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Suns missed probability to take stress off in loss to Pels

The Suns have examined our endurance. They’ve stretched the vary of our feelings, from exhilaration to disgust. Nothing will come simple on their street to championship or bust.

A 113-105 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday was simply the newest proof.

“Separately,” Suns head coach Frank Vogel mentioned. “Simply win the following sport. That’s our mindset for the following 4. And wherever we land within the standings, we’ll be OK.”

There was a lot on the road at Footprint Heart. There was an opportunity to construct actual momentum, feeding a perception that the Suns had lastly discovered one thing coming into the ultimate week of the season. That, by some means, they’d lastly unlocked their true id with simply 5 video games remaining.

There was a golden probability to unofficially escape the perils of the play-in match. The Suns maintain the tiebreaker towards the Pelicans within the Western Convention standings, and a victory on Sunday would’ve successfully put a high six seed within the icebox.

Didn’t occur. And now our NBA group is again to dwelling on the sting, again to being a cliffhanger.

After the Suns posted a powerful opening quarter, the Pelicans upped their physicality and defensive depth. They badgered Kevin Durant into the worst plus/minus ranking of all 10 starters. They snapped Devin Booker’s string of three consecutive performances of fifty extra factors towards the Pelicans. They held the Suns bench to seven factors.

They took residence a much-needed victory with a heavy dose of physicality and depth that clearly agitated the Suns. Jose Alvarado reprised his function as a sticky nuisance, a job he performed to near-perfection towards the Suns of their playoff matchup two seasons in the past.

After the sport, Vogel once more lamented the uncalled fouls towards his basketball group. However they higher get used to it. It’s precisely what the Suns will face from their opponent and the officers as soon as the playoffs start.

The Suns entered the sport on one thing of a roll, displaying the type of dominance that makes them such a daunting playoff opponent. That they had improved tremendously in transition protection and a spotlight to element. That they had held six of their earlier 9 opponents to 106 factors or fewer, truly resembling an excellent defensive group.

That cohesion/connectivity frayed aside towards the Pelicans. C.J. McCollum caught hearth within the second interval but was by no means defended with any sense of urgency. Similar with Alvarado, even after he drained 5 three-point pictures. The power and urgency to shut out on shooters was as soon as once more AWOL. And as soon as the sport turned a back-alley battle, Zion Williamson was simply the most effective participant on the ground, dominating on each ends.

“They wished it just a little greater than we did,” mentioned Bradley Beal, who was excellent for many of his 33-point efficiency.

A scarcity of urgency? Once more? At this level?

“I don’t suppose it’s a difficulty,” Beal mentioned. “Why it wasn’t there, I don’t know. I believe we have been energetic sufficient to win the sport … however you would see they’d just a little extra battle.”

In the long run, the Pelicans made performs and the Suns couldn’t make pictures. As Durant mentioned, it’s a make-or-miss league. However additionally they missed an enormous alternative to win a house sport and take super stress off the ultimate week of the season.

As an alternative, the Suns selected the laborious method. As common.

Attain Bickley at Take heed to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports activities.

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