The Bakersfield Jam lost a thriller, but Phoenix Suns rookies T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis shined in their D-League debuts.

They filled up the box score for the Bakersfield Jam in the team's first game of the season, but the T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis and the Jam could not finish off the Texas Legends and eventually fall 127-125.

You can watch the entire game here and check out the full box score.

Warren scored in myriad ways, making 16 of 27 shots on the way to 40 points in 40 minutes of play. He drained 3 of 7 three-pointers, and also contributed 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block. Late in the game, Warren grimaced and grabbed his left thumb (previously broken this preseason) but stayed in the game.

Ennis was pretty darn good himself, making 11 of 23 shots (including 1 of 5 on threes) to score 25 points in 37 minutes while grabbing 6 rebounds, dishing 5 assists and making 3 steals.

Both players joined the Jam on Thursday, the day before the season began. The Jam, affiliated only with the Suns this season, is running the same offense and defense as the Suns, with head coach Nate Bjorkren having spent summer league and most of training camp with the Suns coaching staff.

Elijah Millsap, Paul's younger brother, contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds a week after being acquired in a trade on D-League Draft Day. Suns training camp invitees Jamil Wilson had 17 points (3 for 4 on threes) and 8 rebounds, while Earl Barron had 9 points and 6 rebounds.

The Jam play again tonight before Ennis and Warren re-join the Suns on their Sunday flight to begin a 5-game Eastern road trip.

Here's what the players had to say following last' night's disappointing loss

Last night, the Phoenix Suns suffered a very disappointing home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, on the last of a five-game home-stand, before hitting the road for the next six games...starting tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.

It's sort of ironic, in a way, that the Suns finally did many of the things that fans and commentators have been harping about over the past few games on the same night.  Did Phoenix have a fast start to the game?  Yes.  Did the starters come out engaged and outplay the bench?  Yes.  So, did the Suns win?  Ummm...Oops.

Of course this isn't to say that fast starts and an inspired first-unit are this team's downfall, but it just goes to show that once you think you have everything figured out, here comes the monkey-wrench.

The players were noticeably somber after the game's such a different atmosphere in the locker room compared to after a win.  But that's to be expected, and it definitely isn't a bad certainly wouldn't want them to be cheery after a bad loss at home.

At any rate, Bright Side of the Sun's super-star cameraman, Evan Wendt, and I caught up with Suns' coach Jeff Hornacek and a few of the players in the locker room after tonight's game to see if they had any answers for what happened, or what went wrong. Here's what they had to say about it:

Coach and Player Interviews:

Jeff Hornacek:

Hornacek didn't seem to have a lot of answers for what happened tonight.  He seemed to think the Suns lost the game based on poor perimeter defense, which is certainly part of it.  However, the Suns failed to break the century mark offensively, and they just were'nt able to hit a lot of the shots they normally make.

Goran Dragic:

Dragic gave a bit of honest insight into why their seems to be a different head of the Hydra that has the hot hand every night, "There's only one ball".  Of course, this doesn't explain why the bench struggled tonight, but he's right, in that you have to anticipate that players will have on and off nights, and the point is to find, and get the ball in the hot hand and get enough stops defensively.  Tonight, they couldn't seem to do either

Eric Bledsoe:

Eric talked about the Hornets getting more physical as they gained confidence when they started getting back in the game.  He acknowledged that the Hornets made some great plays tonight, which they certainly did, even when the Suns did their job defensively.

Miles Plumlee:

Miles gave an honest response about the tendency to relax once you start to open up a lead on a team, which is normal, and it is also the very same reason why I don't  trust or feel comfortable with big first quarter leads.  The Suns almost seem better prepared to fall behind and come back in a game than they do to establish a big lead and grow it.  When Phoenix loses their intensity and hunger, they become very beatable.

Onto the Next...

Regardless of how bad of a loss that game was for the Suns, they have to put it behind them now and move onto the next one.  They now face a rested Clippers team on the road tonight, but maybe Phoenix can play the same role against the Clippers that the Hornets did against the Suns last night?  After all, it only takes one good win to counteract one bad's hoping they can even the score.

PHOENIX — The game started so promising. The first quarter ended with the Phoenix Suns (5-4) having a 14 point lead, zero turnovers and six assists on 10 made field goals. It was the perfect...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Phoenix- Inconsistent play dooms the Suns once again, as the Charlotte Hornets (4-5) defeat the Phoenix Suns (5-4) 103-95 on Friday night at U.S. Airways Center. Charlotte was led by 19 points from...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Here's how it happened

First Quarter

The Suns start the game with a quick foul by Goran Dragic on Lance Stephenson, and then a foul by Marcus Morris on P.J. Hairston.  Both non-shooting but not a good think to pick up two fouls in 24 seconds.  Big Al scored inside, and then Hairston hits a three before the Suns got on the board with a jumper from Marcus Morris. Then Bledsoe hit a three to tie it up 5-5 early in the game.

Suns and Hornets went back and forth at first, but Suns were hitting there three's early and the Hornets missed more shots than they hit, and that helped then get a bit of a lead early on.  Suns are up 13-7 about midway through the first. Timeout Hornets.  Marvin Williams ends the drought for Charlotte after the time out with a three.  Miles Plumlee answers at the other end with a hook shot inside, and then a huge block on Al Jefferson at the other end that leads to a three by Markieff Morris.  Suns extending their lead.

Isaiah Thomas came in for Dragic, Alex Len subbed in for Plumlee, and P.J. Tucker entered for Marcus with about two minutes remaining.  The Suns missed on a few consecutive possessions, but lucky for Phoenix, so did Charlotte.  Isaiah got fouled on a three point shot before the end of the quarter and converted at the line, then Keef hit a buzzer beater three.  Suns are in complete control right now.

At the end of the first quarter, the Suns lead the Hornets 28-14.   Markieff is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 10 points, 3 rebounds.  For the Hornets, Marvin Williams leads with 3 points and 1 rebound.  The Suns are shooting 43.5% from the field, vs. 27.3% for Charlotte.

Second Quarter

The Suns bench "The Chuck Wagon" are all in to start the second quarter.  Brian Roberts hits a three for the Hornets and the Suns miss and then turn the ball over.  Can't start playing sloppy now...big first quarter leads are fools gold.  Suns turn the ball over again and then Gerald Green fouls Lance Stephenson on the break to send him to the line.  Suns slowly letting them back in.  The drought for the Suns continues, as the Suns miss shots and the Hornets keep getting to the line.

Finally, the Suns stopped the bleeding with an excellent defensive possession by none other than Gerald Green on Lance Stephenson that led to a dunk by Len at the other end. Dragic came back in for Green and immediately got a fast-break layup.  Suns are doing just enough to stay ahead, but the Hornets are keeping them within arms reach now.

Suns getting some good looks, but not making them with the same regularity as in the first quarter. Hydra time!  Bledsoe makes one of the best, most aggressive moves to get to the hoop I have ever seen from him, and gets the and-one.  Then hits another shot on the next possession.  Suns showing a bit more life again now, can they keep it up through the rest of the quarter? Suns miss a couple of shots and then foul Kemba Walker for the and-one. Suns only up two again.  They then give up the dunk to Cody Zeller on the other end to tie the game at the half.

At the end of the first half, the Suns are tied with the Hornets 47-47.   Markieff is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 10 points, 3 rebounds.  For the Hornets, Lance Stephenson leads with 9 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds.  The Suns are shooting 41.9% from the field now, vs. 36.2% for Charlotte.

Third Quarter

The Hornets get the first basket of the third quarter to briefly take the lead for the first time in the game.  Plumlee answers back with a basket for the Suns, but them Williams gets a jumper off the glass.  Both teams going back and forth again...Suns need some stops and some transition baskets.

Charlotte continues to push and they are starting to get better looks.  Suns now falling behind early in the third quarter with sloppy play leading to easy baskets off of misses and turnovers. Hairston draws a foul on a three point make, which he converts for a four-point shot...Things are starting to look glum for the Suns.  They need to increase their defensive intensity once again and get out in transition and run!

The Suns are starting to make some shots again, but things still not improving enough for Phoenix right now.  The Hornets have the confidence that they can win this game, and Phoenix can't seem to repeat their same energy that they had in the first quarter. Then Stephenson and Bledsoe get called for double-technicals...Lance is going at it with Eric here, but maybe that's what the Suns need to get them fired back up?  Just like that, Bledsoe hits a three, and then another a couple of possessions later.  Suns are indeed getting fired back up...Thanks, Lance!

Unfortunately, the Suns couldn't pull too far ahead, even though they did at least re-establish their lead, but just barely.  The refs made some bad calls, and the Hornets made some timely shots to stay right there.

At the end of the third quarter, the Suns lead the Hornets 75-74.   Eric Bledsoe is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.  For the Hornets, Kemba Walker leads with 15 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds.  The Suns are shooting 44.6% from the field now, vs. 39.4% for Charlotte.

Fourth Quarter

The Hornets get the first basket of the fourth quarter, with a three point shot by Gerald Henderson.  Charlotte is back up by two.  Len gets fouled and hits both shots to tie the game again for Phoenix, but Gary Neal drains a fall-away jumper on the other end.  Both teams going back and forth again...Suns really need some stops here.

That isn't happening though, and the Hornets keep scoring.  The Suns are down three with 9 minutes to go in the game.  They need someone else to step up and take over other than just Bledsoe.  Normally this is when Green gets hot...but he just doesn't have it tonight.  Suns still not getting much production from anyone except Bledsoe, who is flirting with a triple-double and would probably have one if the other players were making their shots.  Goran Dragic checks in mid-way through the quarter, but Suns continue falling apart with no answer.  They are now down 10.

The Dragon enters the game and starts controlling the ball more on offense.  The defense tightens up a bit and Goran scores on one of his patented one-man-fast-breaks.  The Suns have hope again, but are still down six with four minutes to go.  Markieff scores on a beautiful looping baby-hook.  Goran attempts another fast-break lay-up but Cody Zeller takes a charge, even though he wasn't set...those have been the breaks tonight.

Phoenix is still down six after Zeller scores on an offensive rebound at the rim.  It's not looking good.

This is a bad loss, no matter how you slice it.  Charlotte is a team the Suns should have beaten, especially at home, but they fell apart in the second quarter and just never re-established their play from the first quarter when they opened up a 14-point lead on the Hornets.  Phoenix now goes on a six game road trip starting tomorrow against the L.A. Clippers...they needed this one, and let it slip away.

Game Over, Suns Lose

Page 818 of 2369


Web Links

Sponsored Ads