Updated Nov 15, 2012 - 9:48 pm
Analyst: Alvin Gentry deserves credit for late-game lineups
Through nine games, the veteran coach has more than kept his word.
In the Suns' 112-106 loss to the Chicago Bulls in overtime Wednesday night, Gentry relied on four players off his bench -- Sebastian Telfair, P.J. Tucker, Shannon Brown and Markieff Morris-- along with a combination of Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola down the stretch.
And while Phoenix's valiant comeback effort was thwarted in the extra period against Chicago, Gentry has not shied away from the unconventional.
In Monday night's win over the Nuggets, Gentry looked to a completely different set of players, as Michael Beasley, Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris paced the Suns to victory in the waning moments.
During their 4-5 start this season, the Suns have not closed out a fourth quarter with the same five-man unit in consecutive games.
It begs the question: can Gentry's mixing and matching be sustainable across an entire 82-game season?
"It's actually very sustainable, because it's upfront and honest," Suns radio analyst Tim Kempton told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Thursday. "It's visible, you can see it. What more do you want from him? He's not playing games with them, he's not talking behind their backs."
Although the Suns have received huge individual performances off the pine late in games this season -- whether it be from Brown's three-point shooting, Tucker's energy on the glass or Telfair's ability to space the floor -- Phoenix has still made a poignant effort to find a closer, but consistency has been lacking in that department.
As a former player, Kempton said Gentry should be respected by his team for the job he is doing in the fourth quarter of games, not vilified for it. Without a closing lineup set in stone, Phoenix's coach has chosen to give playing time based on merit and merit alone.
"From a player's standpoint, I would love [what Gentry's doing]," said Kempton. "Hey, if he's giving me a chance, all I have to do is bust my butt, and I am making my time.
"So, as a player, you love a coach like that because he's not sitting there thinking this guy has this contract, so I have to play him, or this guy we drafted in this round, so I have to play him. No, you earn the time by the way you play."
Gentry and Co. get their first look at the new and improved Los Angeles Lakers Friday night at the Staples Center. However, despite lofty preseason expectations, the Lakers come into the Pacific Division showdown slightly behind Phoenix in the standings.
- Suns' Dragic leads Slovenia to Group D win over Mexico at FIBA World Cup
- Suns guard Goran Dragic leads Slovenians to win in World Cup opener
- Phoenix Suns launch a social media campaign to find new fan models
- Former Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa signs with the Golden State Warriors
- Suns guard Goran Dragic limited as Slovenia routed by United States in World Cup exhibition
- Lionel Hollins, head coach Brooklyn Nets - Wednesday August 27The head coach of the Brooklyn Nets joins Doug & Wolf for the ASU Sun Devil Fork Report.
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday August 26D-backs manager Kirk Gibson discusses possible changes to a six-man rotation.
- Paul Coro - azcentral sports Suns writer - Tuesday August 26Paul Coro discusses Eric Bledsoe still being a restricted free agent.
- Chris Sheridan- sheridanhoops.com - Tuesday August 19Chris Sheridan believes there is one team that could easily make a max contract offer to Eric Bledso
- Who impressed/who depressed - Monday August 18Dan and Vince look back at who impressed and depressed them over the weekend.