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Spurs outlast Suns 126-124 on buzzer beater by Rudy Gay

The pesky Phoenix Suns hung around all night, but the San Antonio Spurs made big plays to hold on late.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
Because of course that happened.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker tied a season-high with 38 points.

Jamal Crawford had a season-high 22 points.

Mikal Bridges had 17 points, making this the first time in his rookie season scoring 16 points or more in consecutive games, to go along with six rebounds, three assists and four steals while also playing the best defense on the team.

The Suns shot a season-high 60% from the field.

But they lost.

The Suns, playing without three starters, put forth one of their best efforts of the season.

And still lost.

The Spurs handed the Suns their league-worst 42nd loss of the season, but it definitely wasn’t one of their worst losses this season. Despite losing in heart-breaking fashion on a Rudy Gay jumper as the shot clock expired to give the Spurs the 126-124 win, the Suns acquitted themselves admirably.

The Suns might have lost tonight, but at least they don’t have anything to be embarrassed about.

Nothing at all.

Devin Booker kept the Suns from limping to another slow start, which has been a regular occurrence all season, by scoring 14 first quarter points.

The Suns were hot as a team, shooting 62% (13-21) and making five three pointers in the opening quarter. The score was knotted at 33, though, thanks to five turnovers for the Suns compared to zero for the Spurs.

LaMarcus Aldridge dropped a dozen in the first period to lead the Spurs.

The Suns started the second quarter with a lineup of Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre, Jamal Crawford, Emanuel Terry and Troy Daniels.

That’s right... Bridges/Oubre/Crawford/Terry/Daniels.

Although that lineup is partly a byproduct of injuries, it is still an indictment of another season gone awry. To their credit, Bridges, Oubre and Crawford did enough to keep the Suns in the game tonight.

Davis Bertans had the first Spurs turnover with 5:16 left in the second quarter. Bertans was doing just about everything else right, though, as he recorded four steals and made four three pointers in the first half.

Aldridge led all players with 20 first half points, while Booker had 18 to pace the Suns.

Despite shooting 59.5% in the first half the Suns trailed 70-67. The reason for the deficit, instead of holding a comfortable lead, was turnovers.

Phoenix had 10 first half turnovers which the Spurs converted into 15 points. The Spurs had just two turnovers and the Suns only managed one point off them.

This is just another example of why a young, inexperienced team like the Suns has problems winning against older, veteran teams. Talent aside, when Richaun Holmes (as an injury substitution) is the team’s veteran starter it doesn’t bode well for being the savviest team on the floor.

Phoenix kept pace with the Spurs in the third quarter until Holmes picked up his fourth foul with 4:57 left in the period. His departure coincided with a 14-2 spurt for the Spurs to break open a tie game and give them a 94-82 lead.

Booker, with 14 third quarter points, helped the Suns fight back and trim the Spurs lead to 96-91 at the end of the period.

Crawford, who had nine points in the final period, helped cut the lead all the way back to one early in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs regained a seven point lead, but the Suns were able to cut the lead to one again (106-105) on a three pointer from Bridges.

After a blocked shot by the Suns went out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left on the shot clock, Bryn Forbes was able to hit a three pointer from over 30 feet out as the clock expired. Forbes hit another three on the next possession to put the Spurs back up by five.

Holmes fouled out with 3:37 left in the game and the Suns were forced to go small. Oubre drew the defensive assignment on Aldridge, but didn’t back down. Swarming help from Crawford and Bridges helped keep Aldridge, who finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds, from abusing the mismatch.

The Suns cut the lead to one... again... on a ferocious dunk by Oubre with 58 second left in the game.

Then Bertans, who had missed five straight threes after starting off hot, nailed a dagger three as the shot clock expired to put the Spurs back up 124-120.

After Booker hit a jumper to pull within two points, Josh Jackson stole the Spurs inbounds pass and took it down the court for a dunk to tie the score at 124 with 19 second to play.

It was the first time the Suns had pulled even in the fourth quarter.

Then Rudy Gay isolated and hit a pull up 20 foot jumper as time expired.

Because of course he did.

That’s about the way things have gone this season.

This is a microcosm of what it means to be a Suns fan.

Even when things go good, they go bad.

Phoenix has now lost nine straight games.

The Suns loss, coupled with a win by the Cleveland Cavaliers, puts Phoenix dead last in the NBA at 11-42. The New York Knicks (10-39) are actually percentage points behind the Suns, but the Suns still trail them by a game.

The Suns have three days off before facing the Atlanta Hawks (16-33) at home on Saturday. A loss to the Hawks would match the team’s longest losing streak of the season at 10 games. The next five games after that are all against Western Conference teams playing at .500 or better.