Going back to last year

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I get that we still have key personnel injured. I get that we've scarcely had the "starters" on the court together at all this year.

But it seemed that with about 20 games to go last season---and I can't tell you the exact game it started---the Suns drifted well down from their commanding first 2/3s of the season play.

I don't know what changed, but I can almost guarantee you something changed. The team of the last few weeks of last year wasn't anything like the dominant team of the first part of the season. That continued with the embarrassing series where we eked out a win over the Pelicans, then got humiliated by Dallas.

This season---again, allowing for injuries, but everyone has injuries---we have looked terrible against good teams with the exception of Golden State (whom we seem to play well against). It took a buzzer shot to beat the Mavs 1st time. Denver kicks our butt every time. The Pelicans have, with one exception, had our number (and they were without Zion). The Hawks, 76ers handled us. We struggle to hold leads against tier 2 teams.

So, my question remains, what changed THEN? I don't know, just asking, but did Jae Crowder have anything to do with this change? Ayton has had a good year statistically, but seems to disappear at crunch time and still exhibits the tendencies of avoiding contact. Again, not stating, more asking. But even when everyone is healthy, I think there is something lacking in this team, more so than last year.
 

Covert Rain

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Toughness and grit for starters. This team is soft this year. Second, people have been clamoring for this team to add another piece the last two offseason and trade deadlines. I think the combination of these things has caught up with the team. James Jones for the past two season in interviews I have heard on the radio sounds like a broken record suggesting or insinuating the team has enough.
 

Chaplin

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There is a single moment when everything turned, and it actually was from last season. It was literally CP3's 37th birthday. They were a different team after that day.
 

Chaplin

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I suspect that the problem is Chris Paul, yes; but I'm skeptical whether it's all about his age. I have wondered whether mentally, he already has one foot in retirement. In other words, I wonder how much he still cares. Whether he's given up on pursuing a championship, to any extent. His constantly being tight-lipped doesn't help: such as declining to clarify whether he was or was not sick late last season. (We never got that settled definitively.)

Paul is absolutely the opposite of another Suns great, Charles Barkley. Paul has all the discipline and professionalism that Barkley never showed; he is more like ex-Sun Grant Hill that way; but at least with Barkley, you never had to wonder what was going on, because he would tell you.
I don't know if it's his age or not (or at least, the main reason), but everything changed that specific day.
 

Mainstreet

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As I recall, the Suns started resting players during that stretch and never regained their chemistry.

Can't turn winning and losing on and off like a light switch.
 

Covert Rain

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As I recall, the Suns started resting players during that stretch and never regained their chemistry.

Can't turn winning and losing on and off like a light switch.
Specifically, last year, the Suns went all out for the record, peaked, then I think you are right. They started resting guys. They never looked the same after that.
 

95pro

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There is a single moment when everything turned, and it actually was from last season. It was literally CP3's 37th birthday. They were a different team after that day.

Yeah the finals year. Cp3 birthday COVID.

Last season someone banged someone’s wife is what I’m thinking.

I’ve said this once or twice but cp3 birthday has affected us two seasons in a row. He just needs to focus on basketball.
 
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