Los Angeles Lakers 91, Phoenix Suns 85 — Black unis fall short

Posted by on February 13th, 12:42 am

Former Sun Steve Nash (10) scoops in a shot with Goran Dragic defending. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Former Sun Steve Nash (10) scoops in a shot with Goran Dragic defending. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Everything was in place for history to repeat itself.

Black uniforms? Check. Kobe Bryant in “pass-first” mode? Check. A huge late-game run? Check. Big game from Michael Beasley? Check.

For the second time in two weeks, the Suns donned their retro uniforms to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. They fought back from a double-digit deficit with an 18-2 run in the third quarter. Michael Beasley had 18 points off the bench. And Kobe Bryant didn’t make his first field goal until 2:11 in the fourth quarter. But all of that was not enough to secure the Suns a victory as they fell 91-85 at the Staples Center.

Let me say that again: Kobe Bryant made his one and only field goal with two minutes left in this game. He didn’t attempt a shot in the first half and finished the night with just four points. It was the strangest Kobe game I’ve ever seen.

The Kobe Bryant of old became a ruthless scoring machine every time he took the floor against Phoenix. Every time he played the Suns he was a shoe-in to take 20+ shots and score 30 or more points. But New Kobe is all about passing, and tonight he was out to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I don’t want to take anything away from the tough defense P.J. Tucker played on the Black Mamba for much of the game, but P.J. could have sat down in the middle of the court and twiddled his thumbs on every defensive possession. Kobe was not going to shoot no matter what in the first half. He passed up shot after shot in favor of getting his teammates the basketball. On the night, Kobe tallied nine assists and eight turnovers. When he did start looking for his shot in the third when the Suns had slashed the Lakers’ lead, Bryant missed his first seven attempts before connecting on his eighth and final one.

The Lakers survived Kobe’s bizarre performance by holding the Suns to 41 percent shooting and busting out some vintage Seven Seconds or Less offense.

After Suns’ missed buckets, the Lakers took a shot or drew a foul within seven seconds on eleven different possessions. Mike D’Antoni’s team, especially in the first half, made a point to push the tempo and exploit the Suns transition defense. The box score may say the Lakers only scored 10 fast break points, but a large portion of their first half  points came from open looks out of transition. Phoenix’s default tactic all season when overmatched or outrun defensively has been to retreat into the paint. The Lakers, with Kobe distributing, knocked down open shot after open shot as the Suns’ defense collapsed and failed to get out on shooters. The Lakers were hitting 60 percent from the floor at one point in the first half. The only thing that kept them from running away with this one was some solid play by the Suns second unit and some ice-cold shooting in the second half.

In addition to another productive game from Michael Beasley, the Suns got a very solid contribution from Jermaine O’Neal, who posted just his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 boards in 27 minutes. Playing in place of Marcin Gortat, O’Neal was not intimated by Howard in the least. He battled for boards on both ends and wasn’t afraid to attack Howard on offense. Gortat wasn’t his normal soft and unproductive self against Howard in this one, but he wasn’t battling like Jermaine.

Other than O’Neal and Beasley, the rest of the bench was quite disappointing. Shannon Brown played only five minutes, by far his lowest total of the season. Kendall Marshall did his best New Kobe impersonation in his 16 minutes on the court, passing up tons of open shots. If Marshall wants to be a permanent fixture in the rotation, he has got pull the trigger on open jumpers. Whether or not he makes the shot isn’t nearly as important as the practice and experience he’ll get.

For the starters, Luis Scola netted a double-double (15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 11 boards) despite some staunch defense by Metta World Peace. The Suns were the most effective on offense when Scola and either Gortat or O’Neal were stationed at the high post. Some of the plays they ran are drawn up here. The double high post set spaced the court well and drew Dwight Howard away from the basket, giving the Suns a chance to score at the rim. As the game wore on, Phoenix went away from this set for some reason, and their offensive production tailed off dramatically.

In addition to his tough D on Kobe, P.J. Tucker also went 5-of-10 from the floor with two made threes, four rebounds, and five assists. The more I watch Tucker, the more I realize he’s the quintessential role player on a Championship contender. While the Suns are far from contention right now, it’s clear that Tucker is cut from the same cloth as former players like Bruce Bowen or current defense/shooter/effort guys like Thabo Sefalosha. Tucker is a piece the Suns should certainly hold onto moving forward.

Tucker’s teammates let him down defensively in this game. Phoenix allowed a ton of points in the paint (46). On a night where it was obvious to any viewer that he did not have all his athletic gifts available to him, Dwight Howard still managed an impressive 19 and 18. His frontcourt mate Antawn Jamison netted 18 points and 10 boards, which gave him a double-double for the first time in a month. Howard and Steve Nash connected on a few pick and rolls that looked completely effortless. As Howard continues to heal, I think the pick and roll domination everyone expected from these two will start to be seen more and more.

After two mammoth beatdowns at the hands of the Thunder, the Suns did not play with much effort or cohesion in this one, yet they almost pulled it out. That fact is equal parts an indictment of these Lakers and proof that Lindsey Hunter still has work to do with this team. They’ll have the entire All-Star break to start putting some pieces together.

And 1

  1. Michael Beasley’s new aggressiveness and preference for penetration has led to a large number of travelling violations. On most possessions, Beas catches the ball and drives straight for the hoop without hesitating. If his defender crowds him at all, Michael shuffles his feet and gets whistled for “too many steps” more often than not. His excitement to attack the rim must be controlled if it’s to be an asset to both him and the team.
  2. Jermaine O’Neal has nine technical fouls this year. He is the league leader in technicals per minute by a wide margin.
  3. Steve Nash could pass Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time assists list on Valentine’s Day against the Clippers. He also has a shot to eclipse 17,000 career points in the same game.

Ryan Weisert

Ryan Weisert is a staff writer for ValleyoftheSuns. You can also find him at his sports and pop culture blog Spectavius.com.

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Tags: Los Angeles Lakers · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 the real shazam // Feb 13, 2013 at 1:17 am

    the only time i want us to win this year is when we play the lakers..we had our foot on their throat and let them get away

  • 2 hawki // Feb 13, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Nice wins last night by Houston over the Warriors & by Utah over OKC.
    Nerlens Noel hurt his knee last night & it doesn’t look good….eyewitness Patric Young (Florida) said “it was gruesome”.

  • 3 john manhole // Feb 13, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I never enjoy it when the Suns lose to the Lakers, but honestly, this might have been the best thing.  I have little doubt that the Lakers will make the playoffs, which leads me to believe that the Suns’ best hope of getting better quickly is to maximize their chances in the lottery.  Worst in the West heading into the break, but I still love ‘em.

  • 4 effyewe // Feb 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Am I the only one who hates watching Marshall eat up Bassy’s hard earned time. Bassy has put in a lot of work to get where he is at with this team, and Hunter is just disrespecting him at this point….Bassy couldve made the difference in this game, as he wouldve taken those jumpers, played way better D, and set up his team in the best offense as he is a pass first point guard. SMH @ Coach Hunter for continuing to play Marshmallow.

  • 5 john manhole // Feb 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

     Telfair has no future with the team.  Why should he be played?  He isn’t part of the solution, and the Suns aren’t stuck with him.  On the other hand, Marshall probably isn’t part of the solution either, but the Suns ARE stuck with him.

  • 6 DBreezy // Feb 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

    @effyewe Yeah what John said.  Personally once Goran signed, I was surprised that Bassy got the backup pg job this season.  Not because of his play which was/is clearly better than Kendall’s at this point, but because of the situation.  The way Bassy’s contract was setup the team had to make a decision on whether or not to pickup the final guaranteed season of his deal before they knew what would happen with free agency. 
    Obviously they later ended up with Goran in free agency.  Imo if Bassy’s deal had a later guarantee date they probably would have let him go and went with Marshall and Garrett as the backups.  They’ve said previously, the only reason they liked having 4pg’s is because it was protection from a Nash injury and to allow him to not have to practice as much in-season.  In fact, I think that was a reason some thought Garrett wouldn’t make the final roster as Goran, Bassy and Kendall are more than capable of soaking up the minutes. It wouldn’t surprise if we later found out that they’ve been trying to move Bassy since camp and  that’s part of why he’s been OK with the benching thus far. 
    Kendall is on an inexpensive rookie deal and will likely be here for most if not all of it.  Bassy is in the last year of his deal and is much more valuable as a backup to a playoff team than the current Suns.  It’s unlikely that he would be re-signed or that he would even want to come back to the current situation.  Time for Kendall and hopefully Diante to soak up the minutes in preparation for next season.  A quick summer league stint in a few months is nothing compared to what they can get right now.

  • 7 DBreezy // Feb 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

    @hawki Not good for him or obviously this draft.  Hopefully he ends up OK and comes back with the same aggressive mentality on D that unfortunately led to that injury.  I was looking at the current lottery standings last night and it occurred to me that pretty much every other team ahead the Suns in the standings have lost a lot of starter player games and minutes to injuries this season.  Henderson, Mullens, Big Baby, Hedo, Affalalo, Nelson, Wall, Nene, Kyrie, Varajeo, Beal, Ariza, have all missed significant time.  The same can be said for a team behind the Suns, New Orleans, who have lost a bunch of time from Gordon and Anthony Davis.  You could make the argument that the Suns are the worst team in the NBA this season based on this, but more importantly perhaps they can creep up in the lottery odds standings over the last 30 games.

  • 8 bkkkkkkkk // Feb 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

    @john manhole  @effyewe I think Telfair fits the culture bill that this stupid FO loves. In interview, Babby said he loves his attitude. True that he is not the future but this FO/coach is not determined to develop Garrett neither.

  • 9 john manhole // Feb 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    @the real shazam
    Ah, Phoenix sports have been missing a good rant for quite some time. C’mon, Hunter, do us proud.

  • 10 TySun // Feb 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

    @effyewe  Telfair is already well known in the NBA as a solid backup PG.  If the Suns are trying to shop him around as part of a trade deal, it makes some sense to keep him on the bench (to avoid injury) and give Marshall the backup PG mins until the trade deadline.

  • 11 TySun // Feb 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    @DBreezy  @hawki  I wouldn’t have added Hedo to that list but you have a good point.  Washington especially has shown signs of being a much better team with Wall and Nene back.  This Suns team does seem to have a lot of good (good but not great) players that just don’t always work well together, especially on defense.  The pieces of the puzzle aren’t really bad, they just aren’t great and don’t fit together very well.

  • 12 TySun // Feb 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Looking toward the Suns’ future, I can’t see any player as being untradable from the point of view of them being too valuable to the Suns to trade. Scola can’t be traded until the end of the season and Frye can’t be traded because he has 2 more years on his contract and it’s uncertain whether he’ll ever play again because of his heart condition.
    Like it or not, Dragic is probably going to be the Suns’ PG for the next few years. Beasley is still too inconsistent for anyone to be interested in him. Gortat, Dudley and Telfair are probably the Suns’ players that other teams are most interested in acquiring by trade before the trade deadline and I can’t see any other players on this team that wouldn’t be thrown in as part of a trade if the Suns thought it would be in their best interest.
    My point is that while the Suns could – and should – be willing to part with a lot of their current players before that trade deadline, they have very few real assets that could bring them much back by then. Gortat, Dudley and Telfair could be valuable to contending teams but not if they have to give up too much in return.
    Because of that, I can’t see the Suns making a “big” trade before the trade deadline this year. The talk of trading Telfair for a 2nd round draft pick might just be it unless the FO makes some really stupid deal.

  • 13 DBreezy // Feb 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    @TySun  @hawki I added him only because he was a starter for the Magic before the injury which part of my premise.  The whole thing for me just really illustrates where they are and how far they have to go to be where they want to be.

  • 14 TySun // Feb 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    @DBreezy  @hawki  Yeah, no matter what many people in the Valley think of Hedo, he can be a very effective 3.  His real problem in Phoenix was that they tried to make him into a 4.  That seems to be a reoccurring problem for the Suns.  They seem to try to take players best suited for one position and put them in another position that isn’t a good fit for them.
    Dudley was a fairly good fit at the 2 when he was playing with Nash at the 1 and Hill at the 3 but he’s obviously a much better 3 than a 2.  And with Hill and Dudley at the 3, Hedo never even got a shot at playing at his natural position while in Phoenix.  Offensively, Beasley plays better at the 4 but the Suns tried to make him a 3 (and he’s not really good defensively at either position).
    Phoenix needs to draft and/or trade for players who have a well defined position instead of trying to make players fit into what they want them to be.  NO MORE TWEENERS!  NO MORE “HOPE THEY WORK OUT” GAMBLE TRADES/SIGNINGS!  I’d rather the Suns stand pat and try to rebuild through the draft than acquire more players that they “hope” will work out again.

  • 15 effyewe // Feb 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Great points made I must say. I’m personally just upset with the draft pick (Marshall), the FO, the decline in this organization in a whole. Last season, and in previous years all the Suns cried about was not having a solid back up PG for Steve, then Steve goes and the back up PG that has turned solid in my eyes is now not a part of the team nor a part of the future team due to its lack of direction. This is true that bassy is probably valuable to playoff teams and as an asset you want to keep him healthy, but to just basically flop on a game (last night) and lose it rather than play Bassy and possibly win is just frustrating. I like to develop young talent, as a matter of a fact I wish the Suns wouldve have been this way in previous seasons as well but  putting another W in the Lakers win colum isnt what the Suns want to do. Man we are some true fans lmao, debating about a horrible team, that has never won it, but we are all just hoping and wishing but hey Thanks Lon & Lance….you’ll keep us wishing huh!?

  • 16 IowaPhXfan // Feb 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    yeah…with full healthy rosters the bobcats and magic are the only teams worse this year than Phx.
    hopefully that works itself out and we can finish with 3rd worst record….would guarantee our pick no lower than 6th (4% chance of 6th) and give us good shoot at any of top 3.
    much more important now that Noel tore his acl….draft is starting to look pretty weak though….not sure if i’m very excited about anybody besides mclemore :(

  • 17 hawki // Feb 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    @ DBreezy & Ty-Sun
    Speaking of Hedo Turkoglu…..he just received a 20 game suspension for steroid use.

  • 18 DBreezy // Feb 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    @hawki Yeah I just saw that on Hoopshype, his ears must have been burning since we were talking about him! Early word from GM’s seems to be that the ACL isn’t going to change Noel’s stock btw, so it’s hard to imagine him not coming out. Better to get the deal and rehab with a NBA squad than have people overreact to you coming back slowly in the middle of the next NCAA season.

  • 19 DBreezy // Feb 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    @IowaPhXfan While I tend to agree, I do find myself playing devils advocate and wondering if those teams are really worse or do they have fewer names people are familiar with? The Suns beat the Bobcats twice, albeit struggling at times in both and needing a crazy Shannon Brown quarter in the first game. So it seems safe to say they’re better than them. The Magic on the other hand whooped the Suns pretty good on the road without Jameer or Hedo and got the Suns at home in a tough b2b for them at the tail end of a long roadie. Interesting times we Suns fans watch in these days.

  • 20 4everis2long // Feb 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I am in the camp the Suns have the worst personnel in the NBA, irrespective of their record. While I think every team in the league have two or more promising young players, IMO the Suns do not have anyone under age 25 who is a promising future starter in the NBA. Further I do not think there are any future all-stars on this team.
    That is obviously a bad injury for Noel. I thought the upcoming draft was mediocre at best before the injury but he will still be a top 5 pick. I am luke warm about the draft because there seems to be some decent talent available late in the 1st round and early in the second round.Would any of you draft Noel if available to the Suns? If him and McLemore are both available who would you draft? I am taking McLemore and maybe Otto Porter whether Noel is available or not.

  • 21 Rich_Anthony // Feb 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

    @4everis2long Good.  Others who are looking forward to the draft.  I’ve been waiting for you guys.
    I’ve been watching as much college ball and international ball, (since that’s readily available to me), and there’s a guy I like better than the all-espn-loving McLemore.
    Give me Victor Oladipo from Indiana.  
    I was drooling over Dion Waiters last year heading into the draft.  I was one of few Suns supporters doing so, (hell not even our beloved bloggers were high on him). I like Oladipo even more for the same reasons.
    He can shoot.
    He has excellent on-ball defensive skills, (so you can put him out there with Dragon and finally have a respectable backcourt defensively).
    He has a crazy motor.
    He is a FREAK athlete, (one of the things I’ve been saying the Suns should and will hunt for during the draft).
    Most important of all? He goes to the hoop.  He always goes to the hoop.  He will attack whenever an opportunity presents itself.
    He is the guy I take if he is on the board when the Suns use their first pick.
    As far as Noel goes, I love him.  Even with that injury I don’t know if he will be around when the Suns pick since, if the draft were to begin today, PHX probably wouldn’t be in the top 5.
    There have to be assurances that his knee injury is something he can recover fully from.  I mean you can recover from any injury but would you be the same asset you were before said injury? 
    Shaun Livingston is an example I use where he came back from a horrific injury but wasn’t the same player.  If Noel comes back but isn’t that guy, I can’t use a lottery pick on him.

  • 22 Sillmarillion // Feb 14, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Guys, please explain the lottery to me, somehow I don’t get it. Isn’t it automatic that the worst team gets the best pick?

  • 23 TySun // Feb 14, 2013 at 4:43 am

    @Sillmarillion  No, the worst team doesn’t automatically get the best pick.  The lottery system was started to try to discourage teams from tanking just to get the #1 pick.
    The way it works is that all the teams that miss the playoffs have a shot at getting one of the top 3 draft picks.  It is literally a lottery but the worst teams still have the best chance and the team with the worst record will get at least the #4 pick.  Anyway, the fist 3 picks go to the lottery winners and then everyone else picks according to their records.

  • 24 4everis2long // Feb 14, 2013 at 6:54 am

    @Rich_Anthony I too love the game of Victor Oladipo. He is listed at 6’5″, has the heart to match his athleticism, has decent handles and can shoot it. I like him better than Beal from last summer’s draft who was a lottery pick. Most so-called draft experts have him going mid to late 1st round. Although I could change my mind, I probably would not take him with a top 5 or 6 lottery pick but if the Lakers do not make the playoffs, I definitely would use their late lottery pick on him. You are right he is a freak athlete with discipline, which the Suns badly need.
    Regarding Noel, the Suns should definitely be patient with him and not place pressure on him to play too soon. However I think the Suns have pressured players to return too soon in the past, with Amare immediately coming to mind with his first knee surgery. Sarver wants fan excitement and attendance increase in the worst way, so my guess is they will not take him if they have a top 3 or 4 pick. If the Suns are selecting 5 or later they probably take him unless they are really fearful of his injury. I think I would take him if available 5 or later.
    Yeah Rich I like McLemore too but I like 6’8″ Otto Porter as well. I want to see how both perform in March Madness and pre-draft camps. Both are intelligent scoring wings who can defend. I think Porter is the better defender. 
    In closing if we could get one of these two or Noel and somehow secure Oladipo in the 1st round, you will find me dancing on someone’s roof top.

  • 25 4everis2long // Feb 14, 2013 at 6:56 am

    @TySun  @Sillmarillion Ty very good response. Sillmarillon, the only thing I would add is the team with the worst record has the most lottery ping pong balls, which increases their odds on getting the number one pick.

  • 26 john manhole // Feb 14, 2013 at 7:47 am

    @Rich_Anthony  @4everis2long
     Livingston’s knee injury was quite a bit different than Noel’s.  Livingston’s knee basically blew up.  There was a serious chance, given the extent of his injuries, that he may have lost his leg or never regained anything slightly resembling his former functionality (I realize he’s still hampered compared to his former self, but I mean it was possible he might never have been able to even walk normally).
    I’m not nearly as concerned about Noel’s injury, although it still does give me some slight worry.  Of all the athletes who have ever torn ACL’s, I can’t think of many who were better for it.  Outside of All Day, I can’t really think of one.  Given where drugs and performance enhancers are at today, though, and given that the NBA doesn’t seem to care about them, I don’t think Noel’s injury isn’t going to be something that’s going to hurt him going forward, if I had to guess.

  • 27 Rich_Anthony // Feb 14, 2013 at 8:06 am

    @4everis2long I’ve been watching Porter as well.  He kind of worries me a little bit.  Even so he does fit in PHX, but I see him as “a piece” and not “THE piece” in terms of potential realized. 
    6’8 and as long as he is, he plays so far below the rim.  I don’t know if he’ll ever get the strength to be able to guard 4′s in the NBA and he still isn’t quick enough to guard NBA 3s. He could be a lethal help / weak-side defender though and he has mid-to-deep range on his shot.
    I’m of the opinion that the Suns won’t have Scola, Frye, Wes, or JMZ next season so if he’s floating out there in the middle of the 1st round and the Suns take him. I wouldn’t be mad. 
    @ John – right. Shaun’s injury was crazy. Was more illustrating the fact that he wasn’t nearly the same player, and we don’t know how close Noel will be to his former self.  If the Suns do take him, he probably doesn’t see much playing time next season even with the Warlocks looking after him. 
    Back to possible picks, I’ve been keeping an eye on Anthony Bennet out of UNLV as well.  He’s an offensive juggernaut but his conditioning is terrible.

  • 28 4everis2long // Feb 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

    @Rich_Anthony  I too like Bennett but I have seen him play twice in the last two or three weeks and his defense and maybe conditioning are making me less impressed. Someone on the board (name escapes me) who I think lives in Vegas expressed doubts about him as well. Their concern seems well founded. I am also slowing my enthusiasm a bit on Shabazz.

  • 29 Sillmarillion // Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

    @4everis2long  @TySun Thanks guys :)

  • 30 john manhole // Feb 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    @TySun  @Sillmarillion
     Isn’t it frustrating that the NBA requires a lottery system to prevent teams from tanking?  I can’t stand how unmanly of a league the NBA is as a whole (and also how many teams there are, watering down the talent level for each team).  In the NFL, every team tries to win every game, no matter the cost.  Even in the “suck for Luck” year, it was obvious that every team near the bottom of the standings was trying to win each and every game they played.  In the NBA, players don’t play hard for bad teams, management gives up a quarter of the way through the season, and the fans are left pointlessly discussing how great/bad the future looks by the time December rolls around.  Sound familiar to anyone here?

  • 31 TySun // Feb 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    @john manhole  @Sillmarillion  Well, the NBA is much different than the NFL in that one player – no matter how good – is going to immediately turn around and NFL team.  But in the NBA, one exceptional player can sometimes make a big difference.  Plus in the NFL playoffs all you need is to play one really good game per opponent instead of winning a best of 7 series against each opponent.  That pushes owners, management and players in the NFL to keep fighting until the bitter end instead of tanking.
    The long NBA season discourages players on bad teams because they just keep loosing over and over again.  And I agree that the NBA talent pool has been watered down because of the number of teams but I think things might start to change in the next few years because of the new CBA.  The new luxury tax rules are brutal and I think we’ve seen the last of the “super teams” formed.

  • 32 john manhole // Feb 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    @TySun  @Sillmarillion
     Good points, TySun, and I agree about that’s the reasoning that most people would use to justify tanking in the NBA.  However, I still think it’s sad that NBA management and players check their manhood at the door once the season is lost.  I see the benefits of intentionally tanking, but there’s no way they would outweigh the desire to win in my book.  Not on my watch. 
    The good thing about a team like the ’12-’13 Suns is that they’re so bad it that they’re going to tank even if they don’t try, so I don’t have to worry about them intentionally giving up and nobody else has to worry about them hurting their lottery chances.  Everyone wins… except the Suns.

  • 33 TySun // Feb 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    @john manhole  @Sillmarillion  Yeah, many years ago I was playing in a city 3-on-3 tournament.  We lost our first 3 games and on the day of our 4th, all my teammates showed up hungover and in no shape to play.  They gave up.  I was especially pissed off because we could have won that game if they had just come to play.  I know that because I was the only one to score any points for our team that day and we only lost by 3 points… and I wasn’t the best player on our team.  I can kind of understand why management would decide to tank a season but I have a hard time retaining any respect for players who just give up.

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