Warriors 124, Suns 112 – Over before it began

The Suns were doomed by a dreadful first 2:38. (AP/Ben Margot)

The Suns were doomed by a dreadful first 2:38. (AP/Ben Margot)

Two minutes and 38 seconds.

That’s how long it took for the Warriors to jump out to a 17-2 lead and how long it took for any momentum from the Suns’ 48-point blowout on Monday to putter out.

That’s how long it took for the Warriors to hit five three-pointers and six shots in all, how long it took for Kelenna Azubuike to score 11 points, how long it took for the Suns to commit two turnovers and miss three shots and how long it took for Terry Porter to call two timeouts.

Two minutes and 38 seconds is all it took for the Suns to have no chance in an eventual 124-112 defeat that is sure to put another nail in the coffin of the Phoenix Suns as we know them today.

“We just never really recovered from that first quarter,” Porter told The Associated Press. “They just came out gave us a TKO punch. They were knocking down everything from the perimeter, hitting threes. … It concerns me, the level that we’re playing at right now. We’ve got to get back to playing consistent basketball every night.”

Yes the Suns do, as there’s nothing consistent about sandwiching a 48-point victory between losses to teams that on paper they should beat. We can’t even count on the Suns to be interesting anymore, as the winner has led wire to wire in their last three games.

In the old days, the Suns would at least fight back to take a lead in such a game even if they eventually end up losing, but two minutes and 38 seconds in you almost got the feeling that the game was over. And it was.

The Warriors must enjoy having Phoenix in town, though, as their eventual 43-point first quarter was a common occurrence when these teams face off in Oakland, as it’s now happened in three of the last four meetings.

For once, turnovers weren’t a huge issue (13), the Suns won the rebounding battle (46-40) and the Warriors only shot a decent clip better than Phoenix (52.2 percent to 45.6 percent), which means the biggest reason Golden State never let up has to do with Don Nelson’s beloved three-point line.

The Warriors scored 18 more points from three while taking only four more attempts in a game they won by 12, as the Suns shot worse than 30 percent from behind the arc.

Not too many of Golden State’s shots were heavily contested either, as slow rotations left shooters wide open from deep and just as often open for easy midrange jumpers. The Warriors’ stellar ball movement just picked the Suns apart.

The defense in the Sacramento game was tantalizingly solid, but now we know why Shaq referred to that as a “fool’s gold” blowout.

Shaq was the one consistent offensive force against the small-ball Warriors, going for 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and 12 boards in 28 minutes. With the aid of Shaq the Suns cut the lead to 11 with 3:11 left in the third, but when Amare then entered the game for the Diesel the Warriors increased the lead to 21 by the end of the quarter and made the fourth meaningless.

This was not the right game for Shaq to be the team’s offensive MVP. In prior years, Nash would slice and dice up the Warriors’ league-worst defense, but the transition game just wasn’t there most of the evening.

J-Rich scored a team-high 24 points, but he shouldn’t be taking 22 shots even in a game you know he was trying to show off a bit for his former home crowd.

The other former Warrior I thought could go off tonight with the adrenaline pumping was Matt Barnes, and you knew he wanted to impress when he came right in and jacked up a three not exactly in the flow of the offense. Barnes ended up missing his first seven shots (four threes) and didn’t hit a shot until garbage time.

Despite the loss the Suns remained percentage points ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot, but the rest of the pack is inching away, with Phoenix now 2 1/2 games out of seventh place.

The Suns better figure out what went wrong tonight quickly because in a mere 48 hours from tip time Wednesday none other than these same Golden State Warriors will pay a visit to US Airways Center.

For starters, it might not hurt to begin with a better two minutes and 38 seconds.

Tags: Jason Richardson

  • Jason

    "For once, turnovers weren’t a huge issue (13)"

    I'd like to refute this comment. Turnovers are ALWAYS an issue with the Suns, especially since the Marion-Shaq trade (career 1.6/g vs 2.8/g)

    The Suns have an astonishing ONE game with single-digit turnovers, and it was that horrid Spurs game recently. Contrast: 6 games with over 20. 13 is not a number we should be happy about, but it sadly has become just that.

  • Baguete

    First of all, the orange uniform has to go. I just HATE it.

    Porter should go too, we cant afford to lose this kinda time and spirit.

    I think everyday about Amare getting traded and have no conclusion.

    Sometimes I think it will be good to trade him for a more hard -nosed player and let Nash and Shaq run the show without the annoying kid.

    But I also think that if we trade him, we wont have anybody to build around by 2010-2011. Maybe we should keep him and bring players to fill his deficiencies, like defending, rebounding, having character, passing… pretty much anything but attacking and being laid back in anything else.

  • http://morgamic.com/ Mike

    I think Amare needs a good coach. Bill Russel where are you? Amare can't talk trash to Bill. Bill has, "what's up, son, I have 11 rings. any questions?"

    There are some really obvious things Amare needs to work on. He has no left hand, he doesn't know how to pull up instead of getting an offensive foul, and he doesn't have a good ball fake. His footwork also needs a lot of work.

    So yeah, he has potential — but potential is wasted when you don't have someone to help it grow.

  • Suns fan in Portland

    ps: Thanks for Sergio and Rudy, Mr. Sarver!

    Just so you know, the Blazers probably make as much money off "I love Rudy" gear as they pay him in salary. It's great we got a our most popular player for a measly few bucks from the Suns! (sorry…)

  • http://morgamic.com/ Mike

    Porter’s comments after last game, “maybe this will give us confidence,” are the signs of a weak coach who has lost his players.

    Over the last 3 months we’ve seen Porter’s inability to prepare the defense for their next opponent. We saw this during a spawn of 4 games where Harris, Wade, Dirk, Paul all destroyed Phoenix as the primary scorer and the Suns were not even ready. Like, OMG, Wade just dropped 43 on us — what a surprise.

    So really, it’s no surprise that they were unprepared, and I’m not shocked that these players aren’t busting their ass for Porter, who seems to not even believe in himself. Fire him, hire Avery, have Nash call plays and run the offense.

    Steve Kerr, you need to end this tea party.

  • http://morgamic.com/ Mike

    Case in point, from the Daily Dime:

    “He hadn’t hit many 3s this year,” Porter said. “I don’t know if that kid has attempted four 3s in a game.”

    That might be part of Phoenix’s problem. For the record, Azubuike has taken 118 3s this season and made 45 percent of them, and now has made four 3s in a game four times in his career, including once earlier this season.

    Porter isn’t even scouting teams now? What does he get paid for?

  • Brandon

    Yes, Porter needs to go.

    Not sure if anyone noticed it, but I was at that Kings game and the moron called timeout with 5 minutes to go, up by 46. And no, it wasn’t to make a substitution. I still don’t know why.

    Can anyone explain why, when a little run in the 4th quarter looked at least plausible, he takes out Amare, but leaves Hill in? Why not throw Nash and Shaq back out there for two or three minutes and see what happens? You’re playing a team that has made a name for itself throwing games away at the end. If you put them in with 9 minutes left and they cut it to 10 by the 5 minute mark, isn’t that worth it?

    Please Sarver, let’s end the madness and send Kerr and Porter away soon…

  • Suns fan in Portland

    ” They are 19th in defensive efficiency, which is notable because it’s worse than they ever did under Mike D’Antoni — before the current administration brought in its commitment to defense…”

    ” Matt Steinmetz of the Examiner notes that coach Terry Porter said the team didn’t expect Azubuike to be hitting a lot of 3s. As of today, Azubuike is 57 of 124 from downtown, with the third best percentage in the NBA. In Porter’s defense, Azubuike’s percentage wasn’t as good before last night’s game.”

    Porter has lost this team. Lets hope Kerr isn’t too stubborn to let him go just because he’s his hire. Reggie Theus!?

    If Kerr and the cheapskate banker blow up this team before they fire Porter, I’m going to boycott the Suns (the team I’ve loved and followed religiously for 25 years), until they get a new owner and GM. At least I’ve got my Blazers…