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Big Takeaways from the Suns Loss to the Spurs


The (2-2) Phoenix Suns fell to the (2-2) San Antonio Spurs, 115-114. The Suns were up for most of the game even expanding their lead to upwards of 20 points during the third quarter. They were not able to hold on to the lead as San Antonio stormed back in the fourth quarter. This left fans and pundits dumbfounded. One big takeaway is that the team needs Devin Booker and Bradley Beal but there is no timetable on when they will be back. So, what are the other takeaways from this game?

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Clutch Time Blunders

The Phoenix Suns have two losses on the young season. They were up by double figures going into the fourth quarter in both games. The first loss was against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns were outscored 28-11 in the fourth quarter and lost the game, 100-95. Phoenix had eight turnovers in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles loaded up against Kevin Durant on defense.

In their following game against the Utah Jazz the Suns did a great job of taking care of the ball. They only turned the ball over 11 times in that entire game. The issues were only temporarily taken care of as they reappeared against the Spurs. The Suns had 19 turnovers compared to only 12 for San Antonio. One of those 19 turnovers led to the game winning bucket.

There is a lot of contact on this play. It is clear by Durant’s reaction that he believed he was fouled. Suns’ head coach Frank Vogel went as far to say it in the post game press conference.

Kevin Durant and Frank Vogel have a legit complaint about the no-call on that play but the Suns should not have been in that situation. The Suns were outscored 33-19 in the fourth quarter by the Spurs. The game should not have been that close and Vogel could of called a timeout. Giving the Suns a chance to advance the ball, making it harder for San Antonio to trap Durant.

How do the Suns fix this clutch time issue?

The easy fix would be to get both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal back on the court. The addition of those ball-handlers, play-makers, and scoring threats makes it so much harder for a defense to load up on one player. Now, they might not be back for the next game so the Suns need Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen to take some of the play-making responsibility off of Durant.

If Durant is on the court he will occupy so much space and attention while Gordon or Allen run the pick and roll with Jusuf Nurkic or Drew Eubanks.

On this play Jordan Goodwin sets a screen for Gordon, Gordon gets into the lane and passes it to an open Nassir Little for the three. This type of play can be run with Durant in Little’s spot. The player guarding Durant will be in a difficult position. As he has to decide whether or not to help on the drive while leaving one of the best shooters of all-time open in the corner or sticking close to Durant and possibly giving up a lay-up to the guy driving to the hoop.

The Suns get a chance to get immediate revenge on the Spurs. If the game is close in the fourth quarter don’t be surprised if there are plays where Durant is the outlet instead of the ball-handler on a significant amount of plays. The Suns face off against the Spurs on Thursday, November 2nd.

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