The Phoenix Suns dropped to 2-2 on the young season on Tuesday night in heartbreaking fashion, going down 115-114 at home to the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns having the lead for all but 2.4 seconds of the game, when they lost to Keldon Johnson’s late, late make.
Kevin Durant was fantastic in the game, and in the first half especially had several moments on both ends where he schooled Victor Wembanyama. Give the Spurs rookie some credit though, this was a contest he grew into.
The NBA has now released it’s last two-minutes report from the contest, and has rubbed salt in the wounds of what was a terrible way for the Suns to lose.
Johnson stripped the ball from the Durant after the ball was inbounded to him after a Wembanyama dunk to get it to within one for the Spurs with just over six seconds to go. The league going with the call that was made on the court at the time, which was that this was not a foul on Durant.
Now… we’ve seen fouls called for a lot less in this league. Even more so when a star like Durant is involved. For those watching at home, once a shellshocked Durant got back to the bench with just over a second left to play, it was clear he was also bleeding from the strip by Johnson.
It is a shame that the game had to end this way, as Durant had had several highlight plays against the Spurs, and Wembanyama, in the lead up to this moment. Photographers in attendance likely had a field day, as there were several highlights like the below to capture throughout the night.
Both Grayson Allen and Josh Okogie were also excellent, and throughout the first half the Suns were coasting. So much so that TNT were able to get Devin Booker on the broadcast in the second-quarter to give a positive update on his injury status ahead of a return game against the Suns on Thursday.
Many felt that the league would at least concede that the Suns had been hard done by with the on court decision at the end of the game. Instead, they doubled-down on the call made by the officials in charge of the game that the contact from Johnson was deemed “incidental” in the moment.
The Suns will get a chance to put things right – and quickly – when the Spurs come back to Footprint Center on Thursday. But with a franchise like the Denver Nuggets already 4-0, and James Harden a newly minted L.A. Clipper (not that the Suns care), every win the Suns collect during the regular season will be valuable.
They have been getting some vintage Durant early in the campaign, and really they should be picking up wins against the rebuilding Suns. Rookie phenom or not. Booker and Bradley Beal (yet to make his debut for the team) cannot come back quick enough, but 2-2 feels like a harsh record for a roster that has looked impressive on both ends early in the season.
Hopefully in the near future the organization can get the rub of the green, and have a call like the one Johnson and the Spurs got to go their way. Until then this is going to sting, and the NBA’s last two-minute report did nothing to quell the feeling of being hard done by having led the game from pillar to (almost) post.