The Phoenix Suns held a lead going into the fourth quarter on Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings. However, with a team that has the offensive capabilities and the ability to get hot like the Kings, the Suns had to expect Sacramento to be in contention to get the win at the end of the game, which ultimately turned out to be the case.
As the Kings steadily chipped away at Phoenix’s lead, the Suns once again found themselves in a tight game late in the fourth quarter. I talked not long ago about how it seemed that Phoenix was almost always finding their way into games that could be decided by one shot or one big play late in the fourth quarter and a lot of their early season success was due to them getting big breaks in those situations.
On Tuesday night, though, the breaks weren’t going the Suns’ way. Part of the reason was surprisingly solid defense from the Kings, but Phoenix’s shots weren’t falling late in the final period, including a three-point attempt to try and get the win with five seconds left. Ultimately, the Suns dropped the game by a score of 107-104.
The loss to Sacramento marks Phoenix’s third-straight loss. What’s remarkable is that their three consecutive losses have come by a combined margin of just six points. What seems to be happening is something I suspected might happened when I wrote about them being in close games previously: they simply aren’t getting the same opportunities and breaks late in games.
You can say that this Suns team is playing over their heads or whatever, but there is something to be said for the fact that they’ve been in almost every game that they’ve played. However, it’s hard for a younger and inexperienced team like Phoenix to put themselves in tight situations late in games on a consistent basis. This team is better than most people projected without a doubt, but they are going to suffer tough losses all year if they don’t find ways to put teams away and avoid close games late in the fourth quarter.