The Phoenix Suns lost a game to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday, but one team’s loss was overshadowed by the entire game of basketball’s loss of Kobe Bryant on the same day.
It was one of those, you-remember-where-you-were-when-you-found-out kind of days. For me, it was a wine festival in downtown Phoenix via a text message in a fantasy football group thread. For Phoenix Suns players, they were preparing for a game with the Memphis Grizzlies when they found out Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash.
There was talk about cancelling the rest of the NBA games on Sunday, but the league chose not to do that. I hate when people say stuff like this about the recently deceased, but here I am saying it: Kobe would have wanted them to play.
Instead of cancelling games, teams honored the Black Mamba with 24-second shot clock, and 8-second back court violations. The Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies were no exception. After the Grlizzlies won the tip, they let the 24 second shot clock run out, and subsequently the Suns held the ball in the back court for 8 seconds, honoring the two numbers worn by the Lakers great.
After that, it was time to ball.
Unfortunately, the Suns looked somewhat out-matched from the start in this one. Although they made it close in the end, the Grlizzlies kept them at arm’s distance for most of this contest.
Much like the last few games, Monty Williams was forced to play the starters (plus Bridges) a ton of minutes with Aron Baynes and Cameron Johnson both still unavailable. Elie Okobo had this second consecutive scoreless game, but Jevon Carter and Ty Jerome were able to knock down a few open shots.
It is clear, however, the Suns need to add some bench talent if they plan on making a playoff push in the second half of the season.
It wasn’t all roses for the starters, though. Ricky Rubio had his second straight bad game, posting only five points and three assists (he had just 11 points and two assists against the Spurs on Friday night).
Here is the kicker though: he did it on exactly 24 shots.
In the end, it is another loss for the Phoenix Suns during this crucial stage in the season, but it was overshadowed by the much bigger loss the entire game of basketball went through on the same day.