Last night, the Phoenix Suns suffered a very disappointing home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, on the last of a five-game home-stand, before hitting the road for the next six games...starting tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.
It's sort of ironic, in a way, that the Suns finally did many of the things that fans and commentators have been harping about over the past few games on the same night. Did Phoenix have a fast start to the game? Yes. Did the starters come out engaged and outplay the bench? Yes. So, did the Suns win? Ummm...Oops.
Of course this isn't to say that fast starts and an inspired first-unit are this team's downfall, but it just goes to show that once you think you have everything figured out, here comes the monkey-wrench.
The players were noticeably somber after the game tonight...it's such a different atmosphere in the locker room compared to after a win. But that's to be expected, and it definitely isn't a bad thing...you certainly wouldn't want them to be cheery after a bad loss at home.
At any rate, Bright Side of the Sun's super-star cameraman, Evan Wendt, and I caught up with Suns' coach Jeff Hornacek and a few of the players in the locker room after tonight's game to see if they had any answers for what happened, or what went wrong. Here's what they had to say about it:
Coach and Player Interviews:
Hornacek didn't seem to have a lot of answers for what happened tonight. He seemed to think the Suns lost the game based on poor perimeter defense, which is certainly part of it. However, the Suns failed to break the century mark offensively, and they just were'nt able to hit a lot of the shots they normally make.
Dragic gave a bit of honest insight into why their seems to be a different head of the Hydra that has the hot hand every night, "There's only one ball". Of course, this doesn't explain why the bench struggled tonight, but he's right, in that you have to anticipate that players will have on and off nights, and the point is to find, and get the ball in the hot hand and get enough stops defensively. Tonight, they couldn't seem to do either
Eric talked about the Hornets getting more physical as they gained confidence when they started getting back in the game. He acknowledged that the Hornets made some great plays tonight, which they certainly did, even when the Suns did their job defensively.
Miles gave an honest response about the tendency to relax once you start to open up a lead on a team, which is normal, and it is also the very same reason why I don't trust or feel comfortable with big first quarter leads. The Suns almost seem better prepared to fall behind and come back in a game than they do to establish a big lead and grow it. When Phoenix loses their intensity and hunger, they become very beatable.
Onto the Next...
Regardless of how bad of a loss that game was for the Suns, they have to put it behind them now and move onto the next one. They now face a rested Clippers team on the road tonight, but maybe Phoenix can play the same role against the Clippers that the Hornets did against the Suns last night? After all, it only takes one good win to counteract one bad loss...here's hoping they can even the score.