Matt Barnes called last night’s heartbreaker in Utah “the toughest loss of the season,” according to The Arizona Republic.
I doubt you’ll find anybody who follows the Suns disagreeing with that statement.
In that Paul Coro gamer, Barnes, Grant Hill and Shaq all took personal responsibility for the defeat, and pretty much everyone else in that locker room aside from Jared Dudley could take a share of that blame as well.
Everybody made crucial mistakes – be it missed layups, botched out of bounds play or a plethora of missed open jumpers – and all that added up to a disaster of a defeat in a game it looked like the Suns had all but won in the final seconds of regulation.
But as Phoenix heads to Sacramento for tonight’s tilt against the Kings, here’s what they must do.
Forget about it. Pretend it didn’t happen. Move on with their lives.
As expected, the Cavs throttled Dallas earlier today, so the Suns can still move to 2 1/2 games out a playoff spot with a win tonight, as disappointing as it is they can’t move within 1 1/2 games.
We have seen the effects of losing hangovers and the benefits of winning momentum in the last month, when losses begot losses and victories led to more victories during a six-game losing streak that directly preceded a six-game winning streak.
Having lost two in a row, the Suns must end this skid as their faint playoff hopes still flicker.
On paper they should do it against a Sacramento squad that boasts the NBA’s worst record and that was blown out by 48 points earlier this season in Phoenix.
The Kings rank seventh in pace factor, so they should go along with the Suns’ quick pace, and they’re last in defensive efficiency (111.3 points per 100 possessions), so Phoenix should quickly break out of this mini-shooting slump.
Of course on the flip side the aging Suns are playing their fourth game in five nights, so if they don’t possess their usual pop that shouldn’t be a surprise either.
However, despite being sandwiched between a tough road pair in Portland and Utah and a home date with Houston on Wednesday, you can’t call this a trap game.
The Suns understand how important every victory is regardless of opponent, so don’t expect them to fall into a trap.