The former "Junkyard Dog" and winner of the Majerle Hustle Award has become a watcher. I remember a Jared Dudley that changed games with his level of effort. Back in the spring of 2010 as a member of the bench unit that propelled the Suns to the WCF, Dudley was cited as a catalyst of energy on a second unit that did, basically, the same thing today's second unit is doing. Dudley was the face of Suns hustle."
King also asks Suns fans:
"When was the last time Dudley made a key hustle play in the fourth? Heck, when was the last time Dudley played meaningful minutes in the fourth?"
As for Beasley, King suggests that the forward lived up to his reputation last night.
"Now to Michael Beasley, the other half of the floating tandem. Beasley is not a surprise, though. He came to Phoenix with a reputation bereft of all-out effort. He came to Phoenix with a mindset that's its better to shoot a contested jumper than to scrap inside with the bigger boys.
"But never has it stood out in such stark display as last night's game."
King breaks down Beasley's performance in crunch time and concludes by suggesting that Dudley and Beasley need to pick their games up or they'll be left behind.
The Suns next test comes on Friday night, when they head to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Lakers debut of former Phoenix head coach Mike D'Antoni. Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. MT.