No Nash, no problem For the Heat that is.
As high as Nash’s stock is when he plays, it goes even higher when he doesn’t play. The Suns are now 5-14 when he’s out of the lineup, and they have seldom looked more lost without him than they did last night in getting blown away by a Heat team coming off a 38-point loss at Portland and struggling to hover around the .500 mark.
However, in all fairness, this time it must be duly noted that Dwayne Wade’s presence hurt even more than Nash’s absence.
When a player with Wade’s awesome skills is hitting jumpers (see Bryant, Kobe) you have no chance whatsoever. The last time out the Heat star couldn’t hit anything and wound up with a season low 12 points on 33 percent shooting against the Blazers. On Friday, he hit just about everything and wound up with a season high 43 points on 63 percent shooting.
However, neither Nash’s absence nor Wades other-worldly presence is sufficient to absolve the Suns for all the sins they committed at both ends of the court in this drubbing. Turnovers have been a season-long problem even WITH Nash, and they set the tone with three before that game was 90 seconds old. And then, when an 8-0 run to close out the third period breathed a smidgen of hope (a smidgen being about half a tad), they turned the ball over on their first possession of the fourth period.
By the time it was over the Suns had turned the ball over 19 times compared to only 8 for the Heat. And to put those numbers in even more painful perspective, the tally on points off turnovers was 21-4 in favor of the Heat.
As for the other end of the court, one of the cornerstones of team defense is the “help” concept, but the Suns seem to be under the impression this means simply hollering “help”. This has to be frustrating for Coach Terry, whose main mandate was to improve the defense, and at some point it has to become obvious that no amount of emphasis and coaching can make up for the fact that the team has very, very few solid defenders.
The wonder is that with all their flaws and foibles, the Suns are still sailing along at a spiffy 11-6. But the bad news here is that the court they seem to be having the most trouble on is the one on which they are scheduled to play half of their games this year, namely their own. They are only 4-4 at US Airways Center, with the four losses by an average of 13 points.
In addition to making more mistakes than any other 11-6 team in recent memory, they also seem to be having less fun than any other 11-6 team in recent memory.
The bottom line: Let’s hope this was it.