Thursday, January 24, 2008
Over the past few years I've rooted for the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. I've hoped that their offense would carry them over their opponents despite their woes on defense. I've hoped that they could simply outscore their opponents, but it just hasn't happened and it just isn't going to happen. The Phoenix Suns are going to meet a similar demise as they have in past seasons for the simple reason that they are so easily dominated by an opposing big man.
Case in Point my former Celtic Man Crush, Al Jefferson. Jefferson this season has developed into the go to guy for one of the worst teams in the league. His numbers are solid (20 & 12) but they are obviously at least slightly bloated given the fact the rest of his roster is piss poor. However against the Suns this season Al Jefferson morphs into a Hall of Fame Center.
Last night the Timberwolves defeated the Suns for the second time this season 117-107, despite Amare's 33 point effort. Why? Mostly because the Suns were completely ineffective in stopping the young big man. Big Al scored a career high 39 points while pulling down 15 rebounds including 8 offensive boards. Not only were the Suns unable to stop Big Al in the post but apparently they can't box out. 8 offensive rebounds? Put a body on the big man.
In the other two games against the Suns Jefferson has been similarly dominant. In the Timberwolves first win over the Suns Jefferson was an absolute beast on the boards pulling down 20 including 6 offensive boards. Jefferson also piled in 32 points on the Suns in the T-Wolves 100-93 win. In Phoenix's lone win against the Timberwolves they did a better job of slowing down Jefferson but still only to an all star level performance as Jefferson had 27 points and 14 rebounds.
Simply put the Timberwolves are a horrendous team with one potentially All Star level talent in Big Al. The Timberwolves are 7-34 for that exact reason yet the Suns, who came into the game with the best record in the Western Conference, struggle mightily to defeat them. Their roster is not constructed to even slow down a talented big man and once again come playoff time they will fail for this exact reason.