The Suns bench "The Chuck Wagon" are all in to start the second quarter. Brian Roberts hits a three for the Hornets and the Suns miss and then turn the ball over. Can't start playing sloppy now...big first quarter leads are fools gold. Suns turn the ball over again and then Gerald Green fouls Lance Stephenson on the break to send him to the line. Suns slowly letting them back in. The drought for the Suns continues, as the Suns miss shots and the Hornets keep getting to the line.
Finally, the Suns stopped the bleeding with an excellent defensive possession by none other than Gerald Green on Lance Stephenson that led to a dunk by Len at the other end. Dragic came back in for Green and immediately got a fast-break layup. Suns are doing just enough to stay ahead, but the Hornets are keeping them within arms reach now.
Suns getting some good looks, but not making them with the same regularity as in the first quarter. Hydra time! Bledsoe makes one of the best, most aggressive moves to get to the hoop I have ever seen from him, and gets the and-one. Then hits another shot on the next possession. Suns showing a bit more life again now, can they keep it up through the rest of the quarter? Suns miss a couple of shots and then foul Kemba Walker for the and-one. Suns only up two again. They then give up the dunk to Cody Zeller on the other end to tie the game at the half.
At the end of the first half, the Suns are tied with the Hornets 47-47. Markieff is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 10 points, 3 rebounds. For the Hornets, Lance Stephenson leads with 9 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds. The Suns are shooting 41.9% from the field now, vs. 36.2% for Charlotte.
The Hornets get the first basket of the third quarter to briefly take the lead for the first time in the game. Plumlee answers back with a basket for the Suns, but them Williams gets a jumper off the glass. Both teams going back and forth again...Suns need some stops and some transition baskets.
Charlotte continues to push and they are starting to get better looks. Suns now falling behind early in the third quarter with sloppy play leading to easy baskets off of misses and turnovers. Hairston draws a foul on a three point make, which he converts for a four-point shot...Things are starting to look glum for the Suns. They need to increase their defensive intensity once again and get out in transition and run!
The Suns are starting to make some shots again, but things still not improving enough for Phoenix right now. The Hornets have the confidence that they can win this game, and Phoenix can't seem to repeat their same energy that they had in the first quarter. Then Stephenson and Bledsoe get called for double-technicals...Lance is going at it with Eric here, but maybe that's what the Suns need to get them fired back up? Just like that, Bledsoe hits a three, and then another a couple of possessions later. Suns are indeed getting fired back up...Thanks, Lance!
Unfortunately, the Suns couldn't pull too far ahead, even though they did at least re-establish their lead, but just barely. The refs made some bad calls, and the Hornets made some timely shots to stay right there.
At the end of the third quarter, the Suns lead the Hornets 75-74. Eric Bledsoe is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. For the Hornets, Kemba Walker leads with 15 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. The Suns are shooting 44.6% from the field now, vs. 39.4% for Charlotte.
The Hornets get the first basket of the fourth quarter, with a three point shot by Gerald Henderson. Charlotte is back up by two. Len gets fouled and hits both shots to tie the game again for Phoenix, but Gary Neal drains a fall-away jumper on the other end. Both teams going back and forth again...Suns really need some stops here.
That isn't happening though, and the Hornets keep scoring. The Suns are down three with 9 minutes to go in the game. They need someone else to step up and take over other than just Bledsoe. Normally this is when Green gets hot...but he just doesn't have it tonight. Suns still not getting much production from anyone except Bledsoe, who is flirting with a triple-double and would probably have one if the other players were making their shots. Goran Dragic checks in mid-way through the quarter, but Suns continue falling apart with no answer. They are now down 10.
The Dragon enters the game and starts controlling the ball more on offense. The defense tightens up a bit and Goran scores on one of his patented one-man-fast-breaks. The Suns have hope again, but are still down six with four minutes to go. Markieff scores on a beautiful looping baby-hook. Goran attempts another fast-break lay-up but Cody Zeller takes a charge, even though he wasn't set...those have been the breaks tonight.
Phoenix is still down six after Zeller scores on an offensive rebound at the rim. It's not looking good.
This is a bad loss, no matter how you slice it. Charlotte is a team the Suns should have beaten, especially at home, but they fell apart in the second quarter and just never re-established their play from the first quarter when they opened up a 14-point lead on the Hornets. Phoenix now goes on a six game road trip starting tomorrow against the L.A. Clippers...they needed this one, and let it slip away.