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Final Score: Suns lose ugly game, 98-92

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The Phoenix Suns could not get any home energy, lose a lackluster game to Nets 98-92.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets came into the season predicted to post two of the worst records in the league this season.

Monday’s game could be used as evidence in a trial to convict them of those charges.

After taking an early 14-10 lead, the Suns surrendered a 17-2 Nets run, followed by a 14-1 Suns run to pull back into the game. But then the Suns just could not put together any sustained runs and the Nets did just enough to keep the lead most of the rest of the game.

The Suns briefly took a 75-74 lead but then surrendered an 8-2 Nets run to lose control again.

The Suns kept trying to pull back into it, but couldn’t get closer than four. A moving screen. A barely missed three. And chuck of a three.

Then Booker fouled out with 2:37 to go and the Suns down 6.

This just wasn’t the Suns night. They couldn’t shoot straight, and all it took was the Nets making a few good plays down the stretch and it was over.

D’Angelo Russell quietly had a good night, with 22 points on 13 shots to go along with 9 assists.

Devin Booker had only 18 points and 1 assist before fouling out.

T.J. Warren did start looking more like himself in the second half, finishing with 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Alex Len had 7 points and 14 rebounds, but did not see the floor again before again after collecting his fourth foul early in the 4th quarter. Tyson Chandler played out the final 9+ minutes but was not as effective.

Bad uninspired loss for the Suns here. They just didn’t have anything in the tank.

Nets win 98-92.

Starters

Same as usual for the Suns: Booker, Chriss, Warren, Chandler and Mike James

Nets are a bit different this week: DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov, Alan Crabbe and D’Angelo Russell

First half

It took Devin Booker a grand total of 4 minutes to score 7 points and finish off his first 3,000 (and one) for his career. He’s the 4th youngest ever to reach 3,000 points. Only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and... oh yeah, that guy LeBron James. Andrew Wiggins WAS the 4th youngest until Devin Booker took it from him.

Otherwise, both teams were wasting a lot of scoring chances early. Just not shooting it well, combining for only 30% FGs in the first half of the opening quarter.

The game was ugly. The Nets went on a 17-2 run. Then the Suns soon answered with a 14-1 run. But really you could say the Suns went on a 2-17 run, followed the Nets saying “hold my beer” and allowing a 1-14 run.

The Suns were down to 20% shooting for the game when Allen Crabbe hit a three to put the Nets up 34-19.

Loudest cheer of the night came when Jared Dudley popped his cherry first three of the season in the second quarter. Huge cheers. Nostalgia? Maybe.

Somehow, just the presence of Duds got the Suns off the mat. Maybe it was the energy the crowd showed on his shot. Maybe it was just time - I mean, you can’t shoot 20% for a WHOLE game right?

The Suns went on a 14-1 run themselves to pull back with two.

Now we got a game.

T.J. Warren had a chance, with two free throws, to give the Suns a lead, but he missed both and Joe Harris made his third three to give the Nets a 4-point lead back.

Alex Len couldn’t make a shot, but he drew fouls and grabbed boards like a monster, helping keep the Suns in the game.

The Suns just could not find a way to take the lead, and went into the half down 6 points. Devin Booker scored 14 of the Suns’ 41 points.

Second half

The Suns came out slow to start the second half too, and had to put together a pair of fast break finishes just to force a Nets timeout after they’d built a short-lived 10-point lead.

The Suns just could not get out of their own way. Several times they again pulled to within 2-3 points of the Nets, only to miss really makable shots. Even Josh Jackson missed an uncontested dunk.

Thank heaven for Tyler Ulis, who suddenly remembered how to make shots. Ulis made 4 baskets for 9 points late in the third to help keep the Suns at only 4 down to the equally frustrated Nets.

72-68 Nets leading Suns.

Josh Jackson kicked off the fourth quarter with consecutive drives into the lane, only to get blocked by Tyler Zeller. Tyler. Zeller. And then Zeller made a dunk at the other end, and the lead was back to 6.

Alex Len did not make his first field goal until 10:14 left in the 4th quarter, but he was a driving force behind the Suns ability to stay in the game. By that time, Len had 14 rebounds and had drawn approximately 2,342 fouls from the Nets.

On his first field goal, a wild driving score into Mozgov’s stationary form, he drew Mozgov’s 6th foul, and 5th Nets team foul in less than 2 minutes. The Suns would be on the free throw line the rest of the night.

A moment later, a breakaway steal and dunk by Josh Jackson made everyone feel better as the Suns somehow had pulled to within 1. Not the lead yet, but it sure felt like it lol.

Dudley put the Suns ahead with a cut to the basket and score.

SUNS HAVE THE LEAD for the first time since 14-12 in the first quarter.

75-74 Suns.

But the good times were short-lived, as the Suns committed three fouls on the next Nets possession and they finally took the lead back. A breakaway on the next possession got it back to three for the Nets.

smh

Let’s see if the Suns can finally break through.

Welp. It got to an 8-2 run real quick. Then the Nets got it to 90-84 with five minutes left, riding D’Angelo Russell’s mid-range game as he drove to the same spot on the floor on something like three consecutive possessions.