In what has become a disturbing trend, the Suns were once again winning in the 4th quarter, but completely collapsed, and allowed Portland to beat them.
There's no doubt about it, this wasn't a pretty game for the Suns.
The Suns most dynamic players, guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, have been the team's most consistent performers this season by far.
Both are averaging over 20 points per game, and both have switched being lead scorers from one game to the next, while almost always hovering somewhere close to that 20 point per game mark.
But not tonight.
While Bledsoe hit the ground running and went ballistic throughout the course of the game, scoring 31 points, Brandon Knight never made it off the starting blocks...falling flat on his face and registering his worst scoring night in his career. Going 0-12 from the field and scoring only one point on a technical free-throw.
To Knight's credit, he did a great job of finding the open man, especially in the first quarter, where he registered eight of his ten assists, to go along with his five rebounds and two steals.
However, when one of the team's best players and arguably their most important offensive player can't hit a single shot from the field...it's going to be incredibly difficult to win. And the Suns found that out tonight.
Still, after the first three quarters, the Suns continued to grind it out, and managed to take an 82-78 lead going into the fourth quarter. Phoenix looked like they could still manage to out hustle and out-muscle the Blazers, especially with big men Jon Leuer and Alex Len (each with 13 points and 8 rebounds) having good games against the Portland front court.
But something strange happened. Neither Leuer nor Len scored a single point in the 4th quarter. In fact, they only played about four minutes each...which doesn't make much sense given the lack of scoring the Suns were getting from Brandon Knight, who still ended up playing 10 minutes in the quarter. Ronnie Price and T.J. Warren each got around six minutes each, and even Cory Jefferson played almost three minutes. Why wouldn't you play your productive big men instead?
The Suns scored only 14 points in the final quarter, while allowing the Blazers to score 28 with little resistance....Not exactly a winning formula.
Hind sight is 20-20, of course, and I can certainly understand Hornacek betting on Brandon Knight finally getting it going in the 4th quarter. After all, he did just that only a few games prior and suddenly errupted for over 20 points.
But tonight, it wasn't to be. And the Suns once again lost a winnable game to a team that they flat out should have, and could have beaten. Something has to change.
Not much from the players in the locker room last night, as most of them seemed to disappear before the media could get in there to ask them questions.
But here are the two players we were able to catch:
That's it for now, Suns fans.
Next game is on Sunday at home again versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. Let's all hope for a better result.