Nets Smother the Suns in Blowout Fashion

Mar 23, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Derrick jones Jr. takes a shot while being defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Caris Le Vert (22) during the second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 126-98. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Derrick jones Jr. takes a shot while being defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Caris Le Vert (22) during the second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 126-98. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

When a team intentionally short-hands themselves as the Suns have, even the slightest disturbance can make putting a complete roster on the court. Today, the Suns lost four additional players, making a win nearly impossible – even to the lowly Nets.

If you have wondered whether or not the Suns could win another the game the rest of the season, you probably looked at the calendar and saw the 14-56 Brooklyn Nets who have not won two games in a row all season up next and thought this might be their best shot.

Without starting small forward T.J. Warren who missed the game with a foot contusion apparently caused by Hassan Whiteside stepping on his foot late in the Miami game, the Suns at least got Alan Williams back who missed that game due to food poisoning. The replacement of Derek Jones Jr. for Warren allowed for a 19-year old replacement of the 23-year old Warren, leading to the youngest starting lineup in NBA history.

With the young lineup the Suns started out strong looking as if the underdogs could pull one off against a more complete team, a trend that has been the Suns’ M.O. since the benching of the team’s veterans. Leading by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, and beginning the game up 20-5, it appeared that even a young team like the 2016-17 post-All-Star break Suns could defeat the more veteran, although terrible, Nets.

Up ten after one, the Suns slid back into their old ways with terrible shooting, too many turnovers, not enough scorers, and the inability to make defensive stops that could slow another team’s offense down – not to mention that even with 56 losses, the Nets are the fastest team in the league with a league-high 101.1 pace.

During the middle two periods the Nets looked like the showtime Lakers outscoring Phoenix 62-33 taking a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Suns shot a miserable 6-26 in the third period and 1-8 from beyond the arc, with Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis firing 4-16 on their own. To make matters worse, Alan Williams grabbed three fouls in 3:30 in the first half nearly knocking him out of the rotation completely, while Alex Len too grabbed fouls early stretching thin the team’s front court options, even to the point where Steve Albert speculated if Tyson Chandler would have to come off the bench to fill in for a few moments due to the lack of replacements.

In the third quarter Jones Jr. took a spill driving to the lane, landing on his wrist and coming out of the game immediately. He did not return, although per Doug Haller, he might be okay.

The fourth quarter was no picnic for Phoenix as the Nets refused to take their foot off the pedal scoring 42, outscoring the Suns by nine. With 1:48 Justin Hamilton (who scored 10 points in 7:30 minutes off the bench) drained two free throws, putting the Nets up by 33, 90-123, the Nets’ largest lead at any point this season, and according to @netsSource, their largest in a really long time.

Alex Len found the bench for the majority of the fourth quarter after he recorded 3 fouls in a lighting fast 2:41, reaching the 6 foul maximum and his expulsion from play. The fourth and mercifully final player to find his final destination on the bench was Devin Booker who with 3:37 too committed his 6th foul, his first foul out since December 26 in a 16-point loss to Houston.

After setting the team’s second lowest shooting performance of the season four days ago against Detroit, the Suns shot 36.6% from the field today, their third worst shooting display of the year. The 28-point loss was the third largest loss of the year for Phoenix, although when taking into perspective that the two largest were to Houston (31) and Golden State (29) that makes this one seem even worse.

The Nets netted a season-high 81 points from their bench, outscoring the Suns 81-22. It is safe to assume, unless anyone knows otherwise, that that was a season-high allowed, and season-high scoring spread, by the Phoenix defense as well.

Although he only shot 9-26 from the field, Devin Booker scored 28 points with 3 steals and 2 rebounds. His 3 three-pointers were the first that he has made since draining 3 versus Sacramento on the 15th. His 6 fouls was the fourth time this season that he has fouled-out, and the ninth time of his career.

Marquese Chriss recorded 23 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of his career, and his first since a 14 point and 12 rebound double on December 13 versus the Knicks.

Alex Len and Tyler Ulis each recorded double-doubles of their own, with Len scoring 11 and grabbing 11 boards before his fouling out, and Tyler Ulis recorded his third point/assist double-double as a starter with 10 points (on 5-19 shooting) and 12 assists. Over his first five starts as an NBA starting points guard, Ulis is averaging 13.5 points, 10.0 assists, and 1.8 assists with 33.7 shooting from the field.

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Of the Brooklyn starters, only Brook Lopez had an impressive-enough looking stat line with 19 points and 6 rebounds. (Brooklyn set a season-high with 61 rebounds, coming two short of the season-high 63 the Suns allowed to the Pistons on Sunday). It was the Brooklyn bench, as mentioned above, that was unstoppable with the six bench scorers in double-figures, coupled with Lopez and Jeremy Lin’s 13 points, the Nets boasted eight double-digit scorers. However, the Nets offered two further spectacular stats.

Mentioned above also was Justin Hamilton’s 13 points in 7:30. Former Sun Archie Goodwin came off the bench with him and shooting 4-4 from the field and 3-4 from the free throw line, scored a season-high 12 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and recorded 3 assists. Archie is now averaging 8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in three games off the Brooklyn Bench.

Also, if you combine the Brooklyn starters +/-, they equaled a -6. If you add up the Brooklyn bench, they equaled +146, with +141 coming from Quincy Acy, Isaiah Whitehead, Spencer Dinwiddie, KJ McDaniels, and Trevor Booker.

With the victory the Nets swept the Suns for the second consecutive season. The Suns are the first team this season that the Nets have recorded a season-series sweep of, and only the second team that they have two wins against, the first being Detroit. The Suns are also the only team that the Nets have at least four wins over in the past two seasons.