The Suns narrowly missed the playoffs, and they know they lost to some bad teams and had some close losses to good ones. What where the top five moments that make you say, “what if?”
5. Suns’ early loss to San Antonio when Dragic was injured
It was November 6th, when the season was still young and the Spurs were laboring on the second half of a back-to-back. Unfortunately, Goran Dragic was sidelined with an ankle injury. The Suns only lost by three points. What could have been? Markieff Morris had to lead the Suns in scoring with 23 points off the bench. The result could’ve been vastly different had The Dragon been able to play.
4. Josh Smith’s game-winning layup
Fast forward to January 11th. The Suns had lost Bledsoe and were trying to tread water in the Western Conference until he returned. What could they NOT afford? Bad, close losses to bad teams. The Suns were in Detroit looking to close out a mediocre team, until Josh Smith drove the ball from the top of the arc and bullied his way to the hoop for the game-winning layup. What if Smith gets complacent and takes his signature long-two, or a Suns player steps in front? What if?
3. Overtime loss in New York
Following that heartbreaking Detroit loss, Phoenix needed to turn it around. They didn’t – so they lost. The game was so close, the teams needed an overtime session to decide the outcome. In the extra minutes, they let Carmelo Anthony score while not making any field goals themselves (just a few free throws). That’s not going to get it done.
2. Joe Johnson’s game-winning buzzer-beater floater
Well, Joe Johnson sure got a revenge game back in November. He hit a floater to send the game to overtime AND hit a fastbreak floater as the buzzer sounded. The former Sun had just torched his former team. What if he had missed either of those shots?
[RELATED: Joe Johnson's buzzer-beater: A fluke play?]
1. Goaltending in Portland
The most controversial any game during the Suns’ season, a 90-89 loss, where the the refs may have taken a game from them. This game ended up being the only game Portland won out of the four games between the two teams this season. Damian Lillard made a layup with a little more than six seconds to go on the game clock. Then Bledsoe beat his man, threw up a layup, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris both tried to tip it in, but to no avail.
Nicholas Batum goaltended one of the tip-ins, going through the net to tip the ball back out, but the refs missed it. And thus the game was over.
— Bob Adlhoch (@badlhoch) November 14, 2013