Joe Johnson’s buzzer-beater: A fluke play?


PHOENIX — Late-game execution makes a winning team in the NBA, but the Phoenix Suns would rather avoid that theory altogether.

The painful ending in the Suns’ 100-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday was another reminder that blowing leads midgame will put a team in bad positions come crunch time. With more than five seconds left on the game clock and the game tied at 98 in overtime, a Goran Dragic steal gave Phoenix the ball with about 30 seconds left in the game.

Coach Jeff Hornacek elected not to call a timeout because he had previously told his guards to attack center Brook Lopez, who despite his offensive explosion in the second half, had sprained his ankle earlier on.

“He wasn’t moving very well,” Hornacek said. “When we look back, probably should have told our guards should have come off the pick-and-roll and just shoot it. He wasn’t going to challenge it. In the heat of it, the guards are going, ‘Can I get by him and get to the basket?’”

Attack Lopez they did. Goran Dragic calmed the offense with 30 seconds left and off a pick-and-roll got a decent-enough shot from Frye as Lopez failed to recover from a hedge. The attempt didn’t fall.

“(Frye) said the ball was so wet he couldn’t grab the ball and shoot it,” Dragic said.

But after a series of tips off the miss between Tucker, Marcus Morris and the Nets’ Kevin Garnett, the ball popped out to Joe Johnson, who took it the length of the floor in five seconds and put a floater just above the fingertips of a retreating Frye just as the clock ran dry.

“It happened so fast, again,” Tucker said afterward. “I don’t know how … Marcus is in front of me, KG is behind me, so I’m like, I’ll let Marcus get it so I moved and let him get it, and it popped out. I’m like, ‘Ah, should have just grabbed it and it would’ve been overtime or a jumpball or something,’ it wouldn’t have been a fastbreak. It happened so fast, those situations, you try to make the best situations, it just didn’t work out.”

Hornacek said there isn’t any way to prevent such a play.

“Tonight was one of those fluke things,” he said. “Two guys thought they had it. You have to be pretty sure you’re going to get it. It’s one of those things where our big guys are thinking if they get the rebound they will call timeout.”

Like the Suns had the play prior, the Nets didn’t call time with an open court in front of Johnson. Game over.

Frye coming on?

Channing Frye has received a bit of flak with Markieff Morris winning the Western Conference Player of the Week award, but on Friday the forward didn’t disappoint. He scored 13 points and hit 4-of-8 shots and 2-of-4 threes. After getting benched for Morris in the second half, Frye replaced his replacement and led a surge that helped get Phoenix back into the game following a major lull.

“Even him not making still spreads the floor for our guards,” Hornacek said. “They still have to be alert where he’s at. It’s good to see him make a couple – he should have made the last one, but – it gives us a lot of things.”

Morris is quickly coming back down to earth. After three stellar games, he has gone 4-for-17 in the last two outings and grabbed 10 rebounds in 47 minutes.

And no matter what shape he’s in, Frye has proven to be the better defensive player, simply because of his smarts and to no insult of Morris’ effort.

  • Scott

    Generally when it comes down to the last basket it could go either way. In that situation, chance will play a big role.

    If you want to have a controlled win, you need to do the work earlier so it doesn’t come down to the game’s last possession.

  • foreveris2long

    This team is better than I thought yet I find myself very disappointed with every nail biting loss. Take me to the crazy farm.

    On another note Portland is playing very well, a team the Suns have played tough this season. I saw them beat Toronto on the road today. I cannot wait until the Suns next game where Goodwin gets more quality time. I am glad Coach’s desire to win does not seem more important than giving Goodwin good minutes. He could easily play Green more minutes if he was obsessed with winning.

  • KidBuxton

    So far it’s going perfectly for me.

    1. We are getting more respect from around the league be it teams, analysis, commentators or fans.
    2. We are losing games, sorry I think there’s no point coming 8th with this draft coming.
    3. We are leading the league in fast breaks so are fun to watch.
    4. We keep games close so no demoralizing blow outs.
    5. A lot of our players have good stats. To build on for future seasons.
    6. The coaching staff seem to be getting through to the players.

    I think finishing at 5000 is the worst thing that could happen. I’ve said from the start of the season I want us to be like the cavs last season, not win many games but be fun to watch and let it come down to the wire in most of the games. I know the cavs lost the most games last year by like less than 3 points each game, it might be lower I’m not sure. They got the no.1 pick, lucky I know but still worth the shot, they were the 4th worst team last year I think and moved up.

    That’s my dream here for us. Bledsoe does an Irving gets respect even though we don’t win many games.

  • .

    After watching this game, I realize how much Phoenix truly needs a player that can dominate in the post. I wonder if the Suns would consider going after Nowitzki and Danny Granger this off season?

  • Voqar

    “If you want to have a controlled win, you need to do the work earlier so it doesn’t come down to the game’s last possession.”

    Exactly, and in this game it was very possible for the Suns to have a mediocre/ancient Brooklyn team down enough for it not to be a factor.

    And I dunno man, saying Frye had a good game is kind of weak if all you have to compare it to is Morris, who came down of his trip and is back to his crap reality play. Frye shot so many horrific misses that it’s hard for me to say he had a good game. You just can’t miss that many wide open shots (or force bad shots).

  • Voqar

    “I wonder if the Suns would consider going after Nowitzki and Danny Granger this off season?”

    Hope not because that’s not the way to build thru youth and athleticism.

    I’m sure Indiana would love to move granger, which sucks for him since he helped establish the team that no longer needs him or his monster contract.

  • Foreveris2long

    No way would I want Granger or Nowitski on this team. We badly need a young, athletic and rebounding power forward and neither of those two fit that description.

  • JZ

    ^ You just described Kenneth Faried…Blake Griffin is not going to be traded to PHX. (Can’t think of other athletic PF’s) Thadeus Yougn or Big Baby maybe… Aldridge and Love have had a great start with their respected teams to be moved now or in the off season. Granger could probably be signed for 7-8 mill this off season.

  • Mel.

    ^Of all the names being bandied about, the Manimal’s the only one that makes sense, from where I’m sitting. He’d be a perfect pickup for this roster, and–if the dirtsheet’s bits about him being shopped for Iman Shumpert (Seriously?) are in any bit legit–then apparently, Denver’s looking to move the kid.