PHOENIX – It’s one thing for the Phoenix Suns to talk about bringing their best against sub-.500 teams and another to do it. For all the warnings about how they needed to carry a big win against the Pacers into games against the rest of the field, the Suns didn’t.
The Suns dropped the get-away game to the Washington Wizards, 101-95, on Friday at U.S. Airways Center by doing all the things they’d seemingly gotten away from. They lost on the boards, especially those of the offensive variety, and turned the ball over at a prolific rate.
In the third quarter alone, the Suns were outscored 31-19 thanks to seven turnovers leading to 14 points. In total, Phoenix gave the ball up 22 times resulting in 26 points. On the rebounding front, Phoenix lost 44-30 and allowed the Wizards to collect 19 offensive rebounds.
While Washington didn’t score on a whole lot of the second chances, it certainly helped the tempo remain in its favor. The Suns’ low scoring output put them in an uncomfortable halfcourt game all night long, where they seemed too set on pushing for matchups rather than simply running the offense.
Goran Dragic found Miles Plumlee with an in-between the legs pass for a dunk to bring the score to 97-95, but Bradley Beal hit a long two-point jumper atop the key that was the dagger with 26 seconds left. Channing Frye couldn’t hit a three, and Dragic missed another opportunity from deep after an offensive rebound, and the Wizards had stolen a gutty road win to help ease the pain of an embarrassing loss to the Boston Celtics a game prior.
Coming into the game Friday, the Suns were averaging just more than 11 turnovers per game in the month of January, and they had reached 11 by halftime. They shot 47.9 percent overall, but the total dropped off dramatically in the second half. Phoenix scored just 38 points in the second half and shot 37.8 percent, but the real issue might have been the defense, which wasn’t aided by the turnover rate.
Here’s to answering some pregame queries.
Can the Wizards defend the three?
This should have been phrased, “Will they try to defend the three?” because Nene wanted no part in even attempting to chase Channing Frye around the perimeter. Frye started 4-for-5 from deep in the first quarter before Randy Wittman even thought of taking Nene out of the game.
But after that, the Wizards got it together. Gerald Green couldn’t find daylight on the offensive end and went 0-of-4 from deep. He scored just eight points on the night.
As a team, the Suns went 7-for-22, including a 1-for-7 third quarter and 0-for-5 fourth.
Will the bench unit continue to produce?
Markieff Morris scored 13 points and Leandro Barbosa added 10, but the Suns’ second unit struggled even moreso than the first on the glass. Six-foot point guard Ish Smith played 14 minutes and grabbed four rebounds, just as the Morris twins did in 38 minutes combined.
And unlike Ish Smith had in the last two outings, the third-string point guard didn’t offense much against a big backcourt of the Wizards.
What’s the over/under on amazing Marcin Gortat things?
Set at 9.5 before the game, the over/under probably could have been set higher. This is a generous count of Marcin Gortat doing Marcin Gortat things throughout the game. We started off with two funny quotes before tip even happened.
And this is what we’re at just after the final buzzer. Gortat scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds while his replacement in Phoenix, Miles Plumlee had 14 points and six rebounds.
- 2 funny pregame quotes
- 3 times adjusting his sweatbands
- 3 missed attempts at the rim
- 1 hands on head
- 1 lost offensive board to Ish Smith
- 1 watching Miles Plumlee take off from 8 feet out and dunk on the same play as above