The Suns lost to the Pelicans at home on a truly black Friday, 115-91,to move to 7-13 on the season.
Both teams looked out of sync offensively to start the night, as the Suns struggled to get anything going in the halfcourt and the Pelicans failed to score in transition despite aggressively running the floor. New Orleans found the first advantage when they were able to draw a second foul on Greg Monroe just five minutes into the game.
That meant more of the legendary Alex Len- Tyson Chandler pairing, unseen basically since the end of the 2015-16 season. The Pelicans went on a 10-2 run as soon as Len joined Chandler in the frontcourt.
Things continued to go the Pelicans’ way, until Josh Jackson checked in. A game that lacked energy to that point suddenly energized Talking Stick Resort Arena. Still, the Suns ended the quarter down 10.
The Suns did not play well to open this one. When the Pelicans’ bigs are playing well, they have overwhelming control of the rhythm of games. By making their threes and winning the rebounding battle, the Pelicans controlled this game early on.
The lead ballooned to 19 before coach Jay Triano called his third timeout of the game with nine minutes left in the half.
It would not fall below 20 for the rest of the half, regardless of who Triano put in the game: Monroe, Chandler, Jackson, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley, Mike James. The entire rotation came and went without an answer for the Pelicans’ offense.
By halftime, the Suns were down 30. To offense ground to a halt and TJ Warren was assessed a technical after a no-call that particularly bothered him. At this point it was just a matter of whether the Suns might break their season record for biggest loss (48 against Portland on opening night).
Turnovers, missed jump shots and blown defensive rotations. New Orleans wasn’t even trying anything extraordinary — it was simply poor effort and execution by the Suns. The players began to get frustrated, but even playing angry didn’t help.
For most of the third, the focus became whether or not the lead was above or below 30 points. It wasn’t quite as ugly as the first three games of the season, but it was closer to that stretch then any game since then.
The final period was a great opportunity for the Pelicans to give their tenth, eleventh and twelfth men some floor time, while the Suns kept Booker and Warren in.
For some reason, a 30-point blowout was not enough to allow Derrick Jones Jr. an opportunity to play for the NBA team after his back-and-forth between here and Prescott Valley all year. Regardless, the fact that I was even paying attention to that shows you how out of hand the game became.