During this game, The Phoenix Suns were victims of a severe case of Amnesia. They forgot to not underestimate an opponent. They forgot that they need to earn every win. They forgot to do the little things that have led them to have a good record to start the season. They forgot that they still have a lot to prove.
The Suns went to New Orleans with a 10-2 record, tied for the best record in the NBA with The Atlanta Hawks and had a chance to improve to 11-2 facing a young team without their best player. Most of us thought this game was going to be easy for The Suns. There's nothing wrong with that. We are fans and after comparing their team to ours you can say it was a logical and educated guess. But Basketball is a crazy game and unlike fans...professional players can't afford to think like that. You actually have to play and earn it, because regardless of who you're facing, this is the NBA and any team can beat you. Any team.
Back when I was in High school, we were playing in a Tournament Finals against a team who was clearly inferior to ours. So we showed up to the game feeling good about ourselves and thinking that it was going to be piece of cake. We were relaxed and some might even say that we were cocky at times.
And so the game started and everything was going their way. Shots were raining, three point plays, fast breaks, steals. We couldn't by a bucket to save our lives but even under those circumstances we were thinking: "they can't stay this hot for a long time" or "our defense will get better" but none of those things happened and we ended up losing the game. We argued every single whistle that was called against us, our coach was thrown out of the gym and I fouled out of the game with still 10 minutes to play. My dad, who was watching from the bleachers, had to listen to me bitch about the refs on the way back home until he said the following:
"Jose, the refs didn't make you lose that game. You guys lost it. You didn't hustle, you didn't execute, and you didn't rebound the ball. It's like you were expecting them to suck at some point but it never happened. The fact that all of you, including your incompetent coach, were arguing calls throughout the whole game and blaming them for your misery just proves the fact that you are so arrogant that you can't even tell that you were beaten by the better team tonight and that it had nothing to do with the refs taking it away from you. Suck it up and learn from it"
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting the Suns were cocky tonight but it certainly looked like they were thinking (just like we did back then) "They can't stay this hot all night"
But they were wrong and just like me...they need to suck it up and learn from it.
That's enough of my stories. Let's talk hoops now.
The Hornets came out firing, hitting shots on 8 consecutive possessions. In the mean time the Suns were ice cold and missing from every corner on the floor. A 15-0 run by the Hornets extended the lead to 13 points and it was clear that the Suns weren't expecting the Hornets to play aggressively. They were caught off guard and didn't even seem to care.
Our shots started falling and they cooled down, we ended up the first quarter only down by 4. But for some reason it felt like more. I felt uneasy. The Suns were being out hustled and were getting beaten on the boards. The classic formula for basketball failure.
New Phoenix favorite, Jared Dudley, came into the game and you can tell that he's able to jump start the team as soon as he steps on the floor. As soon as he came in he had a steal, made a three point shot and suddenly the Suns had taken the lead. The bad news is that we were still getting beat on the boards and The Hornets were taking advantage of those second opportunities. As a result New Orleans took control of the game once again and the score at half time was 52-49. Suns down by 3.
It was clear that Nash wanted to get involved so he started shooting early in the third quarter. He went on a tear for a couple of minutes but once again his great plays and shots were overshadowed by the team's horrible perimeter defense. It was like every time The Suns were leading or getting close...Bam! The Hornets would hit a three point shot. They shot 52% from behind the arc (13-25) and two of those thirteen sank The Suns for good.
It was a close game in the final minutes of the 4th Quarter and unlike other games our super fourth quarter clutch defense was nowhere to be found. The Suns had an opportunity to close this one out but missed easy shots like Hill blowing a bunny under the basket.
Reasons why The Suns lost:
- Horrible Perimeter Defense: The Hornets had a very good shooting game, especially from behind the arc. Phoenix did not make an adjustment all night, always just a second late to guard the three point shooter.
- Hornets had good transition defense: The Suns attempted to run several times, only to find themselves stopping to wait for more purple jerseys. The Hornets did a great job all night staying in front of Nash.
- Free throw shooting continues to be an issue: They need to clean this up. It's unacceptable. They shot 73% as a team (16-22) which is not that bad on paper but take a look at when they missed these free throws.
- Channing Frye: He went 4-15 from the field and 1-7 from three point land. I believe this is his worst shooting night as a Sun. I understand he has been great for us but at some point you have to realize that this is not your night. Nash should have noticed also. There were several plays where Nash decided to go to Frye instead of someone else. We were getting killed on the boards and this was the perfect opportunity for Gentry to put a guy like Lou on the game so he could get you more rebounds. But that's just my opinion.
- Slow Start: It's getting to a point where it has become annoying. The Suns can't afford to grind it out every game. They can't afford to come from behind every game. It requires a lot of energy to do that. Save that for the playoffs. They need to try to start the games on top and play with intensity since the tip off.
- Peja Stojakovic: He was on fire all night, hitting 7 three pointers including one that was big for them in the clutch. He scored 25 points and had 13 rebounds.
- It's Thursday and the game was on TNT: is it Charles Barkley? Is it me? I usually recap TNT games so who knows? Truth is that The Suns have lost their last 15 games that have been broadcasted in this TV network. I guess we can say that there is a curse.
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. This type of games are necessary so we can improve. So we move on and live to play another day.
Maybe having Amnesia is not such a bad thing after all...
- At The Hive
- Suns vs Hornets boxscore
azcentral.com - members
The Suns were due a stinker and this one was not even rancid. Losing to New Orleans without Chris Paul is no bouquet but it was on the road and they had gone 12 games without a bad loss during a road-heavy schedule.
SUNS: Postgame Quotes: Suns vs Hornets, 09/11/19
They played great. They did what they had to do. They scrapped and they got their confidence going early and got the crowd into it. Give them credit. We knew they were going to be a tough team tonight without (Chris) Paul, without Hilton (Armstrong) and West was struggling, but they made plays for each other. We just didn’t play good. We weren’t focused. Shots aren’t going to fall all the time. We just have to keep them off the glass.
The Official Phoenix Suns Blog » Blog Archive » Newsroom Notes: Suns @ Hornets
The Streak Continues The Suns loss to New Orleans on Thursday night was the 16th straight time they’ve lost a game on TNT. Concerned fans around Phoenix are offering up theories ranging from Charles Barkley to painted goats but the Suns have yet to break the spell. They have four more TNT games this season with their next chance at a win coming December 17th in Portland.
New Orleans Hornets have top showing of season vs. Phoenix Suns | New Orleans and Louisiana Sports - - NOLA.com
I'm not exactly sure who were those guys wearing Hornets uniforms Thursday night or where they came from, but they're welcome to play inside the New Orleans Arena any time.
Bickley: Gentry winning games and hearts
All the Suns wanted from D'Antoni was a deeper bench and a more forceful approach to practice. Gentry has delivered where the former coach could not, and now D'Antoni is struggling with the Knicks, having won twice this season and just once in the past 18 days.... "I don't know anybody that doesn't like Alvin," NBA analyst Doug Collins said. "But he has a quiet toughness about him that people don't see because he doesn't wear it on his sleeve. But when it's time to get tough, he gets tough. And this year, the Suns have been tough in the fourth quarter, when it really matters. That doesn't happen by accident."