Suns Season Over After Spectacular Flame Out in Game 7

Matthew JohnsonMay 15, 2022
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Our running blog throughout the Phoenix Suns run through the 2022 NBA Playoffs. 

Western Conference Semifinals

Game 7 vs. Dallas

May 15, 2022

Suns
Suns

90

Final

Box Score

123

Mavericks
Mavericks

Well, That Sucked

The Phoenix Suns played the most miserable game of basketball at the absolute worst time and lost Game 7 at home to the Dallas Mavericks, ending the season and leaving Suns fans without a championship for the 53rd time in 53 seasons.

The Suns were so bad Sunday in Game 7, Luka Doncic had 27 points at halftime compared to Phoenix’s 27 total points as a team at halftime. Yes, it was also so bad that this game recap can be written at halftime without any worry of having to rewrite it. I just need to plug in the final score and kiss this season goodbye.

It won’t, however, be an easy one to forget.

There is no explanation for such an awful performance when the moment commanded something at least coherent.

The Suns, who were the best regular season team in the NBA by 8 games, put on the jerseys and laced up their shoes but that was about it. Phoenix’s gameplay was unrecognizable, incompetent and inexcusable.

Dallas’ game 7 blowout looked like one of those early season college football games where Alabama beats up on a Division II directional Tennessee State school. At least in those games, the bigger school pays the smaller one to take the beating.

In the Suns case, it’s only their fans who are left holding the bill for expensive playoff tickets. The Suns owe all those fans in the arena a full refund.

The offseason moves can wait for another day.

Game 6 at Dallas

May 12, 2022

Suns
Suns

86

Final

Box Score

113

Mavericks
Mavericks

Remember What We Said About Home Court Advantage?

Same script. Different night.

I turned this game off early in the third quarter and resumed watching The Wylds Season 2 on Amazon (fantastic thriller!). I needed some drama and excitement on TV Thursday night and this Western Conference Semifinals series has not delivered a single second of it.

The home team has destroyed the road team in all six games in this series. The Phoenix Suns looked totally uncomfortable last night in Dallas. It was a carbon copy of Games 3 and 4 last weekend: an unholy amount of turnovers, poor shooting, frustrating fouls. It’s all around bad basketball from the road team in every game.

Good thing the Suns have Game 7 here in Phoenix.

The home crowd and home court appears to be the only thing that matters.

Depending on the outcome of the Boston-Milwaukee series, the Dallas-Phoenix Game 7 is set for Sunday, May 15 at either 12:30pm (if Bucks win series in 6) or 5pm (if Celtics force Game 7).

Game 5 vs. Dallas

May 10, 2022

Suns
Suns

110

Final

Box Score

80

Mavericks
Mavericks

There’s Something About That Home Court Advantage

This is what the Phoenix Suns fought so hard for all season long: to have home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. The Suns simply play better in front of their home crowd in this postseason and we’re okay with that because they’re guaranteed to have Game 7 in their building if and when it comes to that.

At the rate this series is going, you should already make plans for Game 7 in Phoenix on Sunday.

The Suns fell behind early in Game 5 but rallied to take a three point lead before halftime. But it was after half that Phoenix easily put away a lifeless Dallas team, outscoring the Mavs 33-14 in the third quarter and 28-20 in the fourth quarter. The 61-34 second half was the most important 24 minutes of the entire season for the Phoenix Suns, and they did it in front of a loud and raucous home crowd.

The home team has looked dominant in every game this series and there’s no reason to believe that will change. We’ll see if it does Thursday night at Dallas for Game 6.

Expect Game 7 back here in Phoenix on Sunday.

Games 3 & 4 at Dallas

May 8, 2022

Suns
Suns

101

Final

Box Score

111

Mavericks
Mavericks

Complete Horror Show in Dallas

I’m combining games 3 and 4 into one post here because they both stunk out loud if you’re the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns looked nothing like the team that set a franchise record for wins — they didn’t even look like the team that won the first two games of this series.

Turnovers sunk Phoenix in both games, allowing Dallas to put up more shots and score more points, despite shooting a lower percentage. 20 three pointers from the Mavs in Game 4 was also a major factor, but I believe fewer turnovers and a better effort from Phoenix can overcome that.

Chris Paul celebrated his 37th birthday on Friday and promptly had two of the worst games of his career over the weekend. Starters Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder have largely gone quiet since Game 2. And outside of JaVale McGee, the Suns are getting next to no production from bench players.

Devin Booker said it best in his post game news conference following the Game 4 turd when he said they have to flush this one down the toilet.

Clear the pipes and clear your schedule for Tuesday night at 7pm when the Suns come back home for Game 5. TNT has the TV coverage.

Game 2 vs. Dallas

May 4, 2022

Suns
Suns

129

Final

Box Score

109

Mavericks
Mavericks

Chris Paul Appreciation Post

Death, taxes and Chris Paul taking over in the fourth quarter. These are the guarantees in life and we’re all spoiled for having witnessed the latter in a Suns win over Dallas in Game 2. Paul scorched Luka Doncic and the Mavs defense in the beginning part of the fourth quarter, leading the Suns to outscore Dallas 40 to 26 in the final 12 minutes.

After trailing at halftime, Phoenix outscored the Mavericks 71 to 49 in the 2nd half, with most of the damage coming from Paul (28 points) and Devin Booker (30 points).

It got so bad for Dallas, head coach Jason Kidd emptied the bench with nearly four minutes left to play and the Suns laughed their way to a 20 point victory.

Fouls were a major concern for Phoenix when the game was close in the third quarter. Deandre Ayton was saddled with foul trouble and played only 18 minutes. His backup JaVale McGee was only on the court for 10 minutes, also in foul trouble most of the night. Third string center and fan favorite Bismack Biyombo officially had 18 minutes and 23 seconds of playing time –just six seconds shy of Ayton’s total time on the court.

While you could point to the fouls being an issue going forward, it doesn’t diminish the fact the Suns ran away with this one late and Dallas seems incapable of playing a complete 48 minutes of basketball against this team.

Game 3 is Friday night in Dallas. Suns lead the series 2-0.

Fan of the Night

Shoutout to the Suns fans sitting near the player tunnel that clearly got under Luka Doncic’s skin in the third quarter. Suns fans make a difference in every game, no matter what other local media people try to tell you.

Courtesy NBA on TNT
Courtesy NBA on TNT

Game 1 vs. Dallas

May 2, 2022

Suns
Suns

121

Final

Box Score

114

Mavericks
Mavericks

Suns Jump on Mavs Early, Cruise to Game 1 Victory

The Phoenix Suns jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game and never looked back and they never trailed. At times in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals it looked too easy for Phoenix, who shot 50.5% on field goals and made 11 three-pointers.

Dallas doesn’t have the size like New Orleans that gave the Suns fits in the first round, so Phoenix was able to snag 13 offensive rebounds and 51 total for the game… far more than the 36 total rebounds for the Mavericks.

Deandre Ayton was the star of Game 1 with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Devin Booker chipped in 23 points and Cam Johnson had 17 off the bench.

The Suns led by double digits for most of the game then went cold shooting in the fourth quarter and allowed Dallas to get the score closer than the game really was. That’s something that will need to be fixed heading into Game 2 on Wednesday night at Footprint Center.

Fan of the Night

Suns fans started a “Suns in Four” chant late in the fourth quarter and the TNT TV cameras captured this kid partaking in it and throwing up the four fingers — an homage to our 2021 postseason hero Nick McKellar, the Suns in 4 guy from Denver.

Courtesy NBA on TNT
Courtesy NBA on TNT

Western Conference First Round

Game 6 at New Orleans

April 28, 2022

Suns
Suns

115

Final

Box Score

109

Pelicans
Pelicans

Paul’s Perfection Puts Phoenix Past Pels in Playoffs

Alliteration overload in that sub headline —  but that’s what we do.

A perfect 14 of 14 shooting night to eliminate an opponent in Game 6 of the playoffs — that’s what Chris Paul does.

The Suns point guard scored 33 points and dished out 8 assists and once again put the team on his back to rally from a ten point halftime deficit and the Phoenix Suns advance to the Western Conference quarterfinals with a 4-2 series win over New Orleans.

Devin Booker returned from a hamstring injury to score 13 points in 32 minutes. It wasn’t a lot but Booker came up clutch in crunch time including a three point make late in the fourth quarter.

Deandre Ayton had the hot hand early and finished with 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting. He gets to face Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in the next round of the playoffs. Doncic was of course the breakout player from the same draft the Suns picked Ayton number one overall, which led to years of debates. Those arguments have died down as of late but expect it to rear its ugly head again in the coming week as this series tips off Monday night back here in Phoenix.

Image of the Night

In the postgame news conference, the Suns perfectly trolled Pelicans fans who printed and wore F*** Jae Crowder t-shirts to Game 6.

Game 5 vs. New Orleans

April 26, 2022

Suns
Suns

112

Final

Box Score

97

Pelicans
Pelicans

Bridges Was Everywhere When Suns Needed Him Most

That was fun!

The Phoenix Suns turned in a full team effort for 48 minutes in Game 5, seemingly the first time all series they dominated from tipoff to the final horn. Mikal Bridges led the way with a workmanlike 31 points on 12 of 17 shooting, to go along with 5 rebounds and four blocked shots. Bridges seemed to be in the right place at the right time all game long and was clearly the best player on the court in a crucial Game 5.

Bridges’ impact on defense was just as important, holding CJ McCollum to 10 points and Brandon Ingram to 7 points on the shots when he defended those players. His performance came at a time when the Suns needed it most.

One more win and the Suns are on to the next round. They will try to eliminate the Pelicans Thursday night in New Orleans. Get out of work early that day because tipoff is 4:30pm Arizona time.

TNT and Bally Sports Arizona have the TV coverage.

Game 4 at New Orleans

April 24, 2022

Suns
Suns

103

Final

Box Score

118

Pelicans
Pelicans

Well, That Was Miserable

There was nothing fun about watching the Suns Game 4 defeat to the Pelicans Sunday night. The Suns missed wide open threes, air-balled a few, got outrebounded 48 to 39 and Chris Paul turned in the worst playoff game of his Hall of Fame career. In sum, the Suns played one of their worst games of the entire season at one of the worst possible times. The Pelicans dominated Game 4 to tie the first round series 2-2.

It’s now a best of 3 series and the Suns need to desperately forget what happened Sunday and remember the magic that helped them win 64 regular season games.

Game 5 is back here in Phoenix Tuesday night at 7pm.

TNT and Bally Sports Arizona have the TV coverage.

Game 3 at New Orleans

April 22, 2022

Suns
Suns

114

Final

Box Score

111

Pelicans
Pelicans

Hey Suns Haters, Not So Fast

I have to be totally transparent and admit I was coaching a little league baseball game during most the Suns Game 3 win Friday night. I saw only the final minute of the fourth quarter and heard a few minutes on the game on radio driving home from yet another little league beatdown (10th time in 11 games we’ve been destroyed).

What I have witnessed, however, was the dogged determination to doubt this Suns team by nearly everyone in the national media in the last three days. Some local Suns fans are guilty of that as well. No doubt, losing Devin Booker to injury for up to three weeks is going to hurt, but a franchise best 64-win team isn’t going to fold against a 36-win Pelicans team. Especially when the Suns have a better road record than all other NBA teams have home records! That stat by itself should tell you how stupid good this Phoenix team is this year.

Perhaps we should be thankful for the naysayers, because it apparently provided the fuel Deandre Ayton needed to turn in one of the best games of his career: 28 points and 17 rebounds. The 28 points were a playoff career high for the Suns big man and included a three point make and 13 of 20 shooting.

This past week gave us ridiculous commentary from talking heads at ESPN, with classically moronic statements such as “Chris Paul is not a transcendent player,” and “Brandon Ingram is the best player in the series.” Let’s thank Chris Russo and Kendrick Perkins for being foolish enough to go on massive platforms and spout that utter nonsense, because the Suns point guard did what he does best by taking over the fourth quarter, scoring 19 points in the final 12 minutes to secure the Game 3 win and a Suns 2-1 series advantage.

Game 4 is Sunday, April 24 in New Orleans. 6:30pm.

TNT and Bally Sports Arizona have the TV coverage.

Game 2 vs. New Orleans

April 19, 2022

Suns
Suns

114

Final

Box Score

125

Pelicans
Pelicans

Booker Goes Down to Injury

Suns superstar guard Devin Booker was enjoying one of those magical kind of shooting nights in the first half, scoring 31 points while sinking seven three-pointers. He also fist-bumped a baby sitting in the crowd after falling back into the front row on a foul. Booker was living a charmed life in Game 2 — then he pulled up with a hamstring injury trying to chase down a shot on defense in the third quarter. Booker sat out the rest of the game and was forced to watch the Pelicans shoot the lights out in the 2nd half and tie the series at 1-1.

Suns fans might be holding their collective breath for a long time. Booker has missed significant stretches of games due to hamstring issues in the past. This latest flare up comes at the worst possible time, during the playoffs when the Suns are by far the best team in the NBA.

After one of the best defensive performances of the season in Game 1, the Suns turned in perhaps one of their worst in Game 2. They had no answer for New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram and his 37 points on 61.9% shooting. The Suns had no answer for the rest of the Pelicans’ 56.7% 3-point shooting. Thankfully the NBA playoff schedule has given Phoenix two days off to search for answers — and to heal.

Game 3 is Friday, April 22 in New Orleans. 6:30pm.

ESPN and Bally Sports Arizona have the TV coverage.

Crowd Shot of the Night

Phoenix Suns fans are the best in the NBA and the national TV broadcasts love to show it.

Courtesy NBA on TNT
Courtesy NBA on TNT

Game 1 vs. New Orleans

April 17, 2022

Suns
Suns

110

Final

Box Score

99

Pelicans
Pelicans

The Chris Paul Factor

Suns fans have known this for a long time: point guard Chris Paul takes over the game in the fourth quarter. Paul scored 19 of his game high 30 points in the final quarter and single-handedly put the Suns on his back to fend off a furious comeback attempt from a scrappy Pelicans squad.

New Orleans scored only 34 points in the first half, but exploded for 37 in the third quarter to cut into the Suns lead that hovered around 20 points for most of the game up to that point.

Although the Suns let the Pelicans get close in that third quarter, Phoenix never trailed for a second in Game 1. Devin Booker started the game with a 3-pointer seconds after the opening tip. Booker finished with 25 points and played a team high 40 minutes.

The Suns defense locked down the Pelicans early and often. Center Deandre Ayton led the ferocious defensive effort with four blocks, Paul had three steals and Defensive Player of the Year finalist Mikal Bridges shut down New Orleans guard C.J. McCollum. According to ESPN Stats & Info, McCollum shot 0-9 with Bridges as the primary defender.

The NBA title requires a team to win 16 games in one postseason. This game was win number one —  15 more to go.

Game 2 is Tuesday, April 19 at Footprint Center. 7pm.

TNT and Bally Sports Arizona have the TV coverage.

Crowd Shot of the Night

Phoenix Suns fans are the best in the NBA and the national TV broadcasts love to show it.

Courtesy NBA on TNT
Courtesy NBA on TNT

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