Suns’ Fourth Quarter Rally Not Enough, Lose to Dallas 104-94
After a strong win against the Timberwolves in Phoenix on Sunday, the Suns traveled to Dallas to start a short two game road trip. The Suns match up problems with the Mavericks were were shown in the first game of the season, and those same problems sprung up tonight. With a final score of 104-94, the Suns drop to 11-14 on the season.
Dallas started the game out looking to outrun the Suns scoring off of two quick three pointers, and pushed a quick 7-2 lead. Brandon Knight sparked the Suns offense, working to keep his rhythm going from the previous night. Knight scored ten points in the opening quarter, going 4-7 from the field. Eric Bledsoe added in a three pointer in the first. The Suns ended the quarter down by four, with a score of 25-21.
Tyson Chandler scored four points in the opening of the second, hitting two foul shots as well as a put back slam. The Suns had tough time getting into rhythm, hesitating on open shots and instead opting to put the ball on the floor and running into two or three guys. Defensive rotations continue to be an issue for the Suns, continuing to leave a guy open at the three point line while one defender tried to help on the ball. The Suns shot 37% from the field, with the main scoring coming from Knight and Bledsoe, but only trailed 46-43 at the half due to some strong defense throughout the second.
The Suns committed some dumb fouls in the first three minutes of the third, and that in combination of the Mavericks starting to exploit the Suns’ rotations forced the Suns to look at a seven point deficit in the third. The Mavericks couldn’t miss in the third, and in return the Suns couldn’t make a shot. The Suns looked tired, and the score showed just that. Dallas outscored the Suns 31-15 in the third.
The Suns started the fourth with a lineup of Bledsoe-Archie Goodwin-Sonny Weems-Warren-Leuer, and looked to get any resemblance of an offense going with the Mavericks heavily defending the three point line. The Suns were able to push a 7-0 run to cut a 23 point deficit to 16 through a cutting attack that looked to get good looks at the rim, and a fast break alley-oop from Bledsoe to Goodwin. The Suns continued their run with two good looks from the three point line, one of the looks being a kick out from Bledsoe to John Leuer where Bledsoe saw three defenders surrounding him as he went to the rim. The Mavericks didn’t let the run continue, pushing back to a 15 point lead after two quick three’s from Chandler Parsons. The Suns continued to fight with an offense comprised of strong cuts to the rim, but the Mavericks countered with post ups from Dirk Nowitzki. The Suns were able to get within six, but after a missed alley-oop from Weems the Mavericks were able to push the lead back to eight. Missing a hand full of free throws in the closing minutes, the Suns’ comeback fell short with a final score of 104-94.
There wasn’t a whole lot of good tonight, but Hornaceck deserves credit for throwing in a lineup that has gotten absolutely no minutes together so far this season. The lineup of Bledsoe-Goodwin-Weens-Warren-Leuer had little reliability when it came to the three ball, but they weren’t going to win the game with Dallas basically having all of their guys glued to the three point line. Hornaceck might have needed to run some of these type of plays with the normal lineup in during the third, but that might not have changed the outcome that dramatically. Another negative of the lineup was not really running any plays for Warren. His game thrives on getting to the basket, and it might have been best to experiment with some plays that could be useful throughout the season.
There was a lot not to like this game, between the shooting, bad fouls, defensive rotations, and turnovers. I’ve written about some of these in past recaps, and there isn’t much to expand on. On to Golden State.