The Thunder lost… The Spurs lost… The Rockets lost… The Trail Blazers lost.
As the Phoenix Suns headed to the half against the Golden State Warriors, they were playing with house money. Outside of Dallas beating Orlando, every single matchup had gone the Suns’ way, so as far as the team was concerned, there was just one thing left to do:
Win. Simple as that.
The Phoenix Suns got off to a fantastic start, especially on the defensive end, as it took the Golden State Warriors more than four minutes to score their first points of the game. Phoenix jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, and it looked like Markieff Morris in particular was primed for a big game. Morris scored 11 of the team’s first 17 points, while racking up five first-quarter rebounds, which definitely created some buzz across Twitter.
However, the Warriors were not about to roll over.
With the Suns up 36-24, Golden State scored off of a Shaun Livingston post-up on Isaiah Thomas. The teams would then trade a few baskets, before Steph Curry caught fire, connecting on back-to-back-to-back three-point jumpers, to pull the Warriors within four. Then things started to fall apart for the Suns, and as has often been the case this year, when things aren’t going the right way, somebody picks up a technical.
With 3:50 to go in the first half, it was Marcus Morris picking up the technical foul from the bench, despite the fact that the Suns had just gotten a call in their favor. The technical free throw would start an 8-0 run for the Warriors, and just like that, the Suns found themselves trailing at the half, despite leading by double-figures around the midway point in the second quarter.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
In the third quarter, the Suns just looked frustrated. In fact, after Markieff Morris opened up the period with a two-point basket, the Suns would not score again until the 5:57 mark, when Morris added to his point total with a turnaround jumper.
The Suns committed eight turnovers in the third quarter alone, three of which were committed by Goran Dragic on consecutive possessions. The team committed just about every type of turnover possible in the period, as the Len committed a charge, Dragic stepped on the baseline, Tucker committed a three-second-violation and Bledsoe lost the ball out of bounds. However, the Suns were not out of it just yet, as the Warriors were having their fair share of struggles too; It was just an 8-point game heading to the fourth.
Ultimately, the Warriors pulled away as the game went on, and the Suns fell 106-87, dropping to 6-3 in their last nine contests. However, given the other results of the night, this was not the worst time in the world for the Suns to lose a game, especially to one of the best teams in the NBA, regardless of whether or not they were on a losing streak.
For the Suns, Markieff Morris had another impressive showing, posting his second consecutive double-double, while Eric Bledsoe chipped in with 16 points and three assists. However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson proved to be too much to handle, combining for 47 points and 11 assists in just over 35 minutes a piece of game time.
Alex Len was an absolute force to start the game, despite not really having a big impact on the stat sheet. Len blocked each of Andrew Bogut’s first two field goal attempts, and you could tell that he had gotten inside Bogut’s head, as the Australian center rushed up his third shot, which fell well short of the rim. Despite playing just 13 minutes over the first two quarters, Len definitely had a major impact on the half, evident by the fact that he was second on the team in plus/minus as the team’s got set to kick off the third quarter.
Len was less of a factor as the game went on, but considering that the Suns were playing in the second game of a back to back, it wasn’t completely unexpected. Len hoisted up a couple of ill-advised jumpers when he could’ve taken a dribble or two in, but ultimately, he was not really the reason why the Suns lost the game. Len finished with a plus/minus of -3, which was tied for second best on the team out of all players who appeared in more than five minutes.
The “return” of Gerald Green
While Green wasn’t exactly injured or away from the team, he didn’t play a single minute in the Suns’ victory over Chicago, so tonight was his chance to make a “comeback.” Early on, it didn’t look like he missed a beat, as Green buried his first field goal attempt, a heavily contested three-pointer, to put the Suns up 28-20 (which coincidentally was their record coming into the game).
In the first three quarters, Green did a good job of providing offense when called upon, connecting on a couple of threes at various points in the game. He appeared to be in control, which was refreshing to see, given that less than 24 hours ago, some people were starting to worry that Green might even be on the trade-block. However, it was not quite a storybook ending for Green, as after a couple of rough plays in the fourth quarter, he returned to the bench, where he seemed notably upset.