Patrick Beverley helps Rockets drop Suns


PHOENIX —  On the night the Phoenix Suns (33-22) celebrated the 20th anniversary of Kevin Johnson’s dunk on Hakeem Olajuwon, it was only fitting that a little guy stole the show. Unfortunately for the Suns and their fans, that little guy was in a red uniform.

Patrick Beverley’s physical defense on Goran Dragic slowed down the guard in the second half, but most importantly, his go-ahead three-pointer with 34 seconds left gave Houston a 111-110 lead and propelled the Houston Rockets (38-18) to a 115-112 victory over the Suns on Sunday night at U.S. Airways Center.

“I try to do little things and shoot open shots,” Beverley said. “James (Harden) made a tremendous play at the end. We have to understand that teams lock in on James and Dwight (Howard) and I was in the weakside corner and he made a phenomenal play.

“That was a big shot, but the way we defended in the fourth quarter really was the key to this game.”

The Rockets defense held the Suns to just 19 fourth-quarter points, but it was also their defense in the first quarter that allowed them to get going. Some may credit the Rockets’ strong defense or their domination in the paint that gave them a 37-19 lead early in the second quarter, but Suns forward P.J. Tucker contributed the Rockets fast start to sloppiness.

“Real small miscues,” Tucker said on the slow start. “You saw the first half plays, wide open shot, throwing off people’s foot, simple little bunny lay-ups, just easy stuff that would have prevented that lead.”

Dragic, along with the Morris brothers, propelled the comeback by helping the Suns to a 29-8 run that put them up by three before the Rockets rebounded and closed out the half by retaking the lead. Houston dominated points in the paint by outscoring the Suns 40-14 in the first half thanks to Dwight Howard and Terrance Jones. Howard easily had his way the whole night, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

The Dragon led the Suns with 25 points going into the second half, but Beverley’s defensive pressure turned the game around by his continuous hounding of Dragic that eventually wore him down. Dragic did manage to score a career high 35 points thanks to his strong first half.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said prior to the game that Phoenix couldn’t allow the contributing Rocket players to have big nights. His team did not heed that warning, and he gave props to Beverley, who ended up scoring a career-high 20 points.

“The guy made plays,” Hornacek said. “He was active, he’s always out there being aggressive defensively and then offensively he’s a good player. That’s why he starts for them.”

Phoenix took a 93-83 lead heading to the fourth quarter after Gerald Green banked home a three-point-shot to end the third, and it seemed like the Suns were about to pull away. That would have been shocking considering they were down 18 at one point, but it just was not meant to be.

The Suns started out 1-of-5 from the field by getting complacent with their shot selection, and that allowed the Rockets to chip away. The game turned on a questionable clear path to the basket foul that Marcus Morris committed when Chandler Parsons tripped on his own foot. After an official review, the Rockets were awarded two shots plus the ball. After all was said and done, Houston had four points and all the momentum.

“That play changed the game. We were up 8, 10 then it turned into a tie ballgame in a minute, so that play definitely changed the game,” Tucker said. “Still our fault early on. We let them get confidence early so they made some plays at the end simply because they got going early.”

Tags: Dwight Howard Goran Dragic Houston Rockets Phoenix Suns

  • Gary Beckerman

    Granted the Suns should have closed this one out but the officiating was an embarrassment and the Suns were hosed on several calls that amounted to at least 5 points which would have made the difference in a close game.

  • bill_thomas

    Way to go. Great work neutralizing the Rockets weasel-ways.

    Might want to go back to preventive B-Ball 101.

    And practice some free-throws some time.

    Let’s pick up some one like MWP or Solomon Jones to throw people like Harden around.

    What we’re we thinking ????? We are the little sisters of the poor.

  • bill_thomas

    BTW, we need a backup point guard alternative to Ish. Let’s pick up Udrih ASAP.

    Let’s put Bledsoe on ice till playoffs (if we make it). Don’t want to interfere with his “recovery.”

  • bill_thomas

    LET’S BRING bLEDSOE BACK REAL SLOW !

  • bill_thomas

    He’s delicate !!!!!!!!

  • bill_thomas

    Let’s put Bledsoe on the permanent disabled list and bring back Shannon.

  • bill_thomas

    Why play DEFENSE ????? Just cash the check.

  • bill_thomas

    Let’s not play Bledsoe even when he says he’s ready. We don’t need him !!!!!! See ya later Charlie !!!!!!!!

  • bill_thomas

    We don’t have the LUXURY of playing as we do. But I guess most of them think we have that LUXURY !!!!!!!!!!!

  • bill_thomas

    Meant to say “one or more jerks on the roster”. My bad.

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  • bill_thomas

    Hold Bledsoe out. He’s in no hurry to return, so hold him out. Let’s sign his Jew dipshit agent to a ten-day and put HIM on the court.

  • bill_thomas

    Did I say Jew dipshit agent? I meant black. Actually I just meant “Agent.”, we should put them all on ice.

  • bill_thomas

    Need that high draft choice to replace Bledsoe. Choose a point with our highest choice. Let him go wherever he wants, he doesn’t want to be here. His agent is a big-time DICK !!!!

  • bill_thomas

    We just don’t think he’s ready to play. He can sit at the end of the bench…even up to and including June 16th.

  • bill_thomas

    Or June 25th. Whatever. Ship him to Milwaukee.

  • EBJM

    Officials called a great game. Rockets were on the bad end of several questionable calls. Bottom line is without Bledsoe the Rockets are too big and strong up front and Frye played about 34 minutes too long.

    Plumlee should have been on the floor with Markieff as much as possible. Frye is the only reason the Suns lost last night.

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  • john

    Officials called a great game?

    Seriously?

    Again… SERIOUSLY?

    Yes, there were bad calls both ways. NO, JUST BECAUSE THERE WERE BAD CALLS BOTH WAYS DOES NOT MEAN THEY CALLED A GREAT GAME. IT MEANS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF THAT.

    That’s the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard that just because there were bad calls both ways that the bad calls didn’t contribute to the outcome of the game.

    And I usually like what you have to say, and I don’t necessarily mean to pick on you in particular EBJM, but that’s a terrible, terrible argument. Bad calls are bad calls. They’re all bad, and just because they’re bad both ways doesn’t mean they don’t hurt one team more than the other or certain bad calls in certain situations don’t do more to determine the outcome of the game (how about the two free points Harden got for Houston by PULLING PJ Tucker down to the ground late in the fourth?).

  • john

    To continue on that thought just a little bit, the NBA has a problem. I have reviewed NBA games just for the heck of it to see whether officials make the right calls when the blow their whistles. Over half the time, when an official blows his whistle, he ends up making the wrong call. And this isn’t just something I do for Suns games, where I have a rooting interest. I’ll watch Bobcats vs. Pelicans, and I’ll give you the exact same result. NBA refs make the wrong calls more often than not when they blow their whistles, and there should simply be no excuse for that. It’s unacceptable. It ruins the product, and it gives me high blood pressure.

    I was fairly close to the action last night, and just so you know I’m not only seeing things the Suns’ way, there was a play where Kieff drove to the basket, flailed around a little bit, and missed a layup. The ref blew his whistle, and immediately I told my buddy next to me that no one even touched him. NO ONE. They called a foul on Harden, and when the replay was shown, it clearly showed that James Harden was never even within a foot of touching Morris. I could see that from the OTHER side of the court with a bad angle. The ref who was 10 feet away with a perfect angle on the play couldn’t.

    They’re just terrible. All the way around, through and through, NBA refs are BAD. Coach’s challenges, instant replay, fire the bad refs, actually fine them or dock pay for the terrible calls they make… something needs to be done to fix it, because I can’t freaking stand the NBA. I love the Suns, but the NBA is the worst officiated league in the world, bar none.

  • Rengaw

    Let’s face it, the Suns need more bangers on the inside like Tucker plays. Plumlee’s game has fallen off for what ever reason. Frye will make a strong effort one minute then just be pathetic the rest of the time.

    On the positive side, I was really happy to see both Markieff and Green drive the ball, and both players showed poise and improved passing.

    I’m a big fan of the Morris twins and wish both, especially Marcus, got a little more playing time. I think it would be a mistake to break them up. They play so well together and both are getting better as they get more experience.

  • sunsn7

    Who didnt know the Suns interior defense would be exposed last night? Frye’s effort is a head shaker, yeah he’s not a banger but to see the way he wilts defensively just so he has the energy to run back up court, to the 3 stripe and call for the ball.

    You are now an elder statesman on the team Channing and you help set the example by your effort. Just because the shot wasn’t falling doesn’t mean all other aspects of your game should go to shit. This team needs you to step up

    Give the Rockets credit. They did what they had to do to beat the Suns here in Phoenix. Suns could’ve really used Bledsoe down the stretch..

  • Foreveris2long

    I saw the game from a hotel lobby last night so I could not hear all of the broadcast. Did I hear correctly that in the 1st quarter or at the end thereof, Coach Horny accused the Suns of playing scared? If so I could not agree more and props for Coach putting the team on blast. If he did not say it, maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part?

    Tough loss but a very winnable game. I love the pre game illustration which showed all of the so-called NBA experts predicted the Suns to finish 29th this season. This loss does not dampen my spirits as the big picture is just fine.

    I suspect everyone has a different wish list for summer free agent acquisitions. My top three would be LBJ (unlikely but possible), Greg Monroe (very possible) and Chris Bosh (decent chance).

  • Foreveris2long

    Sunsn7 agree that a healthy Bledsoe will normally make a huge difference for the Suns when there is a small point guard harassing Dragic. In most games the opposition will have to switch that small guard on Bledsoe who is quick, athletic and strong enough to cause the little opposing guard havoc.

    As for Frye defensively, I have just given up expecting more out of him. It just is not part of his DNA.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    I would love for the Suns to go after Monroe thus summer. Frye’s 3 games a year where every shot of his falls just isn’t enough to justify keeping him. His “defense” is so bad it actually makes me miss Stoudemire’s defense.

    Bosh would be a great choice this summer to try to go after as well. He gets a lot of crap from fans for being the third wheel on the Heat, but his defense is sound, and he does his job without complaining. He would also bring a veteran presence and championship-caliber attitude with him.

  • Concerned-fan 07

    Whoa! Bill_thomas…. Medic!!! Suns are so close…yet so far away. Anytime teams put it in gear to beating the Suns, they know all they have to do is feed the post and get the ball inside. There is not a more complex way teams need to look at it. As plain as day! Suns, record and West ranking notwithstanding, are like the 21st best team in the league. Mediocrity has arrived, and yes, this season we are surprised!

  • Luka

    We’ve been complaining about Frye’s effort for years now. I was okay when he came off the bench back in 2010. Having him as a starter was never the answer. Signing him for 5 years was a huge mistake that Sarver should never have made. I never supported keeping him around. His expiring contract will be useful this summer to help us land that PF this team so badly needs.

  • Woodrow

    We lost momentum against the Heat with a dumb clear path foul on Lebron, too.
    Granted that was a shady call, but we gotta know that it’s better to give up 2 than a potential five point swing.

  • EBJM

    John, no offense taken. As opinionated as I am, it would just be wrong for me to be upset.

    BUT, my point is I watched the game as you could probably see from my play by play on the previous thread. Officiating isn’t the reason the Suns lost.

    That call on Tucker is because Tucker had his arm locked with Harden to keep him from moving towards the ball. Tucker let go and Harden fell to the floor.

    The Suns lost because the Rockets are a horrible match-up for Frye. Plumlee was doing a far better job and he should have played ten minutes more and Frye ten minutes less.

    Howard hit 5-7 and D-Mo 3-4 on FTs and they usually hit around 55%.

    Those are the two things that caused the Suns to lose last night.

    Frye was simply abused the whole game.

  • DZ

    Let’s give Frye his due. He’s a good backup PF/C that the Suns have been forced into using as a starter because they have no one better at the 4. He will occasionally have a great game but only occasionally.

    The contract he’s on now was a mistake but I don’t remember anyone complaining much about it back when he was originally signed to it. In 09-10 he was shooting .439 from the 3 point line and shot .390 in the 10-11 season. He never was a great defender or rebounder but he was also part of that “killer bench unit” way back when so he was overpaid when it came time for a new contract. Compared to some of the other contract mistakes that were made since then (Childress, Warrick, Turkeyglue), well, Frye’s contract still doesn’t seem like a bargain but it does look like a minor mistake in comparison.

    Frye has really been a valuable contributor during his time as a Sun. He’s just been asked to play a role that he’s not suited for.

  • john

    @EBJM

    I hear you, and I definitely agree that Frye had a terrible night. If many plays last night had gone differently, the outcome might have been better for the Suns. That’s absolutely true, you’re right. My main point is that in the closing minutes of the game the refs made a handful of blunders that took the game out of the players’ hands. Had the refs decided not to be jackwagons, that game wouldn’t have ended the same way (just like it wouldn’t have ended that way if Frye hadn’t been so awful).

    The refs played a role in that loss. I don’t like complaining about refs. I played ball, and I realize they make mistakes, but last night was one of those nights that makes me crazy. I wish the NBA would get smart and do something about this. It’s universally accepted as truth that the NBA has the worst officials of any league, but it’s not getting better.

  • EBJM

    I thought the calls were rather fair. They checked the replay on Markieff and Howard battling for the ball out of bounds and reversed it in the Suns favor.

    Tucker is getting away with a lot of touching so I thought his calls were fair with a match-up with Harden.

    The backcourt ref reversed a call on Jeremy Lin going out of bounds in the Suns favor.

    They called a bad foul on Asik who maintained his “verticality” on defense which made up for the one they called on Len.

    DZ I complained about Frye’s extension because he was a specialty bench player that was getting paid too much. He was brought in to be a “stretch four” back-up specifically for SSOL that continued under Gentry.

    People keep posting how Frye is necessary to space the floor. Well I did a play by play post during the game and I honestly don’t know why Hornacek kept him the game.

    He is too physically weak to play real PFs and centers. He reminds me of Brad Sellars. Markieff can play a great ALL-AROUND game real similar to T-Jones.

    The Rocket’s commentators said that the Suns best line-up is with the Morris twins. I love Tucker but apparently the difference between him and Barkley is that only Barkley can jump flat-footed under the rim and dunk the ball.

    Tucker could not finish at the rim with Howard an T-Jones defending.

    Plumlee was doing great comparatively speaking and he was taking the ball right to the hole instead of his God-awful hook shot.

  • sunsn7

    Yes some calls were bad but let’s not make the mistake of pointing fingers at the refs and not holding the team itself accountable.

    They win as a team and they lost as a team

  • john

    Make up calls don’t really “make up” for anything. Situations can be vastly different, and even though both calls might result in two points for each team, it’s never truly neutral. Bad calls are bad calls. Even or not, they’re bad calls. And we’ll have to agree to disagree on the quality of the calls the other night. I saw the game differently, and I guess that just goes to show my point that the subjectivity of officiating is simply never going to be consistent the way things are currently done.

  • bill_thomas

    Did anyone notice that as soon as my posts went up, Bledsoe hit the practice court the next day, unexpectedly soon.

  • EBJM

    Well John to be fair, I was rather focused on why Frye was in the game. I commented before the game that Hornacek needed to start Markieff on T-Jones instead to keep him from going off in the first two minutes again.

    So what happens? T-Jones went off again and the Suns were down by 18.

  • BCrayZ

    EBJM -

    I try to ignore you because we all know that you’re a jerk.

    This is it. Will shut you & your foul attitude up once & for all. Sure Frye had a poor game. Gogi was the one who missed that last shot. W

  • john

    I think Goran gets a pass on that last one due to the fact that he was Absolutely AMAZING the rest of the evening. It was reminiscent of that playoff game against the spurs a few years back. He couldn’t miss.

  • BCrayZ

    Luka -

    Have had way too much of your & EBJM’s hate on Frye.

    Guys like you are not even meant to be seen, let alone heard.

    With the rest of my last comment cut off, where I was challenging EBJM to a 1-on-1 game in Frye’s honor, I will defer to facts & advanced metrics, as reported by Dave King.

    “Suns play 14 of their last 21 on the road, including 9 of their last 14, while fighting for playoff position and not only trying to avoid missing the big dance altogether but also to avoid having to face the Thunder in the first round. A 15-13 record in the next 28 games gets them 48 wins and a likely 6th or 7th seed.

    Can the Suns win down the stretch? And once in the playoffs, can they win in the playoffs?

    The metrics say yes.

    And a close look at the metrics shows that two of the most important players on the Suns are Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee. They play together in the starting lineup, but they also share the center position for much of the game as they rotate in and out of the game for rest.

    Net differential on efficiency

    The Phoenix Suns, as a team, have a +3.8 net differential on offensive efficiency vs. defensive efficiency, good for 8th in the league. But some of their lineups offer a much bigger bang for their buck.

    The Suns have five lineups in the top-100 of the NBA:

    The lineup of Channing Frye – Markieff Morris – P.J. Tucker – Gerald Green – Goran Dragic (89 minutes) has the 17th-best net differential in the league at +20.4 with an offensive rating of 120.2 vs. defense of 99.8 (points per 100 possessions). Their assist-% is 61.3%, much higher than a usual Suns lineup.

    The second-best differential swaps Tucker for Marcus Morris with the same four guys (70 minutes), with a net +11.4.
    After that, it’s the long-awaited starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe-Dragic-Frye-Plumlee-Tucker with a +10.0 net rating (247 minutes).
    The 2014 starting lineup, since Bledsoe’s injury, has been pretty good too: Dragic-Frye-Green-Tucker-Plumlee is a +6.0 (460 minutes)
    The best backup lineup features Leandro Barbosa – Alex Len – Morris – Morris – Ish Smith with a +5.4 net rating (58 minutes).
    Each one of these lineups is a winner, but the season is so long you can’t just play those lineups and nothing else.

    “As you got through the season you’d love to say you can get back down to an 8-man rotation,” Hornacek says. “But if you look at our schedule in March we would be wearing guys out if we do that.”

  • BCrayZ

    John -

    Last comment of mine was incomplete & therefore taken out of context, as I totally agree with you & am a huge supporter of Gogi.

    That comment was aimed at EBJM, as I challenged him to a 1-on-1 game, in the honor of Frye. That part of my comment was censored out, as I went a little overboard in my wrath toward EBJM.

    Have to change the subject here. I’m very concerned about the loss of Barbosa, as he is again hurt. Suns won 10 out of the 14 games he played in after coming back from a separated shoulder & now are forced to play without our “Blur.” When is he expected back?