On social media sites, Thursdays have turned into Throwback Thursdays. People post old pictures on their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts every Thursday to showcase a special moment from the past. ValleyoftheSuns has decided to join the craze and bring Suns fans some of the most memorable moments, good or bad, in the team’s history. This week, we go not too far back to recount one of the few bright spots from a year ago.
Date: Nov. 9, 2012
Place: U.S. Airways Center
Set-up: The sixth game of the 2012-13 regular season could not have started any worse for the Suns. The Cleveland Cavaliers scored 18 of the first 20 points in the game including a 10-0 run right off the bat that forced Suns coach Alvin Gentry to call two timeouts in the game’s first 3:57. Cleveland scored points on their first 10 possessions and ended up leading 37-16 after the first quarter. A Daniel Gibson three-pointer and a field goal by Tristan Thompson gave the Cavs a 26-point lead to begin the second quarter before the Suns outscored them 91-63 the rest of the way to cement the franchise’s third-best comeback of all-time.
Comeback: The Suns slowly started chipping away at the 26-point deficit and cut it in half by halftime thanks to scoring the last 6 points of the half in the final 51 seconds. In the third quarter, they got it down to just five points after a Goran Dragic layup at the 8:06 mark, but Cleveland quickly got it back to around 10. Going into the fourth quarter, the Cavs’ seven-point cushion didn’t last long as the Suns scored seven straight to tie the game. The Cavs got the lead back up to seven with 4:24 to go when the Suns went on one final run.
The Suns scored six straight points and then promptly gave up back-to-back layups to trail by three with with 2:30 to go. P.J. Tucker, as he mentions below, grabbed a big offensive rebound off a Michael Beasley miss that led to a Beasley jumper to get the game down to a point. On the next possession, Tucker hit a jump shot to give the Suns a lead they would not give up. Kyrie Irving’s last second three pointer hit the back of the rim and the Suns completed the 26 point comeback to win the game 107-105.
Aftermath: The comeback could have hurt the Suns in the end. The Cavs finished the season with a 24-58 record while the Suns ended up with a 25-57 record, and you know the rest. Cleveland ended up winning the lottery and jumped from the fourth spot to No. 1 in the draft order. Maybe it didn’t matter a whole lot in the end if the Suns really did have Alex Len atop their draft board.
I spoke with P.J. Tucker after practice on Monday about the great comeback to get his take on the game. At the time, Tucker was still trying to find his role on the team playing in only his sixth as a Sun.
What do you remember about that night?
We were having a bad half, played bad in the first half. In the second half, I’m trying to think of the play, but we just out-hustled them and played really hard. We got a lot of offensive rebounds and And 1 put-backs. It was definitely one of the best games of last year.
Was there a play or something that was said that triggered the comeback?
It was just one of those games we felt like we should have won. We were playing so bad and everyone kind of just stepped up. We had so many games like that where we started out bad, came back at the end, but a lot of times we didn’t have enough, that night we came through.
Do you remember what triggered the slow start that night?
Like anything else last year, execution, it just wasn’t there all the time and in the second half we played hard and that’s why we won.
Did you think it was still possible to make a run and win the game down 26?
You can always win, you can be down almost anything and comeback in the league.
Final thoughts from that night.
I remembered getting a big offensive rebound late in the fourth and some big stops on Dion Waiters, it was definitely a good game to throwback, for sure.