Without Oubre, the Phoenix Suns lose energy and hope in devastating loss to Warriors

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

After barely losing to the Detroit Pistons Friday night, the Phoenix Suns got blown out of their own gym by the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, marking the symbolic end of their playoff hopes.

The Phoenix Suns still have 21 games left in the 2019-2020 season, but Saturday night’s loss to the lowly Golden State Warriors may have ended it for all intents and purposes, and moved their all-time Leap Day record to 2-3.

The Suns also continued their streak of having former players light them up, with Dragan Bender (of all people) scoring a season-high 13 points and grabbing another season-high nine rebounds. Marquese Chriss also nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds himself.

The inexcusable loss comes just 17 days after a much more depleted version of the Suns handled this same Warriors squad with relative ease. But while the Suns may have had Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes, and Dario Saric back in the lineup Saturday, they were without the heart and soul of the team, Kelly Oubre Jr., and as a result, the team played with no heart and no soul.

Devin Booker is awesome and the unquestioned leader of the team, but his personality isn’t one that naturally sparks joy for all those around him.

Ricky Rubio is also awesome and is a great floor general, but while his never-too-high, never-too-low mentality is a good level-set for winning teams, sometimes guys need to get a little too high. (Not you, Ayton)

Deandre Ayton, also awesome and whose improvement should excite Suns fans moving forward, is it still a kid in a beast’s body and if this video of him talking and feeding popcorn to his bobblehead is any indication, he is still immature.

Say what you want about some of Kelly Oubre’s antics, he is one the primary reasons this team has had so much fun this season, even during rough stretches. It isn’t that his hilarious pushups, kisses, and head bobs make fans smile, the team feeds off that energy. It’s contagious. It’s like the positive version of the coronavirus.

Don’t take my word for it, though. When asked what the team missed from Kelly Oubre, Aron Baynes said after the game:

"“He’s got a lot of great energy. Sometimes it overflows a little bit, but for the most part he’s such a ball of energy for us, guys feed off that. So (without him) everyone has to go out there and bring a bit of that to the game…we all have to step up and bring a bit more energy to try and make up for what went missing from him out there.”"

I won’t relitigate all the reasons Tsunami Papi is so valuable, that has been done before. But without his uplifting spirit on the court, this team seems to be reverting back to bad habits of yesteryear.

Monty Williams admitted some fault but also didn’t exactly pull his team out from under the bus when he said he didn’t have his team ready, but they played selfishly and lacked effort.

Mikal Bridges said:

"“Mentality very weak. Everybody.” And added, “We miss a shot, they score, head down. So I think it was us being mentally weak out there and they played harder. Go home, look yourself in the mirror and just see if you really want this. If you really want to win.”"

Scathing words from the former NCAA champion, who clearly isn’t on board with this brand of basketball.

But perhaps the most telling of all post-game locker room statements came from Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, both of whom left before the media arrived.

That is, well, it’s not great.

The Suns’ schedule doesn’t get any easier, not that it could, considering they just played the team with the league’s worst record. They will play host to the Raptors, Trail Blazers, and Bucks before going on the road.

Next. Suns' history of playing on Leap Day. dark

Let’s hope they can stop what seems like it could be the start of the downhill spiral many fans feared may have been inevitable.