On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns walked off the floor with confetti raining down over and a roaring crowd behind them—but for all the wrong reasons. They just lost their fourth straight game, and consequently the NBA Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks following a Game 6 bruiser at Fiserv Forum 105-98.
Crowned NBA Finals MVP minutes later, Giannis Antetokounmpo tore into Phoenix’s defense with 50 points, the sixth highest scoring output in Finals history. The Suns battled back after a slow first quarter which saw them score just 16 points to even carry a 47-42 lead into halftime. But the Greek Freak came out firing to start the second half, and although the Suns kept pace until the finish, they never gathered any real momentum.
It brought an unceremonious end to arguably the greatest season ever put out by a Phoenix Suns team, naturally leaving all those aboard for it quite shaken up after the contest. Monty Williams, Phoenix’s fearless leader who earned league-wide recognition for helping turn the franchise around this year, even struggled to stomach the loss postgame.
Devin Booker joined his coach in grieving, noting the unfamiliar pain which the loss forced him to experience. Booker struggled during the contest, scoring only 19 points while shooting 8-22 from the field.
Overall though, the sixth-year guard often compared to Kobe Bryant still played exceptionally during the series, averaging 28.2 points per game. But that likely only made tonight’s loss that much more heartbreaking—to know that in the end, it essentially meant nothing.
Now the Suns go back to the drawing board. Phoenix big man Deandre Ayton already appears ready to do so, having reportedly approached Booker after the game and reassured him that “this is just the beginning.”
Although Chris Paul‘s status with the Suns remains undetermined at this time, as he now holds onto a player option allowing him to become a free-agent this summer, he still sounded quite committed as well. He did not mention anything about his stance with the Suns, but did state how he has no plans to retire, despite his age at 36 years old.
Anytime you miss out an a chance to achieve a life-long dream, such as raising a championship banner with your name on it, agony and despair of course creep in shortly after. This reaction from the Suns makes sense, and is likely shared amongst many Phoenix’s fans spread out across the world tonight.
The Suns’s saddening defeat though failed to keep them from still maintaining their class. Although they fell to the Bucks, they never fell from their pedestal as a world-class organization. Amidst their celebration, Coach Williams actually visited Milwaukee’s locker room and congratulated them on their victory.
But still, this goes down as a tough pill to swallow, or a bad scar feeling impossible to cover up. Whatever you want to call it, it absolutely hurts. The Suns will be back, but who knows what they might look like, and what they might achieve.
For now though, they can only tip their hats to the Bucks, and retreat into the offseason…