The Phoenix Suns should be proud of Saturday night

Phoenix Suns Richaun Holmes Deandre Ayton (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Richaun Holmes Deandre Ayton (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Phoenix Suns never gave up despite trailing by 20 multiple times. The culture is changing in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Suns fell behind big early to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Considering Denver has the best record in the Western Conference and the Suns have the worst, it really wasn’t all that surprising.

Down 20 after the first quarter, it would’ve been easy for the Suns to shrug their shoulders and say it wasn’t their night. But they kept fighting, cutting the lead to 12 by the end of the third.

Unfortunately, the Suns gave up a 10-0 run to start the fourth, and the Nuggets lead was quickly back up to 22. But even then, the Suns wouldn’t quit.

They played until the final whistle, eventually falling by four after Monte Morris went 1 of 2 from the foul line with less than a second to go. But the fact they were able to get it down to a one possession game at the very end speaks volumes.

Earlier this season, there was no chance the Suns would do anything but roll over after falling behind big. But there wasn’t a whiff of quitting against the Nuggets.

Deandre Ayton was benched earlier in the year after comments implying he had given up after a horrible first quarter. But against Denver, he proved that attitude is behind him.

After Ayton had a one point first quarter that saw the Phoenix Suns fall behind twenty, he singlehandedly keep the Suns in the game leading up to halftime, scoring 24 points in the second quarter alone and helping trim the halftime deficit to 13.

After falling behind 20 in the first against a team that is clearly better, it would have been easy for the Suns to give up. It would’ve been even easier down 22 in the fourth. But for a young team, it’s so important that they didn’t.

New head coach Igor Kokoskov deserves lots of credit for keeping his guys in it the whole game. It’s fair to question his rotations, but just getting this team to show fight is a testament to the job he’s doing.

They said bringing in veterans would end the losing culture. In reality, it was with veterans in the lineup the Suns went on a ten game losing streak and were on pace to win fewer than 12 games.

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The effort from the Suns last night resembled nothing of a losing culture. They may have lost the game, but their young core fought until the very end through tough adversity. They should be proud of their effort.