The Phoenix Suns(12-26) fell to the Brooklyn Nets(21-15) last night in what was another inconsistent night of basketball on the part of the Suns. After the 1st half the Suns led the Nets 53-46 due to great all around play from both the Suns bench and the starters on both ends of the floor. The Suns shot 54% in the 1st half and held the Nets to just 42% shooting.
With the loss last night to Brooklyn, the Suns have now lost 12 straight road games and have lost five straight games which marks the 3rd time this season the Suns have had losing streaks of five or more consecutive games.
The Nets lost combo forward Gerald Wallace in the first quarter after he was fouled hard by P.J Tucker as he went for a dunk on a fast-break lay-up. It was a clean play but because Wallace was met at the top elevation by Tucker which led to Wallace taking a hard fall and left the game with bruised ribs and did not return. Tucker was originally whistled for a flagrant foul but it was downgraded to a mere regular foul after the referees reviewed the play.
“Obviously it was a disappointing second half. We didn’t execute offensively and we did a very poor job defensively,” Gentry said. “It’s almost as though we’re starting to lose or confidence and we can’t do that. I think you have to fight through all of that and continue to play, continue to execute. Once the game was even, I just felt like we didn’t think we could win the game. We have to have our confidence when we walk out there to play. If we can play like we did in the first half, then we have to understand that we can play like that in the second half.”
The 2nd half is where it all went south for the Suns. After the Suns trailed the Nets 64-65 with 1:39 left in the 3rd quarter, the Nets went on a 9-2 run to close out the 3rd which gave them a 74-66 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Brooklyn then began the final period of play on a 10-0 run which completely blew open the game as they led 84-66 with 7:41 left to go in the game.
The Suns didn’t lose to the Nets in this one, they lost to themselves. The Suns made only 9 of 38 shot attempts(23.7%) in the 2nd half and scored a grand total of 26 points while committing 10 turnovers.
The Suns bench seemed to finally snap out of their slump in the 1st half scoring 20 points on 47% shooting from the floor but in the 2nd half the Suns benched contributed only 8 points on 2 of 17 shooting from the floor(11.7%).
Alvin Gentry said it best, it was disappointing. The Suns played a great game defensively but the offense disappeared after the 1st half which was what ultimately prevented the Suns from getting the W.
The Nets were led by their star point guard Deron Williams on the evening as Williams recorded 15 points on only five shot attempts and also dished out six assists.
Marcin Gortat did a great job defensively on the Nets most efficient offensive player Brook Lopez as he held Lopez to 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting from the floor.
“I think we went through some bumps and some rough patches, you know, which taught us. We are jelling a little bit more now,” Williams said.
Prior to the game I said the Nets needed better play from their bench, and last night they got it. The Nets benched outscored the Suns bench 45-28 led by sophomore MarShon Brooks who scored 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting from floor; Andray Blatche added 15 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.
“I’m very encouraged. I thought it was a great effort, considering they outplayed us in the first half,” Nets head coach Carlesimo said. “It should have been, could have been, a lot worse at halftime than it was. It’s not easy when you’re not really playing (well) to all of a sudden get after it. In the second half we got after it. We defended very, very well. We were also better offensively. We really weren’t good but we were a lot better than we were in the first half.”
Suns team captain Jared Dudley had the best game offensively by far for the Suns as he put up 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists; Dudley was also perfect from behind the 3-point line as he made 4 of 4 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Suns won’t have a lot of time to catch their breath as they will be taking on the Chicago Bulls in Chicago tonight to close out their four game road trip before they head back to Phoenix on Monday night to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.