Phoenix Suns 125, Los Angeles Lakers 105 Just over a week ago when the Phoenix Suns were sitting at 25-26 and two games back of the No. 8 seed, head coach Alvin Gentry made it clear that his team...

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Man, what could have been if the Suns could have stolen one in Denver. Of course there are many games left for the Suns, all of them difficult, begin tonight against the Lakers at home.

HERE'S HOW THE STANDINGS STAND AT THE MOMENT:

Screen_shot_2012-04-07_at_10

AND HERE'S WHAT WENT DOWN LAST NIGHT (the ones that mattered):

MEMPHIS (5) 97-HEAT 82...Straightouttavancouver.com:

Yet, tonight's biggest impact came off our bench. Zach Randolph once again played the role of super-sub with 14 points and 14 rebounds. O.J. Mayo chipped in 10 of his, and Gilbert Arenas had it going from deep. All five of his shots were from beyond the arc and he drained 4 of them. Overall, seven Grizzlies reached double figues in points. This balanced attack was a sharp contrast to the Heat, who saw their Big 3 combine for 60 of their 82 points.

PORTLAND 99-DALLAS (6) 97...www.blazersedge.com:

Raymond Felton pounds the Mavericks in places they didn't know they had, pushing the Blazers ahead of the Mavericks after a slow start. Dallas' comeback in the fourth quarter forces overtime but LaMarcus Aldridge hits a fade-away to win the game at the OT buzzer.

UTAH (9) 104-GOLDEN STATE 98....www.slcdunk.com

Woo! Jazz now need 7 more wins for playoff contention!

The Utah Jazz defeated the Golden State warriors in an epic battle tonight. Well, maybe not epic. 'State was playing with two of their best players, and somehow Nate Robinson shot the ball 10 times. So, it was the Jazz game to win from the outside. Warriors Head coaching calling crunch time plays that ended up with Andris Biedrins taking jumpers gets you exactly the result you are looking for: a loss.

HOUSTON 112-LAKERS 107...www.thedreamshake.com

Chandler Parsons was a second round pick. Marcus Camby was acquired for a second round pick. Luis Scola was acquired for a second round pick and Billy Spanoulis. Goran Dragic was had for a guy playing in China right now (and a first round pick on top of that).

And yet, this ragtag group manages to pull off amazing wins against teams with much more pedigree than them. And in this one, the Rockets did what they do best, closing out a great win against a team that had gotten used to slamming the door on them.


The Suns can't hang their heads now...They have another big game tonight!

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Last night was a heartbreaking loss for the Phoenix Suns who went from looking at a tie for the 8th and final seed of the NBA playoffs to falling back to the 10th spot in the Western Conference after the loss to the Denver Nuggets.

If you saw the game last night, or read the previous recap of the game, then you already understand what the biggest cause of the loss was--turnovers. The Suns committed 16 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Nuggets...Compare that to the season low 5 turnovers committed by the Nuggets which led to just 4 points for the Phoenix Suns, and it becomes crystal clear just how big of a disadvantage that really was.

In addition to the turnovers, the Suns offense looked disjointed and out-of-sync, especially when the Suns' starters returned halfway through the 4th quarter. Up until that point, the Suns' bench had gone on a 13-1 run to give the Suns a 92-87 lead. But once the starting unit returned it was turnovers, bad shots, missed shots, and slow transition defense quickly turned the tables.

If the Suns would have been able to overcome such a significant pitfall it would have spoke to their tremendous effort and resolve to overcome such a sloppy offensive game...and don't get me wrong, the effort was definitely there, but Denver fought just as hard and ultimately capitalized on the Suns mistakes going on a 18-4 run to close out the 4th quarter and win the game.

Read on after the jump for some post game quotes, twitter posts, and a sad photo

Post Game Quotes

Here's what Alvin Gentry had to say about the loss:

"We did everything we needed to do to be in a position to win and then had very poor execution for the last three or four minutes of the game"

"We've got to get the ball in the basket and come back and take away some of the easy stuff."

"We know that we blew a great opportunity"

"We've got to go back home and try to rectify what happened here"

"We have zero margin of error."


Here's Steve Nash:

"It was a bad loss for us"

"We had a bad close to the game and didn't make plays down the stretch."


From the Twitter-verse


I'm going to count to 10.

— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 7, 2012

It didn't help much frankly.

— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 7, 2012


We played to well to end the game like that.. Couldn't score the last 3 minutes and let Andre Miller take over. Gotta put this behind us

Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) April 7, 2012


Big lost. Feel like crying!! lockerz.com/s/199181493

Sebastian Telfair (@BassyS31T) April 7, 2012

and his photo:

Bassy_frye_medium






Going Forward:


The Suns can't afford to dwell on this loss...they have another big game tonight at home against the Los Angeles Lakers. One thing in the Suns' favor is that the Lakers seem to be on a downward spiral with the chemistry between the coach and the players reaching an all-time low. The Suns need to put this game behind them and climb right back into the fray with a win tonight!



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If the Phoenix Suns are ultimately unable to do the unthinkable and sneak into the playoffs, Friday night’s 105-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets will be forever viewed as — like Katy Perry...

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Too many turnovers put this one just out of reach

Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight the Phoenix Suns took on the Denver Nuggets in a game with huge playoff implications for the NBA Western Conference playoff race. The Suns weren't able to overcome sloppy offense and 16 turnovers, and lose a close one against the Nuggets on the road 105-99.

In doing so, the Suns slip back into 10th place after the Utah Jazz won over the Golden State Warriors as well. the Denver Nuggets hold onto their 8th seed in the playoff race and push their win streak to six consecutive victories over the Suns.

The Nuggets were led by the lights out shooting of Aaron Afflalo who scored 30 points on 11-19 shooting and 5-9 from beyond the arc. Harrington also did his part off the bench scoring 23 points on 8-19 shooting and going 4-10 from long range.

For the Suns it was Shannon Brown who led the team with 18 points, but it should also be mentioned he was usually responsible for guarding Aaron Afflalo who was left open far too often. Steve Nash did his part scoring 14 points and dishing out 11 assists, and Channing Frye had a nice game as well with his 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Although the Suns shot the ball more efficiently at 42% compared to 40% for the Nuggets, and also won the battle of the boards in a big way 66-54, the game ultimately was decided by the 16 turnovers the Suns committed which led to 26 points for the Nuggets.

This is a tough game to swallow, but the Suns play again tomorrow night at home against the Los Angeles Lakers. That game suddenly becomes much more important after the loss tonight which set the Suns back in their quest for the post season.

Hang in there Suns fans, it ain't over yet! Read on after the jump for a look at the game notes

Game Notes


First Quarter:

Koufos gets the start over McGee for Denver…Could be a good thing for Gortat

Four straight misses for the Suns to start the game.

Shannon Brown finally breaks the lid on the rim with the first bucket for the Suns

Frye with a big man block!

Nice post up by Jared Dudley to get the bucket and one…which he then misses

The Manimal works Frye down low to score the hoop plus get the foul

Koufos busted for the push on Gortat…his second foul. In comes McGee

Frye nails a three

McGee makes first dumb play of game by throwing Gortat for rebound…less that .30 sec after he enters

Brown hits a three now and Suns take a three point lead

Gortat now fouled by Faried on the rebound…Nuggs already in the penalty as Gortat is sent to the line where he hits 1 of 2

Rookie Jordan Hamilton making the most of his opportunity and has already scored 7 points in his first start for Denver

Suns up 13-11 halfway through the first quarter…Shannon Brown leading the Suns so far with 5 points

Gortat loses the rebound to Faried who then gets it to McGee for the dunk…Suns can’t get sloppy

Another Suns turnover and McGee dunks it to tie the game

Suns go on a 6-0 run to retake the lead 25-19…timeout Denver. Frye and Gortat both with 5 points and 5 rebounds a piece…Good work from the Suns front line so far!

Suns bench now trickling in as Childress replaces Dudley who already had 6 points and 2 rebounds. Harrington, Brewer, and Miller in for Faried, Afflalo, and Hamilton for Denver

Childress swats Brewer’s shot to end the first quarter…Very solid start for the Suns on offense and defense

Suns lead 29-21 at the end of the 1st quarter. Suns shooting 50%, Nuggets 33%. Suns with 22rbs, Nuggets with 12rbs. Suns with 5 TO’s, Nuggets with 0 TO’s. Frye and Brown leading the Suns with 7 points each, Jordan Hamilton leading the Nuggets with 7 points.


Second Quarter:

Suns bench unit starts the 2nd quarter with a defensive 3 sec. tech and then a turnover…They have to play smart

Redd picks up where he left off in Utah hitting his first attempt for 2

Suns defense looking slow to rotate and Denver making them pay…Denver cuts the Suns lead to 4

Crazy call by the refs calling a foul on Miller and then erasing the foul and giving it to Denver before finally giving it back to the Suns

Tough shot by Redd that doesn’t drop

Telfair snaps the net to keep the Suns up by 6

Suns second unit looking better now defensively, and forces the Denver offense to commit a turnover.

Redd misses another shot…maybe he’s cooling off

Harrington with back to back buckets to cut the Suns’ lead to 2

Turnover Suns that turns into a fast break for the Nuggs. Brewer is fouled and sent to the line where he ties it up

Dudley and Frye in for Childress and Morris

Afflalo hits a fade-away to take the lead…Redd works his way to the free throw line. Redd misses both

Nash and Gortat come in for Telfair and Lopez

Harrington nails a three and Denver is up by 5

Dudley gets a 2 on the other end but then Afflalo answers with a three

Afflalo hits a quick layup. He’s getting to the rim too easily…Suns need to do a better job at tightening up their D. Nuggets up 45-39 now with a little less than 5 minutes left in the first half.

Nash with a much needed 3 to stop the bleeding

Nash hits another bucket sensing the need to score

Brown hits a three and the Suns retake the lead

Watching Frye I’m really impressed with his attention to defense and rebounding in this game

Suns and Nuggets tied 52-52 at the end of the 1st half. Suns shooting 49%, Nuggets 39%. Suns with 34rbs, Nuggets with 24rbs. Suns with 9 TO’s, Nuggets with 2 TO’s. Dudley leading the Suns with 12 points, Afflalo leading the Nuggets with 17 points.


Third Quarter:

Afflalo hits a three to start the third quarter, Brown must stay on him as hot as he is.

Gortat hits a pick and roll lay up for two

Missed basket leads to transition jam by the Manimal…The Suns have to stay focused and committed to defense

Afflalo is left open again and drains another three…Where was Brown? Denver now up 60-54. Time out Suns

Suns with yet another turnover, already their 2nd of the 2nd quarter and 11th of the game…Too sloppy and it’s costing the Suns big

Gortat picking up a lot of fouls now with three in the quarter…Lopez may have to come in soon

Aaron Afflalo is absolutely scorching the Suns…They need to stop him if they have any chance of winning this game!

Dudley with a big 3!

Brown hits a jumper to pull within 2

Suns and Nuggets going back and forth

Suns losing the battle of the boards so far this quarter

Another turnover this time by Brown

Suns and Nuggets keeping it close…You get the feeling the Suns should be winning handily but the turnovers are killing them

Nuggets lead 78-75 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Suns shooting 47%, Nuggets 38%. Suns with 48rbs, Nuggets with 41rbs. Suns with 14 TO’s, Nuggets with 5 TO’s. Brown leading the Suns with 18 points, Afflalo leading the Nuggets with 27 points.


Fourth Quarter:

Suns bench in to start the 4th quarter

Miller takes Telfair on the dribble to score at the rim

Harrington also killing the Suns from deep…Hits another three to give the Nuggets a 6 point lead

Morris with his hands down on Harrington who knocks down yet another triple in his face. Hand down man down…

Redd hits a much needed 3…Suns down 1

Childress with an offensive putback

Morris looked to be in position for a charge on Harrington but the refs call it a block

Redd with a nice jumper bank shot and the Suns are up 3

Suns now on a 13-1 run…Bench doing its job!

Suns lead 94-90 midway through the 4th quarter

Suns starters coming back in…Need to finish it out strong!

Lopez turns the ball over…Lopez has been playing well defensively so Gentry may leave him in

Faried with a massive dink

Nash with the BIG 3!!!

Suns in a zone defense

Faried with a big alley-oop after getting behind the defense in transition

Gortat comes in for Lopez and fumbles a beautiful pass out of bounds from Nash

Miller gets to the rim to cut the Suns lead to 1 with just over 2 minutes remaining

Nash with a miss but grabs his own rebound and misses another 3 but misses that one as well. Gortat gets the offensive rebound (his 12th overall) and the suns keep possession.

Frye with a bad shot under shot clock pressure and Miller goes to the line after being fouled on the fast break

Miller hits both free throws to give Denver a 1 point lead

Afflalo with a dagger 3 from the corner to give the Nuggets a four point lead with :47 sec left.

Frye misses a three…that should do it

Nuggets win 105-99. Suns shoot 42% Nuggets shoot 40%. Suns with 66 rebounds, Nuggets with 54 rebounds. Suns with 16 TO’s, Nuggets with 5 TO’s. Brown led the Suns with 18 points, Afflalo led Denver with 30 points.


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