CLEVELAND - After back-to-back blowout losses, some doubt has crept into the Suns’ psyche for the first time this season, Steve Nash said.
Nash believes Wednesday’s 107-90 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers was in part due to the 27-point thumping Phoenix took on Tuesday from the New York Knicks.
“There was a residual lack of confidence and a little hesitancy,” said Nash, who had 14 points but more turnovers (six) than assists (five) before sitting out the entire fourth quarter. “We didn’t come out and show the decisiveness and confidence we normally do.”
Coach Alvin Gentry was less philosophical. His explanation: The Suns’ defense has taken a step backward.
Cleveland shot 48.4 percent from the field and had 50 points in the paint.
“We have to do a better job of guarding against middle drives,” Gentry said. “Everybody is getting into the teeth of our defense. We have to do a better job of forcing the ball to the baseline.”
Both Gentry and Nash said there’s no reason to panic, that every team in the NBA goes through periods when it’s not at its best.
“We’ve got some work to do, but we’re a good basketball team,” Gentry said. “We’re just struggling right now.”
Or as Grant Hill put it, “We got our butts whipped tonight.”
The Suns have played 13 of their 19 games on the road. No team has played more road games or fewer home games.
Gentry believes the travel load might have had a little to do with the losses to New York and Cleveland.
“I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but we are getting a little bit worn out,” he said.
Even when the Suns have been at home, they haven’t been there for long. They haven’t played more than two straight home games all season.
“The home games feel like road games because we’re just stopping in for a game or two,” Nash said.
For the first time this season, backup Louis Amundson had a DNP – Did Not Play – next to his name.
The reason: Gentry said he wants to get a look at Robin Lopez, and that it’s hard to play both Lopez and Amundson because neither player has much of an offensive game.
“It’s nothing personal against Lou,” Gentry said. “Lou hasn’t played poorly or done anything wrong. We have to try to get Robin some minutes.”
In five minutes of play Wednesday, Lopez was 0-for-3 from the field and had two turnovers.
Originally, the Suns thought Leandro Barbosa might miss a game or two with his sprained left ankle. Then it was a week or two. But Gentry said Wednesday that Barbosa may not be back until Christmas.