The difficult road back to contention continued Friday night in Phoenix as the Suns lost to Miami and may have lost another star.
Back with a 1-5 record from a season-long six-game road trip, the Phoenix Suns were hoping to get back on track at home against Miami. The Heat was on game five of a road trip, putting the Suns in a position to jump on Miami and break a losing streak potentially. Instead, Phoenix lost another starter to injury and fell for the fifth straight game, 104-96.
Another slow start followed by a tough climb for Phoenix
In what must be starting to feel a bit like groundhog’s day to the players in the locker room, the Suns again led for the first five minutes of the game. However, that was as far as things went as Miami settled in like an experienced boxer and methodically outplayed the Suns to take a first-quarter lead they would never fully relinquish the rest of the night.
Phoenix tied the game once at 44 in the second, but Miami again hopped in front. The closest Phoenix came in the second half was cutting the deficit to one near the end of the third quarter. However, a -0 run by Victor Oladipo ended any hope for the Suns, who never got any closer to Miami than the five points they trailed by to start the fourth quarter.
The score was close, and Phoenix hung around, but realistically they were never in a position to win this game, which is a reflection of the team’s current state, which got worse in the first half of Friday’s game.
Suns lose another starter to injury as Paul sits out the second half
Phoenix was already without starters Devin Booker and Cameron Johnson, plus sixth-man Cameron Payne is out. However, on Friday, point guard Chris Paul left the game with just under five minutes to go in the second quarter and never returned.
This left the Suns without a real ballhandler down the stretch as they relied heavily on Duane Washington Jr. in the third quarter, but Landry Shamet was the primary ballhandler in the fourth.
The Suns will have to hope Paul is not out for long as Booker is still out for at least another dozen games, and there is no timeline for Johnson’s return. Losers of 13 of their last 17 games, the Phoenix Suns need a little luck and a lot of health right now and had neither on Friday against Miami.