Nets Look to Get Rhythm Back Against Suns

PHOENIX -- Seven days and 2,410 (give or take) miles later, the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets will finish their whirlwind season series Monday.

The Suns won the first matchup in New York last Tuesday, recovering from an eight-point deficit with under seven minutes remaining for their first road victory of the season.

Now the Nets will try to get back on the winning track after losing four in a row.

"We're out of rhythm right now for some reason," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We lost the rhythm we had in the beginning of the season. We've got to get it back."

The Suns used a 24-8 run in the final seven minutes to beat the Nets 122-114 in Brooklyn, the second stop of a five-game road trip.

Phoenix (4-6) fell to San Antonio 112-95 in the finale of the trip Sunday night, a game not without a silver lining.

Small forward TJ Warren scored 17 points in 29 minutes against the Spurs while returning to the starting lineup after sustaining an head injury in a loss at the New York Knicks on Friday.

Warren knocked heads with Knicks center Enes Kanter on a drive to the basket and did not re-enter the Friday game. The Suns called it a headache, a troubling diagnosis inasmuch as Warren missed 13 games with what was called a headache last season. He also hit his head on the floor in a preseason game against the Utah Jazz and got a cut that required five stitches.

Warren had a career-high 40 points in a 122-116 victory at Washington on Wednesday and had averaged 24.8 points a game while shooting 59.4 percent from the field in the four games before the injury.

Suns leading scorer Devin Booker, who averages 22 points per game, had nine points against the Spurs. San Antonio held the Suns to 13 points in the third quarter.

"I thought we battled early," said Suns interim coach Jay Triano, whose team held a 55-51 led at half against the Spurs.

"The third quarter was the big one. After us having a lead at halftime, 'Pop' (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) was going to be all over them at halftime to guard better, and sure enough they guarded and we had a hard time scoring."

Asked if road fatigue might have had something to do with it, Triano said: "Probably, a little bit. But that's one of the things we have to learn to do. This league doesn't care that it is a long road trip. No excuses. You have to be able to play every night."

The Nets (3-6) will play second game of five-game, nine-day road trip Monday. They have lost all four road games so far, the latest a 124-112 defeat at the Lakers on Friday on point guard D'Angelo Russell's return to Los Angeles.

Allen Crabbe led the Nets with 25 points against the Lakers, and former Arizona star Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 21. Russell had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

"Collectively, we're just not moving the ball like we were in the beginning of the year," Atkinson said.

"We better find the solution to that quick, because teams are just too good defensively. We're not a one-on-one team. That's not how we're built. We're built on ball movement and player movement. We have to get that back."

Booker had 32 points in last week's game against the Nets. Warren had 14.

Russell, often matched against Suns rookie point guard Mike James, had 33 points in the first meeting. James, who is filling in for disciplined Eric Bledsoe, had 24 points in 29 minutes.

The Suns have been seeking a trade for Bledsoe, who tweeted "I Dont want to be here" the day after the Suns fell to 0-3 and an hour or so before coach Earl Watson was fired and replaced by Triano.

Bledsoe, who has been away from the team since, is expected to return to workouts with the Suns' staff at the team's facility this week.

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