No rest for the weary. No win either.
You couldn’t charge all of this one to tired legs left over from the grueling overtime loss in Denver just 24 hours earlier. But it certainly didn’t help, especially in the fourth period when the Suns couldn’t control either the plucky Wolves or the basketball.
Still you have to give them some props for giving it their best shot. Well, maybe not their best shot, but certainly their guttiest one, given the circumstances.
But while fatigue can’t be totally discounted as a factor, a more significant one was a problem that has plagued this team since the first day of training camp – turnovers!!!
They only had 13 (and the “only” should tell you all you need to know about the kind of ball handling year it’s been) but five of them came in the fourth period, and the points-scored-off-turnovers count was 19-7 in favor of Minnesota). That, and a 19-9 hammering on the offensive boards, made the difference.
The main reason the Suns still had a chance to pull it out with a last-second three-pointer is that the Wolves, while industrious and sincere, do not shoot particularly well. In fact, the 43 percent clip they fired at on Friday night was about their average.
The Suns, on the other hand, are the best shooting team in the league, and by a wide margin. But while they are adept at shooting at the hoop, they are also, alas, almost as adept at shooting themselves in the feet.
Early on this was to be more or less expected, what with all the roster, coaching, and philosophy changes, but the expectation was that this problem would be corrected as the season wore on. And indeed, there is still plenty of time for that to happen.
It isn’t just the number of turnovers, mind you. In no sport can statistics be so misleading as in basketball. It’s the type and timing of them that can really damage a team. And the Suns have a tendency to commit ones that more often than not either keep them from putting teams away early and/or beating them late.
The bottom line: The good news is the Suns are still seven games above .500. The bad news is they are embarking on a six-game road trip.