Suns Have Passed the 'Gut-Check'

Every team in every sport goes through a period of time when their character and heart get tested; it’s the nature of professional sports.

Just nine games into the 2013-14 season, the Suns have passed the “gut-check” test (as its dubbed) with flying colors.

It’s been said that adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. If that isn’t a fitting description of this year’s Suns team, then I don’t know what is.

Against the Nuggets at home recently, the Suns were victims of a 33-5 run in the second half. Yet, they came back to win the game in convincing fashion.

Tonight against the Nets, Brooklyn scored the first 16 points in the third quarter to take a 13-point lead. Not surprisingly, Phoenix stormed back to force overtime and fell only to a last-second shot by Joe Johnson.

The fact that such a young team can not only withstand those runs, but fight to come back and take the lead is remarkable.

Perhaps more than anything, it speaks volumes about the guys in that locker room.

“I think it is a sign that the team cares about the game and everyone else on the team and the coaching staff,” Eric Bledsoe said. “Everyone comes in to work and that is all that you can ask for.

“We are playing hard; those games will come back in our favor but we just have to keep playing.”

There’s no way around it; the last two games were painful. Phoenix lost at the buzzer against the Blazers on Wednesday and again to the Nets Friday night.

But this team is getting valuable experience in these games. More specifically, how to close other teams out.

“They are more experienced than us,” Goran Dragic said of the veteran Nets. “They made the tough shot. We didn’t. But that is part of the sport. We lost two in a row in the last five seconds but we know we are playing well against those good teams.”

Indeed, an astonishing, recurring theme in regards to this Suns squad is that even though they encounter defeats, they don’t let themselves feel defeated.

These lessons will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable as the season continues.

“I wish we played tomorrow,” said a motivated P.J. Tucker after the Brooklyn game. “It’s tough to lose games like that but we’ll get back in the gym and keep working as a team.

“That’s what we always do.”