Suns Lose Lead in 4th, Again. Drop to Wizards 109-106

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The Phoenix Suns controlled the first three quarters of tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards, but couldn’t keep the pace during the 4th, falling by a final score of 109-106.  Tonight the Suns were without veteran big man Tyson Chandler for the fourth game in a row.  The Wizards were much more short-handed tonight, missing Marcin Gortat, Drew Gooden, and Kris Humphries.  This is the seventh Suns loss in their last eight games, seeing their record falling to 8-11 on the season.

With all the big men missing tonight tonight’s game, you knew that this would be a fast-paced, run and gun basketball game.  The guards from both teams had big nights due to the ability to get to the rim without any true centers clogging the lane.  The Suns were led by Eric Bledsoe, putting up 22 points, four rebounds, and seven assists.  His backcourt running mate Brandon Knight also had a solid game with 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists.  But Bradley Beal was the star of tonight’s game, scoring 24 of his 34 points in the second half while hitting 5-8 of his three pointers.

Markieff Morris returned to action but started the game on the bench, with Jon Leuer taking the floor to start the night.  Morris ended up playing almost 28 minutes tonight compared to Leuer’s 22, which will cause some discussion about his role on the team going forward.  Head Coach Jeff Hornacek could be leaning towards starting Leuer now as he seems to get off to a better start than Morris.  While Leuer played more than Morris in the first half, Morris racked up the majority of his minutes in the second half of the game.

With a seven point lead, the Suns started the 4th quarter looking in control.  T.J. Warren got his game going in the quarter with a three pointer and back-to-back layups, helping the Suns hold off a barrage of Wizards three-pointers, mainly coming from Beal.  A key play that changed the momentum of the game came off a missed Wizards free throw where Morris and Bledsoe both went for the rebound and ended up watching it bounce out of bounds.  Immediately after that, Otto Porter Jr. got to the bucket and converted an and-one to give the Wizards their first lead since the score was 2-0.  A no-look pass by Suns PG Ronnie Price sailed out of bounds the next time down the court, and the next offensive possession saw P.J. Tucker travel underneath the basket.

After Bledsoe and Beal traded buckets the score was 108-105 the Suns found Brandon Knight in the corner with 10 seconds left, where Beal fouled Knight on a three point jump shot.  This looked to be a huge break for the Suns as they could tie the game at 108 until Knight missed the first of three free throws.  That was all the edge that the Wizards needed to hold off the Suns for the rest of regulation.

The Suns will now travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at 1:30 MST.

Charlie Erling

Long-standing Phoenix Suns fan, longer-standing burrito enthusiast.

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