I think it is fair to say for even the most optimistic and sunny of Suns fans that this has been a frustrating season. Until I can get the perspective of Al McCoy, I am not prepared to call it the most frustrating ever, but it has to rank up there.
Within this season of frustration, several specific games stand out. Certainly the last two are fresh in our mind with Saturday's failure to show up, followed by what appeared to be a legendary come-back only to be devastated by a final seconds collapse. Sunday as it often is, was spent in hangover from Saturday night.
There were other games though going back to early in the season that also stand out as sign-posts on the road to the lottery.
Read the next page for descriptions of the candidates
November 12th. Suns vs Rockets. This was the game of the mini-brawl that resulted in Barnes and Nash being suspended. At the time the team was 6-2. After this loss the Suns went on a stretch losing 8 out of the next 15 culminating in the Bell and Diaw for JRich and Dudley trade.
Most notable in this game though was Amare taking off the goggles and the start of his less then stellar play.
In the first 8 games Amare was on a rampage averaging 24.6 pts, 8.4 reb, 2.5 ast, 1.1 st and 1.1 blks and was extremely active on both ends of the floor. He had the best game of his career in Indiana and was on track to be in the MVP conversation.
After this game and for the rest of his season he averaged 20.8 pts, 8.1 reb, 1 ast, .5 st, and .9 blks and was very close to being traded in a deal described by the Suns front office as "addition by subtraction".
December 3rd and 4th in New Orleans and Dallas. The 11 and 7 Suns went into these two games and bottomed out. They played the worst brand of basketball possible. The effort was non-existent and the team at that point was completely demoralized.
Days later the Bell, Diaw, JRich and Dudley trade was made.
December 25th. Suns vs Spurs. Going into this game the Suns were revitalized after the trade and playing well. They had won 5 of the past 7 games and were pumped for the opportunity to play the Spurs as home on Christmas day. The Suns played well and had the game in the bag until Roger Mason Jr.'s buzzer beater stole Christmas.
This was one of several last seconds collapses on the season but without a doubt the most painful given the opponent and the national attention of playing on Christmas.
January 16th. Suns vs Timberwolves. The Suns had played the night before and lost an over time game in Denver. The Wolves were playing well at that point but were still only an 11-26 team. This home loss before a long road trip seemed to have lasting effects.
The Suns went on to lose in Boston, New York and Charlotte in embarrassing fashion and then came back from the road trip having salvaged .500 only to lose again to the Spurs and Bulls at home. By the time this stretch was over, the Suns had their first losing record for a month in 5 yrs.
Planet Orange went into February with all the talk centering around trading Amare or Shaq and ended up with firing Coach Porter.
March 10th. Suns vs Dallas. The Gentry era Suns returned from a 0-4 road trip in 9th place in the West and 4 games back. The match up with the Mavs gave the Suns the opportunity to cut the lead to 3 and rebound from the road trip for the final stretch. Instead, the Suns lost the game on the defensive end of the floor and went on to lose the next game at home to Cleveland as well.
Winning this game which Grant Hill described as the team's Super Bowl would have changed the complexion of the race.