Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
They say complacency can kill even the best motivated of folks. With that being said, there is no logical way in which the Suns did not feel good about themselves heading into a game where Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili would be confined to their spots on the bench in three-piece suits, opposed to baggy gray jerseys.
Most important to remember, this is the NBA, and anybody that suits up can hurt you. Hell, even the Milwaukee Bucks have won 15 times. Does the 112-104 loss come as a shocker? Absolutely. How the team rebounds from this will be what’s key though.
Just before tip-off, it was announced that the Suns best player, Goran Dragic, would not be taking to the court on this evening due to a badly sprained ankle. Maybe the most important game of the season up to this point would have to be contested with the team’s unquestionable leader watching from the sidelines.
Getting the start in his place, and having a brilliant night, was Gerald Green. Going off for 27 points and four more three-pointers, Green has announced his presence as a legitimate scorer in the league who has expanded his repertoire beyond just blowing out cupcakes while dunking.
The real story of the game came from another player with the same surname. My closest encounter to Danny Green came from my high school basketball playing days, when his younger brother picked my pocket at half court and threw down a slam in front of all my friends and family. His brother, Devonte, was only in seventh grade. While that may not be as impressive as his older brother Danny’s career-high 33-point effort, the Suns must have felt like they had their pocket picked as well.
There is no question about the shooting prowess of the Long Island native, who hammered home seven of his ten shots from deep on the evening. Come playoff time, Green will be a vital element to the Spurs mix in order to stretch the floor for Tony Parker to wheel and deal as he chooses.
Jumping out to a tremendous 35-14 start, it seemed that the Dragic-less Suns would manage to survive. What they could not anticipate, even if they should have, was the torrid pace at which the Spurs would come out at after halftime. Dominating the turnover margin by nearly a 3:1 ratio, the Spurs stunningly only turned the ball over seven times in comparison to the Suns 20. If there’s one specific stat to single out as for the change of winds, it would be that.
Lost in the shuffle of comebacks and collapse, was the outstanding night that the lone Slash Brother had on the night. Without his compadre, Bledsoe tried to do the job of two men. Nearly messing around and grabbing a triple-double, Bledsoe went for 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. With Ish Smith barely contributing, it isn’t hard to fathom that no matter what Dragic would have given them had he suited up, would have been enough to swing the game in favor of Phoenix.
Now, things get fun. Unless, of course, they weren’t already somehow fun. The next two games will undoubtedly dictate where, and if, the Phoenix Suns will be playing in the upcoming weeks.
There is no rest for the weary, as Phoenix jumps on a fancy jetliner and heads for the Lone Star state. Tipping off at 5:30 P.M. from Dallas, it will be a rush against the clock to get Goran Dragic healthy for a game that can springboard Phoenix back into contention. Tune in here at the conclusion of tomorrow’s game for some post-game wrap-up as the Suns play their most crucial contest of the year.