The Suns would normally take 105 points as a great night. They would normally accept Michael Beasley’s 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting in 23 minutes as a much-needed lift.
Except Saturday’s game at Washington was anything but normal, not with Martell Webster hitting seven 3-pointers en route to 34 points. Not with Washington — the league’s second-worst shooting team — hitting over 51 percent of their shots.
The tipping point came late in the second quarter, when Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal and Lindsey Hunter all picking up technical fouls in the closing minutes. Beasley’s came after one of his most scintillating plays of the year — a driving spin move followed by a vicious left-handed jam in traffic. In his post-play exuberance, he was penalized for taunting. The latter infractions came from perceived no-calls in the midst of a Wizards 15-2 run.
Things only got worse from there, as Washington followed up their 39-point second quarter with a 36-point effort in the third. The Suns were outscored by 12 in that frame, the same amount of points Webster scored from behind the arc in the period.
The loss was Phoenix’s fourth in a row and sixth out of its last seven games, planting them back in last place in the Western Conference.
When the Wizards began their initial push late in the second quarter, no one responded for Phoenix. Beasley’s dunk might have turned the tide, but only proved to be another two-steps-forward-one-step-back sequence after his taunting technical, the first of three in a short period of time.
Goran Dragic was disturbingly passive on a night the Suns needed someone to counter the Wizards’ momentum. He finished with 11 assists, but many of those came when Phoenix was already down by 20. His 5-for-14 shooting didn’t help either, and John Wall’s out-of-nowhere rejection on a Dragic layup made it clear which floor leader set the tone, Saturday night.
Tucker back in the mix
After not playing in the Suns’ loss to Atlanta, P.J. Tucker saw 32 minutes of action at Washington. Tucker saw plenty of time around the rim with Marcin Gortat’s absence creating a need for make-do frontcourt players. He didn’t disappoint, turning in a near-double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Taunting has come/gone a long way
Beasley’s technical foul for taunting after his dunk may have been reputation-caused. Let’s face it: officials are quicker to call technicals on guys who have reputations of temper/mood issues.
Still, taunting in general has become a huge no-no in a relatively short span of time. Not so long ago, guys like Shawn Kemp were doing way worse than Beasley did on a regular basis.