The Suns won’t let opportunity through the door

Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (left) steals the ball from Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (left) steals the ball from Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix- Opportunity is knocking at the door.

Actually, opportunity is pounding at the door, pounding so hard that you almost have to answer the door at this point.

For some reason, the Phoenix Suns (29-28) are sitting back and letting opportunity pound away without letting them through that door.

The Boston Celtics (21-33) came to Phoenix on Monday night missing two of their top-3 leading scorers in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, leaving them with only one player averaging over 10 points per game not including newly acquired Isaiah Thomas. Oh, and they are coming off an overtime loss in Los Angeles the night before.

A tired and short-handed Celtics team gave the Suns a perfect opportunity to get back into the win column, but they sat back and let opportunity pound away at the door in a 115-110 loss at US Airways Center.

“We’re still not out,” Suns guard Eric Bledsoe said on the team’s dwindling playoff outlook. ” As bad as it may seem right now, we are still not out. At the end of the day you have to think positive.

“We got a Denver team (Wednesday’s opponent) that’s struggling, just like we are. We are looking forward to going in and try to get a win.”

Hmm. It sounds like Bledsoe may be ready to let opportunity through the door. He certainly played like it, posting his ninth double-double of the season by scoring 21 points and dishing out 10 assists, while also grabbing seven rebounds.

The thing about basketball is, everyone has to be on the same page. The talk around shoot-around on Monday was the improved chemistry of this team, how people were having fun playing basketball again. While that is all great and may be true, it has yet to develop on the court and is something that will take time.

“It’s only been two games. Like I said, chemistry doesn’t happen overnight,” Brandon Knight said. “It’s not two, three, four games, sometimes it will take awhile. We got to continue to keep working on it and it’s just going to come with time.”

Unfortunately, time is something the Suns don’t have. The Suns now trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by two and a half games for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but there is still time to allow opportunity through the door.

Four of the next six games come against sub .500 teams, with the other two being home games against the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. Two teams the Suns have played well against at home under Jeff Hornacek. Also remember, Kevin Durant will miss the game, and could miss some time with his foot issues, leaving the Thunder vulnerable.

As promising as the schedule looks, the Suns have had a habit of losing to bad teams all season, especially at home. Simply put, you can not lose to a team like the Celtics if you are battling for a playoff position. Boston entered the game as the 26th best 3-point shooting team in the NBA, and the Suns allowed them to be 10-15 at one point in the first half.

The Celtics scored 67 first half points and led by as much as 19, it was an ugly performance on the defensive side of the ball that left Hornacek scratching his head.

“You are putting so much pressure on the offense to outscore a team and we have got to find a way to stop these guys,” Hornacek said. “It is a combination of all things, taking pride in guarding a guy by yourself, pick-and-rolls or just throwing it around and we are closing hard.

“It’s almost like we are playing to keep them in front of us and let them do whatever they want. We need to start getting after it that way and if you foul out, you foul out. There were alot of balls that bounced at the free-throw line area and we were nowhere to be found. You have got to want it more than that.”

Opportunity is getting tired of pounding at that door, that’s for sure. Playoffs seems like a laughable proposition at this point after the Suns just dropped their 8th game in nine contests. But opportunity hasn’t left yet.

The Suns have a huge stretch of games coming up, and if they can rally and win a few in a row, things may look more promising. at this time next week.

Remember, last week Goran Dragic was still a happy member of the Phoenix Suns. Alot can change in just a few days, and there is still time to allow opportunity through the door, before it gives up for good.


“It feels good to beat the team that traded you away. I just love the big moment and I want to be the hero,” – Isaiah Thomas after he scored 21 points in his return to Phoenix, which included a back-breaking and-1 three-pointer to give the Celtics a five point lead with 1:37 to go.