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Phoenix Suns Start Fast, Fade Faster, Fight Back, Fall Short: 96-99 to the Toronto Raptors

It was such a promising start. The Phoenix Suns had a 14-point lead against a road-weary team that had lost 8 consecutive games in the NBA and 14 consecutive games to the Suns since 2004.

Sounds good, right? Wrong. The Suns suddenly decided they were tired. Tired from a 5-game road trip that ended less than 24 hours earlier. Tired from playing against tough teams in the Eastern Conference on their turf. Tired from ending the trip against a tough Dallas team with Shawn Marion hitting big 3s.

The Suns made a late charge, pulling within 2 points with 22 seconds left, but it wasn't quite enough after the horrible second and third quarters. With Frye and Morris playing terribly, and Lopez ejected, the Suns had to play Hakim Warrick and Grant Hill at the 4 throughout the run. Not a good combination down low, no matter how lame the Raptors rebounding is.

At the end, the Suns just didn't have the juice, losing 99-96. At home. Against a bad team. Ugh.

Read on, if you have an ounce of nostalgia in your soul...

For the Raptors, their big producers were Andrea Bargnani (36 points, 6 rebounds, and a big hit on Grant Hill to knock him out of the game) and Leandro Barbosa (19 points including 3 big 3-pointers to cut the first-half deficit, 2 rebounds, a steal and a block).

LB after the game, on Suns Live, saying what he misses the most about Phoenix:

(after a long pause) "The fans was really great for me, man. The fans was unbelievable, and I miss that. It was 7 years here, and 7 great years for me in my life and my career and I can't forget about that. And definitely my teammates, and the organization too that helped me, you know, to be where I am right now, so I... I miss... I miss a lot in Phoenix." (LB looked like he was about to choke up at this point as Mark McClune wrapped it up and wished him well with his new teammates)

Sniff...(grabs kleenex)...(checks the internets to confirm, yes, Barbosa is an unrestricted free agent this summer...)

Anyway, excuse me, I digress.

Back to the game recap!

This was a night for young legs, and the Suns' young guys failed to show up

  • Robin Lopez ejected after 4 minutes of play, with the Suns up 14 points.
  • Markieff Morris' 16 minutes produced only 1 rebound and 4 points
  • Shannon Brown's 16 minutes produced only 7 points and 0 rebounds or assists
  • Sebastian Telfair missed 4 of his 5 shots
How about the "kinda young" legs?
  • Dudley did NOTHING until the last 37 seconds, hitting his only shot to pull the Suns within 4
  • Frye did NOTHING with only 3 points and 3 rebounds all night
  • Hakim Warrick did okay on 17 points and 4 rebounds. But the Suns played poor defense with him on the court
So who did well? The OLD guy, of course
  • Steve Nash with nearly a triple-double - 17, 14 and 7 rebounds
Gentry had this to say about Lopez' ejection:

Robin Lopez Ejected For Bumping Ref; Suns Not Offering Extension - SB Nation Arizona
Instead of backing Lopez or giving a neutral response when asked what happened during the game, Gentry said: "I don't know. I don't really give a shit to tell the truth. You have to talk to him about that."

Those were not the words of a supportive coach. Lopez was unavailable to the media after the game.

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