When the Suns won consecutive overtime games on shots by Channing Frye, the plays started the same and ended the same but it was the variation in the middle that opened up both shots.
If the whole scene looked familiar, it is probably because you have seen the basic play for seven years. Former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni introduced it to the Suns, and current head coach Alvin Gentry has been on the staff since 2004. You might have even seen a resemblance this season with Amar'e Stoudemire popping out to the top for shots with D'Antoni's New York Knicks.
The reason the Suns could get away with looking like they ran the same play for game-winning tries on consecutive days is because the play winds up differently. At every practice since the start of training camp in September in La Jolla, Calif., Gentry has made the Suns run through a handful of game-ending plays so that the structure and options on the design become second nature.
"We try to go over them every day so that if we have to run them on the fly with no timeouts, we know the position we should be in and how we should do it," Gentry said.
In the case of Sunday's and Monday's game winners, they did not intend to go with the same set on consecutive days for fear that it would be scouted. Circumstances just turned out that way, and because of the defensive switches required by the opposition, the Suns can go two or three different directions.
"Alvin does a great job reviewing them every day in practice," Suns assistant Dan Majerle said. "Depending on the situation where we need a 2 or a 3, we have a play. Or if a guy's hot - if Steve (Nash) is hot, if Channing's hot, if Grant (Hill) is hot, if Vince (Carter) is hot - we have different situations that we get those guys the ball.
Channing Frye's late-game heroics a product of planning
Arizona Republic | Mar 4