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This one possession showcases the Phoenix Suns' commitment to defense

The Phoenix Suns entered Saturday’s meeting with the Boston Celtics tied for dead last in the NBA in points allowed per possession. Clearly, interim head coach Jay Triano’s club needed to try something different on the defensive side of the floor.

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This was not it.


You can understand two players believing it was important to jump on Kyrie Irving to prevent him from getting a pass on a cut to the basket, even if a miscommunication in coverage left Marcus Smart open at the 3-point line. You can even understand the Suns not really caring about recovering back out to contest Smart’s shot; after all, Smart’s shooting 29.5 percent from deep this season.

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Taking zero steps out of the paint to contest his second wide-open three after a long rebound, though, is a bit harder to justify. That there were three Suns in the paint when Smart’s shot went up, and none of them got a body on anybody, allowing the Celtics to crash the glass and come up with another offensive rebound? Harder still.

Hardest of all: Nobody getting in the same ZIP code as Al Horford, who actually can shoot threes, as he picked up Offensive Rebound No. 2 and set his feet from the short corner.

The Suns didn’t win. They now have sole possession of last place in the NBA’s defensive efficiency rankings. Time to go back to the drawing board, guys: you’ve tried nothing, and it didn’t work.

The Phoenix Suns decided to defend Marcus Smart with mind games. (Screen shot via Deadspin)

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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