Phoenix Suns Recap: Poor Shooting Dooms The Suns In LA

Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin (20) and forward T.J. Warren (12) against the Los Angeles Clippers at US Airways Center. The Clippers beat the Suns 112-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Archie Goodwin (20) and forward T.J. Warren (12) against the Los Angeles Clippers at US Airways Center. The Clippers beat the Suns 112-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Suns faced their greatest test so far this season when they headed to Staples Center to face the rival Los Angeles Clippers. Despite putting forth a strong effort, the Suns were defeated 102-96, losing for the eighth consecutive time to LA.

The game started off relatively competitive, as the two sides traded small leads without either team taking total control. The Suns went on a 14-2 run through the late first and early second quarter to take a seven point lead. However, the Suns stopped getting their shots, and LA took the chance to seize the momentum. They went on a 22-2 run and left the Suns looking overmatched in the second half.

This is the Suns though, and every minute of immense frustration that makes you scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!??” is matched with a minute of overwhelming energy and attacking. The Suns battled back with a 10-0 run, and the game was 75-72 Clippers headed into the final quarter.

The Suns spent the fourth quarter nipping at the heels of the Clippers, always getting within one possession than allowing a basket to increase the gap. A couple of defensive lapses were offset by some fouls by the Clippers. However, the Suns were not able to convert on these opportunities.

However, the Suns did not let this get away from them. When a team is getting beat by Paul Pierce stepback 20-footers and Josh Smith threes, there’s not much you can do. The Suns also found good opportunities for shots and didn’t get them to fall. Brandon Knight faked out J.J. Reddick and got an open three that may have kept the game in reach. He missed it. That happens sometimes, and it is a testament to the Suns’ effort that they were able to overcome bad mistakes and bad luck to make the game competitive.

That doesn’t excuse the poor execution, but sometimes there are just bad nights. As a young team, the important thing for the Suns is that they take lessons from it and try not get put in such positions going forward.

 Markieff Morris, Third Quarter Hero

To say that the remaining Morris brother has not had an ideal start to his season would be an understatement. He came into the game shooting 32 percent from the field, and started this game making one of his first elven shots. However, his 12 third quarter points were instrumental to the Suns regaining a chance at winning the game.

Dave King put the ending of Morris’ night best.

Morris was 1-5 from the field and 1-3 from the line in the final quarter. Last year, Markieff led all players with 25 attempts or more in field goal percentage in the final two minutes of a one-possession game. Clutch Markieff was not in the building, and so far has yet to arrive this season.

Morris doesn’t look like he’s not trying. He’s just always been too keen to take fadeaways, mid-range jumpers, and other less efficient shots. When those shots don’t fall, Morris loses a lot of his value. Some may accuse him of tanking the season away. Maybe that’s true, but regardless, he has had one high level quarter out of a possible 16 so far. Not good.

Len Sees Little Time

Alex Len was the subject of offseason hype after something of a breakout sophomore season. He was expected to play an important bench role for the Suns and learn from Tyson Chandler. His early work this season has been good besides his scoring. He was 1-8 in the Suns last game, and was 0-2 from the floor tonight.

He was kept out of the rotation because the Clippers decided to go with Josh Smith at center. While Len has made strides as a defender, he still is not comfortable defending the perimeter. The amount of spacing the Clippers put on the floor in the early fourth quarter left Len at a major disadvantage,

This is part of the growing up process for Len. There are nights when he will struggle or be forced into a bad matchup. Tonight was one of those kind of games.

A Rough Knight

The Suns backcourt duo dazzled on Saturday against the Blazers, and Eric Bledsoe overcame some early struggles to play a major fourth quarter role. He finished with 16 points and seven dimes.

Brandon Knight fared far worse, finishing with 12 points on 4-20 shooting. He pulled out every move in his bag of tricks, but getting the edge of drives to the rim or faking defenders out to create space for a three-pointer only matters when the ball goes into the basket.

There was no real reason for this. It was just a really bad outing. When playing elite playoff teams like the Clippers, too many bad nights makes winning a very hard task. The young Suns were reminded of that lesson in this game.

The Suns (2-2) will return to the hardwood when the play the Kings on Wednesday.