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The Suns are failing to show any sort of ‘sense of urgency’

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Last night, the Phoenix Suns suffered arguably their worst loss of the season to the San Antonio Spurs, a 104-102 defeat. The Suns have now accounted for three of the Spurs’ 16 wins this season.

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With the Spurs (16-56) missing Victor Wembanyama, yesterday’s game marked sixth time in eight games Phoenix played a team missing its best player.

The Suns (42-30) have been hovering around the sixth to eighth seed in the Western Conference for all of these matchups and had their whole starting five healthy. Every one of these games became that much more of a must-win situation and the chance to capitalize on opponents facing injuries.

Phoenix instead dropped two of these six, the first of which came to the Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo, last Sunday, March 17. Phoenix allowed Milwaukee to score 82 points in the first half and tie an NBA record for most 3-pointers in a half with 18.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Suns’ star guard Bradley Beal said following this Milwaukee loss. “It’s over now we move on to the next game. But for sure, we definitely can’t lay eggs like that. We got to come out with a lot of better focus and a lot more sense of urgency than what we’ve been having. That’s been way, way unacceptable, and we all know that. We got to be better these last 14 (games) and really lock in. It starts with us three (Beal, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant), and our attention to detail and our focus. When we’re good and we’re focused and locked in, the rest of the team can follow.”

Yesterday, Booker (36 points) and Durant (29 points) were two of only three Suns to score in double-figures. Beal, who was injured in the fourth quarter, finished with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting.

The Suns did enter last night’s contest on a three-game win streak, but if they are wanting to improve this “sense of urgency,” then why did Beal say this following the San Antonio loss?

Booker had a similar quote to Beal on the outlook of the Suns following the NBA All-Star game more than a month ago on Feb. 18.

“It’s go time,” Booker said. “It’s time to turn it up a little bit and just compete at the highest level … remain and stay healthy. Just want to peak at the right time. You want to play the right basketball and just keep getting better and keep getting better before the playoffs.”

Following Booker saying this, Phoenix has gone 9-8 since the All-Star break.

The Suns had a record of 14-8 with the Big 3 all healthy before the break. Their offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) with Booker, Beal and Durant on the court was 125.7 and defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) was 112.7, good for a 12.7 net rating (point differential per 100 possessions).

Since the break, Phoenix has gone 5-4 with the three stars in the lineup. Their offensive rating in this stretch with the star trio on the floor together is 118.8 and the defensive rating has dropped to 122.0, making a -3.2 net rating.

That is completely inexcusable for three players who are being trusted to hopefully deliver the franchise their first NBA championship.

Additionally, both Beal (sprained right ring finger) and Jusuf Nurkić (right ankle sprain) remain injured. Both reportedly did not practice today and are questionable for tomorrow’s road game against the defending-champion Denver Nuggets, per AZ Central’s Duane Rankin.

With only 10 games left, and the Suns facing teams all with better records than them and a combined .647 winning percentage, is there any chance of them fixing their problems or is too late?

Subscribe to Burn+ to hear my thoughts on this question on the next Burn City Suns Talk Podcast releasing tomorrow.

Frank Vogel: Suns loss to Spurs was ‘unacceptable’

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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