Here's what happened.

First Quarter

The Suns start the game with a miss from Markieff Morris jumper, but their defense on the Nets led to two missed baskets in a row on the other end.  Goran Dragic made a great assist to Keef for the easy dunk at the rim to get the first points of the game. Dragic also drove in for a beautiful basket on the next possession that hung on the rim...Plumlee tried to go for the put-back dunk a little too early as it was called for offensive interference.  For the Nets, Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams are the aggressors thus far, each with a couple of baskets in the first few minutes.

A couple of missed shots for the Suns early, and a turnover for a fast break by Joe Johnson at the other end give Brooklyn an early seven point lead, as the Nets are up 15-8 halfway through the first quarter.  Timeout Suns.  Markieff and Dragic scored a couple of baskets, but the Nets are getting good looks inside and extending the lead.  P.J. Tucker, Alex Len, and Anthony Tolliver enter the game for the Suns.  This didn't help matters though, as the Nets continue to extend the lead up to 14 points with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.  Suns are quickly losing control, and need to establish some type of rhythm in a hurry.

Isaiah Thomas enters for Dragic now, but even he missed his first shot.  The Suns have simply gone cold at the moment, and the Nets are showing no signs of slowing.  Isaiah does get the final shot of the quarter to go off of an aggressive take to the basket.

At the end of the first quarter, the Suns trail the Nets 29-17.  Markieff Morris is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.  For the Nets, Bojan Bogdanovic leads with 9 points and 1 rebound.  The Suns are shooting 37% from the field, vs. 71% for Brooklyn.

Second Quarter

Isaiah Thomas gets the first bucket of the second quarter for the Suns, but it was quickly nullified by a basket from Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson, and then a steal off a turnover for another fast-break basket by JJ.

The Suns still can't find the bottom of the rim. Thomas gets a quick steal and shoots a three but it misses, he then gets the offensive rebound and shoots it again from just inside the arc...but that misses too.  Uncharacteristically bad shooting from the Suns is causing them to fall further behind.  The Suns call timeout once again at the nine minute mark of the second quarter, already down 38-19.

Suns continuing to settle for jump-shots instead of getting to the rim, and tonight, they just aren't going.  Gerald Green suddenly got going though, hitting back to back three's and getting to the foul line as well.  He is the hot hand for Phoenix, and they need to find him right now.  Green missed a three on the next possession, but got fouled in the process.  Three FT's for Green, and he makes all three of them.

Suns trying to claw their way back into this game, slowly but surely.  Now down 37-45 after cutting the lead to just eight off of a P.J. Tucker fast break and-one.  Gerald Green is playing inspired, and giving the rest of the team energy as they feed off of his play.  The Suns are starting to go back and forth with the Nets again though.  They can't allow Brooklyn to score at the other end if they want to cut this lead down more before the half.  Gerald Green still taking over the work load for Phoenix, and getting to the line if he can't get an open shot.  The Suns are fighting valiantly to get back in the game, but the Nets are hitting big shots to stay ahead.  Joe Johnson drives down the court to score a fast break basket st the end of the first half to put the Nets back up by 14.

At the end of the first half, the Suns trail the Nets 63-49.   Gerald Green is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 18 points, 1 rebound.  For the Nets, Brook Lopez leads with 16 points and 3 rebounds  The Suns are shooting 40% from the field, vs. 71% for Brooklyn.  Nets are leading in rebounding 11-8.

Third Quarter

The Suns started the third quarter with a miss, then a make by Marcus Morris on the next possession.  Eric Bledsoe made one of the best drives to the basket he made all year to get to the rim for a lay-up.  Hopefully that gets him going.  The Suns took advantage of a couple of Nets turnovers and missed shots to shorten the lead.  Miles Plumlee made a great block on Brook Lopez inside which led to a Dragic three.  The Suns are down only five now with nine minutes to go in the third quarter.  Timeout Nets.

The Suns are definitely tightening up on defense now...finally.  They are starting to go after the Nets and frustrate the ball handler, bothering them on every possession. This is when the Suns are at their best.  They have cut the lead to just three.  Let's see if they can continue.

Phoenix continues to play aggressive, but they are still missing some easy looks to keep the Nets in the lead, but just barely.  Bledsoe makes a three point shot to tie the game, briefly, before the Nets answer back.  It's neck-and-neck now.  Suns foul Joe Johnson on a three point shot that he misses, but he makes all three FT's.  Alex Len is quietly affecting the game by playing solid defense inside.  Bledsoe is coming alive for the Suns now after an almost invisible first half.  He now has 11 points, nine of which have come in the third quarter.  Everytime Phoenix seems primed to make their move and take over, they have a sloppy possession or a bad shot.  Suns still not playing sharply on offense with the consistency they need to win this game.

At the end of the third quarter the Suns trail the Nets 84-78.   Gerald Green is the leading scorer for Phoenix with 18 points, 1 rebound.  For the Nets, Joe Johnson leads with 18 points and 5 rebounds, 2 assists.  The Suns are shooting 48% from the field, vs. 59% for Brooklyn.  Suns are leading in rebounding 32-28.

Fourth Quarter

The Suns begin the fourth and final quarter with an aggressive drive by Marcus Morris going in for the dunk that was rejected at the rim by Mason Plumlee.  The Suns missed their first few shots, but finally got on the board with a huge dunk by Len off a Green assist under the rim.  Green turned the ball over, but made up for it with a steal and a fast break drive against two defenders for the and-one.  He now has 21 points.  Dragic missed a three that had the crowd ready to erupt, but he missed and the Nets get the basket at the other end...They are back up by five.  Plumlee left Garnett open a little too long and he made him pay.  Nets pulling back away again.  Timeout Phoenix.

Defensive intensity will be the key to seeing if the Suns can get back into the lead and get this win.  They have shown it at times, but had lapses that have costed them big.  Suns still hanging around and appear ready to strike, but can they put it all together at the right time?

It's now or never time, as Phoenix is still down one with just over six minutes remaining.  They keep closing the gap just to allow Brooklyn to open it back up.  They need consistency now.

Just like that the Suns are able to take the lead off of a Green jumper, and then get a stop, only to turn the ball over on offense again.  Isaiah Thomas hit a beautiful floater to push the lead to three, and then an aggressive drive and foul where he was able to hit both FT's.  Suns now up five with four minutes remaining.

The Suns once again turn the ball over at a critical time and then Green fouls Bojan to send him to the line.  Suns can't continue to make these mistakes against a steady, veteran team like the Nets.  The Suns have energy and young legs on their side though, and seem determined to stay in the lead.

Back and forth they go, and Deron Williams hits a big three for the Nets to cut the Suns lead down to four with 29 seconds to go.  Now it's all about making your free throws.

They do...and they earn a hard fought win in the end.

Game Over, Suns Win!

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Will the Suns be able to win their second in a row against the Nets at home tonight?

What: Phoenix Suns Vs. Brooklyn Nets

Where: U.S. Airways Center - Phoenix, AZ

When: 7:00 p.m. (AZ)

Watch: FSAZ (locally) / NBA League Pass

The Phoenix Suns are coming off of a hard-fought victory against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night, to improve to 4-3 on the season, and most importantly, avoid falling below .500 for the first time during the Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek era. The Suns were down for most of the game, but somehow found the right mix of energy, hustle, defense, and scoring at just the right time, as Phoenix was able to rally behind Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green in the fourth quarter to get a big win at home.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, they are also coming off of a win at home against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Bojan Bogdanovic (surprisingly, no relation to Suns' draft pick Bogdan Bogdanovic) led the Nets in scoring with 22 points. In addition, Mason Plumlee had his best overall game of the season thus far with his first double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Probable Starting Lineups

Team Suns Nets
PG Eric Bledsoe Deron Williams
SG Goran Dragic Bojan Bogdanovic
SF Marcus Morris Joe Johnson
PF Markieff Morris Kevin Garnett
C Miles Plumlee Brook Lopez

What To Watch For

Post Problems: It's no secret that the biggest weakness for the Phoenix Suns' thus far has been their ability to score, and especially, defend in the post. Just look at their two worst losses thus far...the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies. Both of those teams have strong, skilled bigs. And guess what? Brooklyn happens to have a couple very skilled big men as well in Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, and Mason Plumlee. Although Brooklyn scores the majority of their points through Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, their big men can create problems with their scoring and rebounding. This will definitely be something the Suns need to account for.

Chemistry and Physics: The Suns have struggled thus far to find the right formula that will give them the best rotations to maximize their efficiency, and ensure their best players stay involved and productive. This has been especially concerning with the three very talented point guards; Dragic, Bledsoe, and Thomas. It isn't physically possible for all three to simultaneously play and control the ball on offense, but all three are crucial components to the team, and play starter's minutes. Dragic has looked more involved these last two games, and Bledsoe has shown flashes of dominance. Thomas has been the most consistent overall, save for the game against Sacramento right after his grandfather passed, but he is playing off of the bench. The Suns need to get all three involved tonight, to help get a win against a dangerous Nets team.

Solar Energy: So far this season, the Suns have looked very different at times than the "stupid" Suns fans were used to seeing last year. They haven't seemed as aggressive on offense, or hustled as hard on defense to bother their opponents and cause chaos like they were known for last season. In fact, this past game against the Warriors, in the fourth quarter, was the first time I really saw them play with the same intensity that Phoenix played with on a regular basis last year. It all comes down to energy and hustle, especially on the defensive side of the court. The Suns need to go back to playing with a chip on their shoulder, and give their best effort on each play. Their biggest advantage is their depth, so there is no reason to worry about getting overly tired or playing too many minutes. The Suns need to bring the energy tonight in order to get a win against a much older, slower Nets team.

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