The Suns fell below .500 for the first time all year with a 140-32 loss to Washington.
Anyone who panned the Ricky Rubio signing by the Suns should go back and watch the weekend back to back and then this game against Washington.
But also, anyone who panned the Frank Kaminsky signing should watch this game and brag a little bit.
Both sides of the Suns’ summer reared their head tonight.
Keeping in mind the proper disclaimers that Kaminsky is only playing such a big role because of injuries to Deandre Ayton and Aron Baynes, the defense with Kaminsky in the middle was a major reason why the Wizards scored 15 points in the first five minutes.
As the Suns felt out the opponent, they started to get the ball to Dario Saric more, picking at the matchup he faced against rookie Rui Hachimura. Saric scored five early points and grabbed four quick rebounds.
After that, the Suns’ two best players checked in. Their names are not Devin or Ricky. The best two guys on the Suns are Elie Okobo and Cheick Diallo. Welcome to Earth in 2019.
Behind Okobo and Diallo, Phoenix outscored the Wizards by 2 to close the first quarter down just 36-34.
I’ll give you one guess who got the scoring started when the Suns desperately needed a bucket to open the second. One guess. Go ahead.
It was Kelly Oubre Jr.
The tattooed Tasmanian Devil calmly pulled up for a three over Ish Smith to bring the Suns within one before Diallo finished the job the next time down, giving the Suns a lead.
Smith ➡️ Kelly ➡️ Elie— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 28, 2019
back to Kelly! pic.twitter.com/yWQulkcoVo
A moment later, DJ Khaled whispered into Oubre’s ear, “another one,” and Oubre bombed another three.
This was technically Oubre’s first game at home against Washington since being traded from the team, so maybe he had some emotions to take out. But what looked like nearly the entire Wizards staff did come out pregame to say hello, and he embraced John Wall before tip-off.
Remind me again how and why that locker room supposedly had turmoil?
This group is trying not to let fouls bother them, but they lost a bit of momentum with about 3:45 to go in the half when Ricky Rubio was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the rim. I’m not typically the homer type, and you all love to hate me for it, so believe me when I say Rubio did not extend his arm WHATSOEVER.
Add to the list of parties conspiring to piss the Suns off the literal rain shower of threes from Washington, and it’s a minor miracle Phoenix was down just 74-69 heading into the half.
The deficit busted open in the third quarter as Kaminsky’s defense got leaky and Bradley Beal exploded. That, and no one wearing blue could miss.
By the end of the third, Washington was 16-28 from deep, boosted by a 4-5 showing from Beal.
But the Suns made a quick run late led by Booker, Okobo and Cam Johnson to keep the game somewhat within reach, 108-95.
In a pinch with the bench needing to keep the game close at the beginning of the fourth, the Suns reserves came through in a huge way. Oubre was sitting with foul trouble, but the minutes without Booker again went fine for Phoenix. Mikal Bridges caused havoc as usual, while Tyler Johnson came alive for the first time in a while.
(This is not a clip from this stretch but enjoy it anyway)
heating up the oven— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 28, 2019
Tyler is cookin pic.twitter.com/583rEJVlav
Quickly after the start of the period, the Suns got the score within nine.
Later, a Saric three brought the Suns within seven, 120-113. The shooting luck was finally going the other way.
To close the game, displeased likely with Diallo and Kaminsky on defense, Monty Williams opted to go super small. That meant both Johnsons, Rubio, Booker and Saric. Fight fire with fire.
After a moving screen call on Tyler Johnson, a layup by Saric and a couple free throws from Cam Johnson put the Suns in the bonus and brought them within four, 124-120.
Williams put Cam on Beal on the other end and it worked well, too. The rookie keeps earning minutes.
A bad loose ball foul by Saric put Beal of all people on the line with the game on the brink. The All-Star made both to put the Wizards up 12.
Beal is a great player, but the Suns should be able to do better against this team. You can’t always do much against hot shooting, but opponents heating up is becoming a trend lately for the Suns. Their defense is noticeably less active and they’ve abandoned the style they played when Baynes was healthy, point-switching way more often and helping far less than they used to.
With less than a minute to go, Booker forced a turnover on an in-bounds pass by flopping. Right after that, he missed a point-blank layup that could have represented one last grasp.
A Rubio three on a broken play moments later became the real last grasp. Beal had to call a timeout before clearing the ball past halfcourt because of pressure from Rubio and Booker, and Saric fouled Beal out of the break to start the free-throw game.
It wasn’t enough.