Despite the magical touch the Suns have this season, vastly exceeding expectations and being a ton of fun to watch, the Suns number may finally be up. Their most critical game of the season, their Saturday match against the Dallas Mavericks, ended in a crushing 101-98 defeat.
It was a back and forth for most of the game. The Suns jumped out eraly, but Dallas was ahead 27-26 after one quarter. The Suns rode an explosive second a 57-46 halftime lead. Sadly, for the third time in the last few games, the Suns gave up a big lead. In the third quarter, Dallas went on a three point shooting binge that the Suns couldn’t match.
As usual for the Suns, it came down to the final minutes. Dallas led by as many as eight in the final quarter, but the Suns fought back. With the game in their grasp, the Suns had 18 seconds to get a bucket after Dallas’ Monta Ellis hit one of two free throws. Prior, the Suns failed to capitalize on a Dallas turnover after a questionable layup selection by Gerald Green. Bledsoe drove, but his attempt to layup over Brandon Wright, much taller than he is, worked about as well as you expect. Fate smiled on the Suns, as Monta Ellis went back to the line to hit 1-2 again. However, Markieff Morris could not hit the game tying three, and the Suns fate was all but sealed.
Eric Bledsoe took command of this game, putting up 29 points on 11-15 shooting, while adding four rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Channing Frye added 21 points while shooting 5-6 from downtown. Goran Dragic added 13 points, but on 6-18 shooting. His ankle did seem to bother him, but he powered through. No other Sun was in double figures. For Dallas, Vince Carter scored 10 points en route to become the 25th leading scorer in NBA history. Dirk Nowitzki had two points at halftime, but finished the game with 23.
The Suns drop to 47-33 with this loss. Despite the many miracles they have pulled this season, including being in this position in the first place, their playoff hopes are on life support. They need to win out and Memphis needs to lose to the Lakers or Mavericks. For now, all that matters is the Suns next game, which is their home finale on Monday night against Memphis.