Nets Deal Suns Second Heartbreaker in a Row
The Suns wanted to use Friday night’s home game against Brooklyn to forget Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss to Portland.
Instead they relived the emotion thanks to a new painful ending at the hands of the Nets. After overcoming a double-digit deficit to force overtime, Phoenix had a chance to win in the extra period. Channing Frye’s open look from three fell short, and the Joe Johnson came up with the loose rebound. He raced down the floor and lofted a floater over Channing Frye and Goran Dragic. It went it in as time expired, giving Brooklyn the 100-98 win.
“Channing had a good look at it,” Hornacek said after the game. “Didn’t make it, then we have the rebound. P.J Tucker and Marcus [Morris] both go for it. P.J. said that Marcus looked like he was in front of him a little bit so he let it go. Somehow it popped up and they take off with it and Joe makes a shot from six feet out. A bad break at the end and we end up losing the game.”
Phoenix would prefer not to be so familiar with bad breaks. Dragic returned from an early season streak of them. He finished with 19 points and 10 assists despite a bandaged, stitched and half-closed left eye.
“I was a little bit scared to get punched in my face,” Dragic admitted.
He didn't get punched in the face, but the Suns who took a collective punch to the stomach. They led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, trailed by 13 in the third, led by two with 39 seconds left in regulation and had a chance to win it with 26 seconds remaining in overtime.
The seesaw game resulted in large part from Phoenix’s offense. At times they were breathtaking. After forcing a Nets miss with under a minute to go in overtime, the Suns fast break flowed automatically. Morris outlet the ball to Dragic, who fed Bledsoe on the wing, who lobbed the ball to a streaking P.J. Tucker for the alley-oop dunk. The sequence took all of three seconds.
Other times, however, the offense stalled.
“We get tentative, it’s almost like they play not to make mistakes, not to shoot the ball,” Hornacek said. “We’re passing up open shots. Then we try to do something to get a better shot and then all of the sudden they collapse and we throw something crazy up.”
After Phoenix gave up a 30-4 ran that spanned between the second and third quarters, Morris (13 points, nine rebounds), Gerald Green (eight points) and Frye (13 points) accounted for all the Suns’ points in a 17-6 run to end the third period.
Tucker was huge in the fourth, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the period. His corner three-pointer on an assist from Dragic put Phoenix up 92-90, but Johnson responded with a floater to send the game into overtime.
Brook Lopez carried the Nets’ offense on the way to a game-high 27 points before Johnson’s second clutch floater of the night decided the game.
“Hopefully we don’t go through too many of these,” Hornacek said. “We talked about that in the locker room. When things get tough like that, you’ve got to buckle down. That’s when other teams smell blood.”