Here's what the players had to say after losing their sixth straight last night to the Milwaukee Bucks.

There are bad losses, and then there are horrible, gut-wrenching losses.

Last night's loss at home to the Milwaukee Bucks, after leading for more than three and a half quarters, going up one point with three seconds left, and losing to a well-defended, lucky, hit-every-part-of-the-rim three pointer that eventually decided to be the final nail in the coffin, rather than simply bounce off the way it was supposed to, definitely falls into the latter category.

The Phoenix Suns badly needed a win last night.  Not only because they were teetering on the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but also because they had lost five straight...with all but one of them (Oklahoma City Thunder) being games that they probably could have, or should have won.

But the loss that came on a lucky three-pointer as the buzzer sounded was not only the most deflating of the season, it also marked their worst losing streak in two seasons.

But make no mistake, the Suns may have lost the game to a lucky shot, but it was their own fault for letting it get to that point, after leading for most of the game by around 10 points.

Goran Dragic had to miss his second straight game with a back strain, and the Suns looked like they couldn't find an answer offensively, save for Markieff Morris who had an outstanding first half, scoring 19 points (25 total).  But even he couldn't get in going for most of the second half, scoring only two points in the third quarter, and then four points at the very end of the fourth quarter, for a total of six points...along with committing five turnovers in the second half.

Speaking of turnovers, Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek blamed that more than anything on last night's loss. "Just careless." He continued, "We’ve got to value the ball more. What did we have? 23 turnovers? We didn’t know where the shot clock was at."

Hornacek explained that the Bucks' defense caused a lot of those turnovers to occur with how they were playing the Suns. "They do a good job of rotating; you’ve got to move the ball, make quick decisions. I think that was the stretch [after the 83-73 lead followed by three turnovers]; that was the killer." He continued, "You have an opportunity to stretch the lead, then we have some dumb fouls and whenever you give a road team life at the end, you know, bad things can happen. That’s what happened."

Hornacek mentioned that the Suns were trying to exploit a mismatch in the post with Markieff, but were unable to get the ball to him early enough. "Markieff was doing such a good job in the post, we were trying to get him the ball in there." He continued, "Our guys couldn’t get in there, fronting them, just took us too long to get into it, so by the time we went to something else, it was too late."

The Suns one again found themselves unable to execute for one reason or another.  On most nights it has been poor defensive execution, and while there were some key breakdowns on defense tonight as well, the majority of the Suns struggles in last night's loss came on the offensive end.

Right now, it's difficult to say what's going on with the Suns.  Every game seems to provide a new problem that needs to be examined, and another reason for the team's struggles.

So who better to ask than the guys on the court?

Here is what the players themselves had to say after the game (And thanks again to Evan Wendt for editing the videos!):

Player Interviews:

Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe once again blamed the Suns lack of intensity more than anything, saying that the Bucks just played harder, and out hustled the Suns.  While that certainly happened at times, I didn't get the same impression tonight.  To me it seemed more about lack of execution and sloppy play on offense all night, more than anything else.  But hey, he was on the floor, so I'll take his word for it.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas said that he thought they did enough to win the game, but that they lost because of that lucky shot.  That may be true, but the Bucks never should have been in that position to win the game in the first place.  Isaiah was also at a loss for the high turnovers, saying that they keep pushing the ball to be aggressive and they're just happening.  The Suns certainly can't win by playing slow, so they're going to have to keep pushing the ball.  But they definitely need to figure out a better way to execute on offense without playing so sloppily.

Markieff Morris

Keef probably gave the answer that I agreed with most.  To him, it was simple.  A lack of execution in the fourth quarter and allowing the Bucks to hang around all game is what caused this loss.  The Suns never pulled far enough away to give the Bucks reason to quit, or feel like they couldn't come back and steal a win on the Suns' home court...and they eventually did just that.

The Suns now have a day off before playing the Charlotte Hornets on the road Wednesday night, in what will be the beginning of a three game Eastern Conference road-trip.  I would say that the Suns should be able to win at least two of the three games, with the opponents being the Hornets, Knicks, and Wizards, but right now, there aren't any opponents that you can pencil in as a "W".

But if the Suns can manage to win at least two of the three, that will be a good start in getting them back to .500, and on track to turning this season back around, before coming home to play the Dallas Mavericks next Tuesday.

If not, then they might be in for a very long and disappointing season.

Markieff needs your help.

With the Dragon temporarily slayed and the Suns in a slump, it's time to get the rooks some playing time.

"I Can't Breathe." The Suns make a statement regarding the events in New York.

T.J. Warren and Indiana's David West are besties. Ok, it's more of a mentor/mentee relationship.

"Thunder" Dan Majerle won't be able to lead his squad to the Big Dance, but he is experiencing some early success as head coach of the Grand Canyon Antelopes.

"We're a .500 team." Well not anymore. The Suns need to toughen up.

Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that it's up to the team to earn better fan support.

Help Markieff Morris find his lost dog!

Maybe Detroit's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will help. He has downplayed the "beef" between the two.

Former Sun Richard Dumas pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary in Maricopa County Superior court last week.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough likes the improvement he's seen from center Alex Len this season.

In case you didn't get enough of this topic in the summer, is Greg Monroe headed to Phoenix? Rumor has it the Detroit big man is looking for a trade, and the Pistons are looking for a first round draft pick.

Random power ranking!

There's plenty of blame to go around with the recent Phoenix slide. Here's a look at the Suns "lagging defense" of late.

The NBA is considering cutting the number of preseason games that are played, and spreading the 82 game schedule across an additional 10 days.

Isaiah Thomas fired his agent for "personal and professional reasons." That's a lot of reasons.

What a crazy bad season. Two banked-in three pointers to lose in the past eight days, six straight losses overall.

This time, to the surgent Milwaukee Bucks coached by former Suns point guard Jason Kidd. Milwaukee also got contributions from former Suns player Jared Dudley (10 points) and Kendall Marshall (2 points).

For the Suns, Gerald Green was a hellacious 2-15 on threes - TWO FOR FIFTEEN - and 3 for 18 overall, but hit a key three-pointer to keep the Suns in it at the end.

Markieff Morris had 25 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 3.5 seconds left that would have won a normal, unjinxed game.

Rate all them Suns from last night's game!

Sports & Games Lists on Ranker

It was a sloppy game that the Suns were not able to finish.

The Phoenix Suns start the game with Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Alex Len.  This is the first "on purpose" start for Len who will replace Miles Plumlee in the starting line-up tonight.  Goran Dragic is still out with a back strain, and is missing his second straight game.

The Milwaukee Bucks begin with Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Larry Sanders to start the game.  John Henson and Ersan Ilyasova are inactive for the Bucks tonight.

First Quarter

The Suns start off with a jump shot from Markieff, and then Len swallows up Sanders in the paint for a stop inside. Keef hits again, and then Green gets a fast break but he misses on the euro step around the defender.  Alex Len is playing good defense and grabbed a tough offensive rebound inside, but missed the put-back.  Keef then scores and is fouled for the and-one...he starts 3/3 from the field.

Suns are playing good defense, but so far, only Keef has been able to find the basket.  Green finally gets one to go after missing his first three attempts.  Len is really doing a good job of defending and bodying-up in the paint, getting some tough rebounds. P.J. Tucker fast break ends in a....miss.  But Bledsoe is there to clean it up. Suns up 11-4.  Timeout Bucks.

Len picks up a foul and Plumlee comes in for him.  Isaiah Thomas also enters the game for Green.  Jared Dudley still knows how to sell the foul, as he flops beautifully on a shot to get to the line.  Marcus Morris gets his first basket at the other end.

Kendall Marshall just scored on the Suns...

Another sloppy play of the game as Marcus and Green fail to connect on a pass.  Gerald zigged when he should have zagged.  Suns still having trouble executing on offense, but the defense is better...so there's that.

The Suns finally start clicking a little at the end of the quarter to take a 12 point lead.

At the end of the first quarter, the Suns lead the Bucks 26-14.  Markieff is the leading scorer for the Suns with 10 points and 4 rebounds.  O.J. Mayo leads the Bucks with 4 points and 1 rebound .  The Suns are shooting 44% from the field.  The Bucks are shooting 31% from the field.

Second Quarter

Gerald gets a steal and leads a fast break but is fouled. Refs check for clear path foul, but nope.  Side out of bounds for the Suns, common foul.

Jared Dufley steals a pass from Thomas, and Tolliver gets back to prevent the fast break, but has to fould Knight who went for the poster dunk.  He makes  both free throws.  Tolliver  then hits a three at the other end, but then fouls Jarred Bayless to pick up a quick 2nd foul.

Miles Plumlee misses a turnaround, fade-away jumper...but it almost went in...seriously.  Sanders fouled him on the shot though, and he hits one of two from the line.  Isaiah misses a stop-and-pop jumper with an air-ball...I'm thinking that ankle isn't 100% right just yet.  Bucks have cut the lead to just five...Then Tucker hits a very timely three to end the run, for now.

Alex Len scores at the rim, and-one, as soon as he re-enters the game, then another three from Tucker, but another Suns turnover leads to a Bucks fast break.  But Markieff hits a three to put the Suns back up by 10.  But then Chris Middleton hits a basket and the Suns turn the ball over on another sloppy play...Phoenix just can't seem to pull away because they aren't taking care of the ball.

With two minutes left in the quarter, Keef hits a shot and then gets fouled on the next possession...He now has 17 points, but is the only Suns player in double-figures.

Keef gets another basket to get to 19, nothing more to see here.

At the end of the second quarter, the Suns lead the Bucks 53-44.  Markieff is the leading scorer for the Suns with 19 points and 4 rebounds. Brandon Knight  leads the Bucks with 12 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds.  The Suns are shooting 40% from the field.  The Bucks are now shooting 47% from the field.

Third Quarter

Alex Len starts the third quarter with a big block on Jabari Parker. Green tried another three, and missed again, he is now 1/12 from the field...When Green is off, he's really off.

On the next possession, Jabari and Tucker got tangled up and Jabari went down with what looked like a serious left knee injury.  He had to be carried off the court.  Really hate to see that happen...Get well soon Mr. Parker.

After about three minutes, Eric Bledsoe became only the second Suns player to join Markieff in double-digit scoring...finally.  Markieff is continuing to score as he now has 21 points on 7/9 shooting...without Keef, the Suns would be in big trouble tonight.

Green finally hits another shot...a three...to bring his total to 2/14 from the field so far.  There's a Kobe Bryant joke in here somewhere.

Side note: Markieff's bandage near his ear reminds me of when I get a little too crazy with the razor while shaving.

Plumlee gets fouled with a flagrant-one.  He hits 1/2, and then Green dribbles the ball off his foot.  Another missed opportunity to pull away.

2/15 now...

Bucks cut the lead to six, but T.J. Warren draws the contact to get to the line.  Jerryd Bayless gets to the rim for a pass that he converts, but then Isaiah is fouled on a three point shot.  He only hits two though...it's been that kind of night for the Suns on offense.

Warren fouls Bayless at the end of the quarter to send him to the line to shoot free-throws.  Suns had a strange line-up with only one guard, three forwards, and one center.  Suns only up 5 now.

At the end of the quarter, the Suns lead the Bucks 72-67.  Markieff is the leading scorer for the Suns with 21 points. Brandon Knight leads the Bucks with 16 points.  The Suns are shooting 38% from the field.  The Bucks are shooting 45% from the field.

Fourth Quarter

O.J. Mayo hits a three to start the quarter to cut the lead to just 2 points.  Then the Suns have a shot clock violation.  The Suns get a break as O.J. Mayo attacks the basket but Bledsoe is able to draw the charge, but then Isaiah commits an offensive penalty as well.

Alex Len grabbed Giannis down by the back of the jersey on a shot attempt.  Flagrant-one is assessed.  He only makes one free throw though, and then Suns get a steal, but Tucker turns it over...Ugh.

Isaiah makes a much needed three to put the Suns back up by four.  Then Isaiah attacks the rim for a lay-up. Suns now up 6 again.

Timeout.

Isaiah hits another three and is taking over when the Suns need him the most.  Then another three...Isaiah is on FIRE!

Then Jared Dudley answers back to cut the Suns lead back down to seven.  Then Brandon Knight gets a shot at the rim off another Suns turnover...They aren't out of the woods yet.

Middleton then hits a jumper and just like that, the lead is back down to three...They just can't finish this team off.

Offensive foul on Keef...and then ZaZa Pachulia gets the basket as the Suns lead is down to one.  Then a three-second violation on the Suns.  Bucks can take the lead here...but don't.  They miss, fortunately for Phoenix.

Len gets fouled with what looked like a flagrant, but the refs call it a common foul.  He hits both free throws though. Suns back up three.  But Pachulia hits the shot. at the other end..back to one.

Tucker misses a three and then the Bucks get an open layup, Bucks take their first lead of the game.

Gerald gets fouled and re-takes the lead.

A lot of other weird things happen, but it goes down to the wire.  Keef hits the go-ahead shot, and the Bucks hit the buzzer beater...

Killer.

Game Over, Suns Lose



Letting go of certain things (jobs, friends, etc.) was pretty formulaic when college came to an end. I could prepare for change once my degree at the University of Arizona neared completion, and...

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