The win is nice and usually, records are great as well -- except in this case.
The Suns set franchise records for the fewest free-throws made (one!) and attempted (three). This hadn't been done since 1977, as Arizona Republic columnist Paul Coro reported (h/t Elias Sports Bureau).
The "feat" is actually really amazing when you sit back and think about it. The Magic committed more fouls (15) than the Suns (14), yet went to the line 11 more times. It's not like the Suns shot the lights out, either (48.4 percent).
Still, the Suns will take the win however they can get it. The real red flag here is that the Suns tend to do much worse when they fall in love with jump-shots as opposed to getting to the basket. Without Eric Bledsoe in the lineup, it's a trap they've fallen into quite often.
Last night, the Suns took just 28.4 percent of their shots (27 of 95) in the restricted area. For the season, they're taking 32.6 percent of their shots in that zone (347 of 1064). Generally, people aren't going to foul jump shooters (except Iman Shumpert, apparently).
If those jumpers are falling, then the Suns give themselves a chance to win. When they stop falling, the idea is that trips to the free-throw line will help lessen the blow and will give the Suns a chance to get some easier points on the board.
If they get into the habit of settling for those outside shots, they don't give themselves that benefit. No offense to Gerald Green, Goran Dragic and company, but nobody considers them to be dead-eye shooters (and they aren't).
Getting Bledsoe back will help, because he's a lot more willing to go to the basket. He's taken 41.1 percent of his shots in the restricted area and 53.2 percent of his shots in the lane as a whole. It's no surprise that he leads the team in free throws attempted.
A sharp contrast is a guy like Green. He's taken just 19.9 percent of his shots in the restricted area. You'd think a guy with that much athleticism would want to get to the basket as often as possible. Instead, he settles for jumpers.
The Suns got away with it last night against a mediocre opponent, but they won't get away with it against the Miami Heat on Monday night. The Suns are building toward something greater and really need to eliminate these bad habits that they're falling into if they expect to accomplish their goals.
Michael Dunlap is the author of the " Daily NBA Fix ", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.
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