Phoenix Suns: How Two Games Were Lost in Two Minutes

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

The final two minutes of both NBA Finals Games 4 and 5 have not treated the Phoenix Suns kindly, ending in heartbreaking losses keeping many of us up at night.

There have been questionable fouls called, missed opportunities, and a sense of panic for the Suns during their final sequences of their last two contests against the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee seemed to have lady luck on their sideline during these crucial closing moments as well, as if they need more than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday.

The Suns, however, have not been so fortunate. Holiday’s steal on Devin Booker in the final seconds of Game 5 could be argued as a foul, and Chris Paul just happened to slip at the worst time possible—turning the ball over in the finals seconds of Game 4. Those two plays are perfect examples of what “unlucky” is.

The final two minutes in any tightly contested NBA game become the most important time for players to show up. But there is a lot outside that which goes into successfully finishing out those last two minutes on the winning side, such as clock management, efficient offensive possessions, defensive stops, and of course—some luck.

For the most part this whole season, the Suns have been successful in each of these departments. However, there have been a few instances that have truly hurt them in the end, such as these last two NBA Finals contests. This is obviously easier said than done, but the Suns have to clean up their play in the clutch, just in case Game 6 follows its predecessors and goes down to the wire as well.

Phoenix Suns Lose Game 4: A Dreadful Offensive Drought

In the final two minutes of Game 4, the Suns were outscored 10-4 after tying things up, resulting in a 109-103 loss. The only two players to make a shot in the final two minutes were Booker and Paul.

That being said, more players have to be involved and aggressive on the offensive end for the Suns and take pressure away from Booker and Paul. Their supporting cast unfortunately has just shied away from the big moments of late.

Phoenix even went 2-6 from the field while Milwaukee went 2-4, and knocked down all six of their free throws. The Suns had opportunities to tie and even regain a lead, but their shot selection was ugly, and they failed to crash the glass.

There was a shot from Booker with 1:42 left on the clock which he seemed to rush, as he committed to an awkward floater rather than his normal fading jumper. Staying composed and selecting shot choices wisely is the key here, and what Phoenix needs to do next time around.

Poor shot selection will instead lead to a scoring drought as Phoenix saw.

In regard to rebounding, there were far more Milwaukee players going in for a rebound on each shot attempt than Phoenix players. The young, lengthy players like Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton have to do a better job at glass eating in such crucial moments.

As far as luck goes, Paul was unlucky when turning the ball over in the final seconds. It just so happened that he slipped, and lost the ball on a possession that could have changed the game’s entire outcome of Game 4. You just need to lick your wounds here, and move on.

Phoenix Suns Game 5 Loss: A Whistle Changes the Game

Despite another magnificent 40-point performance from Booker, the Suns still could not pull out a victory as they fell 123-119 in their next contest. Much like Game 4, Booker and Paul were the only two Suns to score in the final two minutes of Game 5.

Some of Booker’s shots could have maybe gone to an open man, but he was absolutely on fire and showed he was going to carry Phoenix in crunch time.

As the Suns trailed by six points with roughly two minutes to go, Booker knocked down a triple to cut the deficit in half. Paul then finished a drive to the hoop shortly after, and Phoenix only trailed by one at that point. Then, the unfortunate events happened.

There honestly is not much else the Suns could have done better. The game came down to Booker’s turnover, that may have been a foul on Holiday, which would have completely changed the outcome of the game considering how the Suns were behind just one point and held all the momentum.

Rewatch the replay of Holiday’s steal and decide for yourself whether it was a foul or not.

Phoenix Suns: Crunch Time Conclusion

Head Coach Monty Williams has most likely been picking apart the last two minutes of Games 4 and 5 to prepare his team for Tuesday night’s bout. A lot of the blame has not directly fallen on a specific individual for the Suns though. It honestly has just been a sequence of tough events.

With these last two games playing out so closely, there truly is a good chance Game 6 will come down to the last two minutes as well. To sum up, the Suns will just need to do the following to preserve their season.

1.) Crash the glass. All five bodies should be looking for a rebound on both sides of the floor, especially in the final two minutes.

2.) Take good shots. The Suns have to stay composed and stick to what has worked best for them: moving the ball and finding the open man. Booker is the go-to guy in crunch time, but as we saw, Bucks players swarm him anytime he holds the rock. He needs to find his teammates more often.

3.) A little bit of luck always helps. This is something Phoenix just has to hope for. Whether it is having the whistle go your way, or getting a friendly roll on a shot—luck plays a big factor at the end of games.

Next. NBA Finals Players Needing to Step Up. dark

If they check these three boxes, they can hold off Milwaukee’s confetti shower. Choking away a third straight game would certainly be a tough pill to swallow, let’s hope it does not come to that.