The Suns continue to show fractures in the embarrassing loss to the Clippers

PHOENIX – Monday’s solar eclipse was supposedly the first since 2017, but astrologers must not have been checking the night skies this Phoenix Suns season when certain stars are absent and how, as a result, the sun is completely engulfed.

Phoenix’s embarrassing inability to get up for games when the opponent is without its best players continued Tuesday in a 105-92 stinker against a Los Angeles Clippers team featuring Kawhi Leonard (right knee inflammation) and James Harden (right knee inflammation). right foot).

A second-half comeback to get within seven after trailing by as many as 37 made the final score look much better than it was.

The stakes could not be higher in the final week of the regular season with a possible fate in the play-in tournament awaiting. The Suns themselves said that the playoffs basically started for them two weeks ago.

But do you know when an organism consumes itself? That’s what it’s like sometimes to watch this Suns team.

A few initial unforced errors immediately triggered the “oh no, here we go again” in all of us, and half-decent looks began to fail, fail, fail as the crowd grew increasingly restless. A 35-4 start opened up the scars of the last two playoff exits at the Footprint Center, and Suns fans rightfully booed en masse before the score became so ridiculous. When Devin Booker made the first of his two free throws to end a scoreless streak that lasted 5:18, they applauded sarcastically. strong.

They were making fun of Booker, the face of the franchise who has been here with them through all the ups and downs. It didn’t matter, it was him and he shouldn’t have done it. The mockery was well deserved.

Phoenix’s continued signs of showing that this is exactly who came true with frightening efficiency. Every slight increase since Christmas has been accompanied by conundrums like Tuesday’s, and if the loss in San Antonio without Victor Wembanyama wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back for many to lose complete faith in the future of this team, this was the last nails the coffin of any remaining Optimism for this Suns season.

All the plummeting losses and terrible connectivity on the court raise the question of accountability in the locker room. Here’s what head coach Frank Vogel, Kevin Durant and Booker said when asked to describe him.

Booker: “I would say it’s better now than it was at the beginning of the season.”

Vogel: “They want to win tomorrow.”

Vogel was followed up on whether he feels his team has responsibility and responded, “Of course.”

Durant asked for clarification on the question before being told that the fan base wanted to know the type of conversations that are happening at times like this in the season.

“We talk about the game and what we need to do better, but we don’t blame a player or anyone,” Durant said. “I guess what fans want to do is assign blame. But we win and lose as a team and we talk about it every day. We can all play better and, yes, that’s usually the conversation. “I know people want to blame a player or a coach, but we win and lose as a team.”

Don’t shoot the messenger here, but if you’re looking for quotes about how bad Tuesday was, there weren’t any that came close to adequately portraying it. The closest thing was Booker confirming that he knows what snowball losses like Tuesday’s feel like.

Choose how much credit you want to give the Suns for the momentum of the last two quarters. Those who do deserve it are the fans, who try to create a spark with their team once the momentum began to build.

If there’s anything to learn from basketball, it’s that Phoenix needs to abandon a second center in the rotation and employ small-ball lineups frequently.

Despite numerous comments that a backup center is not the way to go and that the ways the Suns (46-33) need to activate their offense are best done with five-out groups, Vogel only uses them as a last option like he did. to start the second half. It is not his style to lose even more physicality when the group barely has it and his teams usually have great forwards, but it is time to adapt to what best suits the squad.

Jusuf Nurkic (sprained right ankle) did not play and his status is in doubt for Wednesday’s rematch in Los Angeles (51-28).

A victory for the New Orleans Pelicans (47-32) returned the Suns to seventh place in the standings. Both teams were fortunate to suffer a loss to the Sacramento Kings (45-34) after being up 20 on the Oklahoma City Thunder before falling late.

Sacramento plays New Orleans on Thursday and Phoenix on Friday. The Suns might need the Kings to beat the Pelicans to even New Orleans’ loss total with Phoenix’s before the Suns have to beat Sacramento to secure a tiebreaker that might now be necessary.

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