For the second game in a row, the Phoenix Suns lose in the final seconds, when almost anything could have gone differently and handed the victory over to Phoenix. Everything lined up perfectly for Brooklyn at the end as they defeated the Suns in overtime 100-98, destroying the Suns’ untarnished home record.
Following a corner-three from P.J. Tucker that gave Phoenix a two-point lead, former Sun Joe Johnson scored with just under thirty seconds remaining in the game to knot the game up at 92. Goran Dragic missed a shot to lock up the victory and the game went to overtime.
However, it looked like Paul Pierce chucked up a shot from half-court as time expired with Tucker draped all over him. Pierce could have been in the act of shooting, causing him to (in all likelihood) head to the line and at least make one free throw, sealing the Suns fate. But the refs didn’t make a call, causing the game go into overtime, letting the players decide the outcome, rather than the refs.
Both teams scored six points in the extra minutes leading up to the final seconds. Channing Frye missed a three-pointer and Johnson continued his heroics, by driving the full length of the court, adding in a hesitation move with clock going down. As be drove the lane, he dropped in a floater over two Suns defenders just before the buzzer went off, declaring demise for the Suns.
Earlier in the game, it looked like the game would be a blowout.
Phoenix was out-hustling the Nets, scoring easily in transition, but the Suns finished the first half poorly and only held a slight four point lead at the intermission. It felt like it should have been much more the way the Nets had been playing.
At the beginning of the second half, Brooklyn went on a 16-0 run that took almost seven minutes and forced Phoenix to take a gut-check. They needed a spark, but where would it come from?
Immediately, Hornacek inserted Channing Frye, Gerald Green and Marcus Morris into the lineup to get Phoenix within striking distance.
It worked because less than five minutes later Phoenix was only down by two points. We have a game.
Three-pointers really got Phoenix back in the game as they made ten out of 28 shots from the perimeter for 35.7 percent.
Dragic had a good game, scoring 19 points (nine of which came from the free throw line) racking up ten assists for his first double-double of the young season (he would have more, but keeps getting injured) and adding a couple steals.
Tucker was right behind the Dragon, finishing with 17 points including 3-4 from deep. Eric Bledsoe continues to fill up the stat sheet, finishing with 15 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals. Channing Frye and Marcus Morris both added 13 points in the loss.
For Brooklyn, superstar Deron Williams injured his ankle early in the game, making way for veteran Shawn Livingston to take over. Livingston made his presence felt and ended with 18 points and six assists.
However, the real story was Brook Lopez. Lopez, the twin (and much better) brother of former Sun Robin Lopez, who the Suns played Wednesday in Portland, went off. Lopez finished with 27 points off of an efficient 9-16 from the field and an impressive 9-10 from the free throw line. He completed his stat line with seven rebounds and three blocks.
The Suns again fiercely fought back from a double-digit deficit, but their flaws were revealed when it came to tight, end-of-game execution. That’s what happens with young teams.
Phoenix has a few days off before they travel to Sacramento for a Tuesday matchup with the Kings.