There’s no denying the Phoenix Suns are playing with a renewed spark under interim coach Jay Triano. After last night, the Washington Wizards can attest to just how much better the Suns are doing of late.
* Recap: Suns 122, Wizards 116
The Wizards could only watch as the Suns climbed from a 22-point hole behind a spectacular scoring effort from youngster T.J. Warren. Washington guard Bradley Beal didn’t hold back in blasting the team after its loss Wednesday, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:
Evidence of defensive apathy was abundant. Two obvious examples: Washington surrendered 107 points over the final three quarters and allowed T.J. Warren, with a career scoring average of 11.3 points per game, to enjoy a blockbuster night for 40 points just by being aggressive.
“We were undisciplined. We were too cool,” said Bradley Beal, who matched Warren with 40 points. “We thought it was going to be a cakewalk and they bust our ass, plain and simple.”
“We didn’t have the urgency defensively. It’s a team thing,” Coach Scott Brooks said. “I take responsibility in how we come out in games and we come out at half. We have to do a better job being consistent in both halves.”
Beal floated on a consistent rhythm, making 12 of 24 shots, but his strong night went to waste as only two other teammates (John Wall with 21 points and Mike Scott scoring 12 first-half points) contributed offensively. Although the starting forward tandem of Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jason Smith combined for minus-21, the absence of Otto Porter did not lead to this loss. Beal, his voice never rising from its usual cool tenor, was unequivocal on this matter.
“No. No. No. No. I’m not going to sit here — no,” Beal said, cutting off a question about whether the team might have missed Porter. “No. We’ve got enough guys in here to step up and make plays. Enough guys to win a ballgame. We were up 20. So, Otto wasn’t playing. That’s no excuse. That’s no excuse at all. Doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We have enough guys in here to step up and win games.”
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