It looked like the Suns were going to control this game early when they went up 8-0 in the first few minutes and then were up 13-4 soon after that. Unfortunately for the Suns, they actually had to play the entire game instead of just the first few minutes of each quarter.
Sure, Nash was out. But against the Hawks, I'm not quite sure that is an excuse when you're playing the Hawks. After this game, I tried to think about where the Suns tripped. I think it came down to three things:
- Offensive rebounds: The Hawks had 14 offensive rebounds to the Suns' 7. When a team doubles you up on offensive rebounds, it's only because they wanted the game more than you did. I can't think of another reason unless they're all a foot taller than anyone on your team.
- Missed Free Throws: Free throws can make or break a game. The Suns lost by 9. They missed 9 free throws. Coincidence? Even if they would have made 4 more of those 9 missed free throws, they could have played the game different at the end of the game.
- Mental errors: When a team isn't on top of their game, it usually shows in mental errors. There were a lot of silly turnovers that didn't need to happen. Amare and Shawn going for the same rebound and knocking it out of bounds. Pat Burke throwing a very lazy pass that ended up in a turnover. Several other lazy passes from Barbosa and Banks that nearly ended up in turnovers.
Boris Diaw also hurt his back and the Suns do not do well when both Steve and Boris are out of the game. But this wasn't one of the top Western Conference powerhouses! It was the Hawks! Even with Boris and Nash both sitting, the Suns should have won.
I keep looking at the box score trying to figure out how the Suns lost this game. I just can't see any one person who messed it up for the Suns. The team just didn't play as it should. Maybe they thought they could just come out and the Hawks would roll over? Maybe they thought the home crowd would pull them through at the end of the game? Maybe they're just bored with playing and are waiting for the All-Star game?
Who knows? But if I were the Bulls, I'd be a little nervous about playing the Suns on Sunday. Steve Nash should be back but Boris may not play because of a tweaked back.
What do you think of the game? Is there something I'm missing on why we lost this game?