Newsroom Notes: Suns Nipped by Warriors in Final Seconds
Posted: Feb. 22, 2012
With the Suns trailing by as many as 21 in the first half, it was looking as if the team began its All-Star break a game early.
But the Suns mounted a monumental comeback, scratching and clawing their way back to a two-point lead with 3:50 left in the contest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Golden State’s Monta Ellis drilled a difficult fall-away jumper with one second left in the fourth period to deal the Suns a 106-104 home loss Wednesday.
After surrendering 39 points in the first quarter – a season high for a first quarter for Golden State – Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry had a premonition of what the outcome would be.
“He told us in the first half, ‘You dug yourselves too big of a hole, we’re going to make a great comeback and then we’re going to fall short because of something out of our hands,’” Suns guard Steve Nash said about Gentry’s words to the team.
With Phoenix down big early, the Suns’ second unit helped trim the Warriors’ lead to 14 at the half. In the third, Phoenix continued to battled back, slicing the lead to four heading into the fourth.
After pulling ahead late in the fourth, the Suns looked like they were going to close out the victory before Ellis’ antics put a wrench in those plans. It would’ve been the Suns’ third double-digit comeback victory of the season and their third-straight win overall.
“I thought that (the Warriors) played exceptionally well (in the first period),” Nash said. “But at the same time, I felt like they shouldn’t have had 39 at the end of the first quarter, they should’ve had 30. Just mental errors and other things added up.”
Suns power forward Channing Frye scored 11 of his team-high 22 points during a third-period surge, also finishing with nine rebounds. Center Marcin Gortat posted 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Jared Dudley (17 points) and Grant Hill (16 points) rounded out the rest of the Suns in double figures.
The Suns dominated nearly every statistical category, outscoring the Warriors in the paint (56-32), outrebounding them (51-40) on the glass and doubling their second-chance points (26-12). However, the Suns allowed the Warriors to shoot 9-of-20 from three-point land, while only hitting 4-of-19 on their end.
The Suns host the Timberwolves when they return from All-Star break.
Rita Garvin, wife of Suns Vice Chairman Sam Garvin, recently pointed out to Coach Gentry that the team seems to perform better when he rocks his glasses and not his contacts. One to try anything, Gentry came into Wednesday riding a two-game winning streak since taking her advice.
“It’s the glasses,” Gentry said before his club's game against the Warriors. “So we’re staying with the glasses.”
The spectacled Gentry saw his team capture victories over the Lakers and Wizards before narrowly falling to the Warriors. But with the slip-up against Golden State, who knows what Gentry will do for the Suns' first game after the All-Star break?
Visiting with Steve Nash before the game were New York Red Bulls soccer players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. For those who aren’t familiar with Henry, he was twice named the FIFA World Player of the Year and is France’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Marquez, who is considered one of the best Mexican defenders of all-time, won a UEFA Champions League title with Barcelona in 2006.
Before the game, Gentry gave some insight into his view of managing the playing time of his starters, especially the day before a week-long break. However, Gentry insists that he doesn’t watch the clock too much when it comes to his rotation.
“We’re not major league baseball,” Gentry said. “We don’t have pitch counts. We’re just trying to win games.”
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