The players had little interest in getting the media session started. P.J. Tucker was the first out of the shower but took an inordinately long time to put on his shoes. No one else who played in the game even moved that fast to get ready for interviews.
"It was like a roller coaster ride the whole game all the way through with two overtimes," forward P.J. Tucker, who had 15 points and 7 rebounds, said in the locker room. "At some point we had to get a couple stops and we didn't, some bad fouls, some bad defensive possessions, they finished...We got stagnant, we got real stagnant."
The Suns lost leads of 11 points (94-83 with 7 minutes left in regulation), seven points (106-99 with 4 minutes left in OT1) and four points (112-108 with 2 minutes left in OT2).
A year ago, we would have taken this game with shrug, happy the Suns showed so much fight and hoping they would grow into the type of team to win this game.
Now, it's a disaster.
The Phoenix Suns are getting pretty frustrated. Like you, they expect to win more games than they lose. They expect to roll out a killer back court that can run over the opposition, and a deep rotation that can outwork them.
But six games into the season, the 3-3 Suns (one putback short of 4-2) are now heavily into the disappointment range. Not only are they getting outrebounded, they are also getting outworked.
"Well, I don't know if we we're tired and out of shape or what," coach Hornacek said after the loss. "There was some talk that maybe we're not in the best of shape. Because these guys in the fourth quarter were walking it up, we were getting caught with the shot clock."
As has been his mantra since the day he tok the job, Hornacek has no empathy for young guys getting tired. He played a long 14-year NBA career as an under-athletic shooting guard who averaged 33+ minutes per game for 6 straight seasons and 30+ for 10 of them.
On Friday night, he rode his scuffling starters, substituting P.J. Tucker for a fouled-out Markieff Morris, for nearly all of the last five minutes of regular time plus both overtimes. Four Suns players had 40+ minutes, while Keef and Tucker had 30+. Meanwhile, high scorers Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green only played 17 and 13 minutes, respectively.
But those starters only scored 15 points in the last 17 minutes of game time and ended up on the short end of a thriller.
Hornacek would rather focus on the team's lack of execution than any notion of being tired.
"Well, you know, we move the ball well at times," he said. "We just hit the first open guy and then we get to the point where we have something in our heads already that we're going to do and we're not hitting the first open man. We'll show them the tape again, show them all those situations. But when you come off something and you got someone else stepping to you, the ball should be out of your hands. We hold it too much."
Eric Bledsoe put up 23 points with 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, but had critical turnovers late in the game to contribute to the Suns failures. They shot only 26% after the third quarter ended, and lost leads in regular time and both overtimes. Still, while Bledsoe had those turnovers, he scored 7 points and had 3 assists in that critical fourth + OTs and was the Suns leading point producer.
"They just did a great job of locking in and we didn't do a good job of executing," Bledsoe said in the locker room.
Goran Dragic, who put up his first 20+ point game and made his first three of the year, was quite disappointed in the outcome. He scored 20 points in the first three quarters, but then went 0-4 in the fourth quarter and overtimes (17 minutes of play for him).
It didn't help that the Suns best shooter early this season, Markieff Morris, fouled out late in regulation. His ability to make tough shots could have had a different result, considering the Suns missed shots at the end of each regulation and overtime that could have won the game.
Isaiah Thomas, who played only 17 minutes and wasn't himself in those minutes, declined post game interviews. He lost this great grandfather on Thursday and did not rejoin the team until late afternoon on Friday. When he was in the game, he wasn't really "in the game".
Still, his presence in overtime might have helped what was otherwise a tired squad. Hornacek is still feeling out the team, the players, the rotations. He's going to need more time to find the right combos.