No matter what you may have heard, the Suns did NOT shoot
themselves in the foot in the fourth period Sunday.

Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki greet each other before the Suns hosted Dallas on Sunday.
(NBAE Photos)

I’m not saying they didn’t try, mind you. But the way they were shooting, they couldn’t have hit the FLOOR, let alone the foot. And of course, anything higher than foot or floor, like the basket, was even further out of the question.

In case you’re not catching my drift, let me put it another way. If the Suns had been shooting darts in that period several spectators in the front rows, and even a couple in the upper level, would have needed treatments for wounds.

And if you prefer numbers to rambling rhetoric, the second highest scoring team in the NBA hit only 3 of 19 shots from the field, went more than seven minutes without a point, and managed only 9 in those final 12 minutes. It also went oh-for-five on threes and had four times as many turnovers as assists.

Thus, even though the Mavs weren’t exactly shooting the lights out themselves, they were able to climb out of a 14-point hole and pull away in the closing minutes, thereby washing three of the most solid periods of basketball the Suns have played all year right down the drain.

One theory for this reversal of fortunes was that the Mavs were simply more desperate for this win — and maybe they were. But while they may not have been as downright desperate, the Suns were at least sorely in need of it themselves.

Coach Mike wasn’t sure whether the meltdown was due more to Dallas “D” or Suns “O”, and even threw in a “whatever” to cover all the bases. Steve Nash called it an “anomaly”, and Amare Stoudemire said, “We just didn’t score. It’s that simple.”

Amare had another huge game with 31 points, but even he had trouble locating the hoop in that frigid fourth, hitting only 2 of 6 shots. But Nash had even more trouble, going zero for six, and was only 4 of 17 for the game, with only one fewer turnover (5) than the entire Dallas team.

And if that’s not an anomaly then God really didn’t make little green apples and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summer time.

And speaking of anomalies, although the Suns lead the league in blocked shots, Jason Kidd had one more (4) than the entire Phoenix team. He also had had as many steals (4) as the Suns, and had 7 assists and only 1 turnover in a brilliant all-around performance.

Dirk Nowitzki had 12 of his 32 points in that fourth period, and also had 12 rebounds, an effort that seemed as gutsy as it was great given that at times he still seemed to be bothered by the ankle injury that sidelined him for some two weeks.

Even as myopic as they were, the Suns might have still managed to somehow survive if they hadn’t put the Mavs in the bonus less than four minutes into the final period, a circumstance that ultimately led to 13 trips to the free throw line and 11 points for them. The Suns also took an 18-7 hammering on the boards in the final period.

How you look at this one depends a lot on which half of the glass you are prone to focus on — the empty half or the full half.

If the latter, you take considerable comfort in the how good the Suns looked in the first three periods, and shrug off the fourth as indeed just one of those things (i.e. — a n anomaly).

If the former, you’re so bummed out by the fourth quarter you don’t even remember the first three, and refuse to be cheered up.

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