Woe Are The Suns, Who Lose 109-97 To Hornets Without Nash

Without Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns sputtered their way to another end-of-season loss. Jared Dudley led the team in scoring, and that's never a good thing.

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Nash-less Suns Blow Early Lead, Fall 109-97 To Hornets

Like a number of games this season, this started out swell for the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter, only to be looking backwards by the end of it. Phoenix led by as many as 10 points in the first behind Grant Hill's hot shooting and Marcin Gortat's early inside offense. But, in what was a game of scoring runs, the New Orleans Hornets closed out the quarter on an 18-7 run that put Phoenix down by one.

The team, playing without a resting Steve Nash, didn't do much to compensate in the second quarter but kept things relatively close. But after the halftime intermission, things went downhill. The Suns started out the third quarter giving up an 8-0 run, and the fourth by giving up a 7-0 run and that was about it. Though Phoenix mustered up some minor runs of their own across the second half, they never pulled closer than four the rest of the way.

In what has become a tradition in the Nash years, the Suns allowed another career night from an opponent: The Hornets were powered by such a night from Willie Green, who made a franchise-record 12 straight field goals before missing his last five to finish with a game-leading 31 points. Trevor Ariza helped out with 21 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, and Chris Paul had "only" seven points and 12 assists.

Jared Dudley led Phoenix with 18 points and seven rebounds, but everyone knows that when Dudley leads the team in scoring, it means bad things for the Suns. He did, however, get his tenth dunk of the year, a feat he promised to achieve just prior to the game. So that's good. Starting for Nash, Aaron Brooks had nine points and nine assists in his further audition for a place on next year's roster.

While the Suns weren't abysmal offensively, they were pretty abysmal defensively, allowing the Hornets to shoot 56% from the field and 53% from three.

The Phoenix Suns must win all of their three remaining games to finish at .500. Should they not accomplish that, it will be the first time the team finished with a losing record since the Nash-less 2003-2004 season.


Phoenix Suns Schedule: Visit To Hornets Reminds Of Painful Losses

The Phoenix Suns are out of playoff contention, but their season must continute, and it does so tonight against the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena.

It's a game that's sure to remind the Suns of where their season went wrong. Two losses to the Hornets in March buried the Suns in the standings and contributed to their missing the playoffs for the second time in three years. A defeat to New Orleans on March 16 dropped them to 33-33, and was their fourth straight overall. Nine days later, Phoenix dipped to 36-35 after another loss to the Hornets, which kicked off another four-game losing streak. When March ended, the Suns were two games below .500 and effectively, but not officially, out of the playoffs.

Despite losing two-time All-Star forward David West for the season, the Hornets are on a hot streak, winning five of their last seven behind Chris Paul and Carl Landry, West's replacement in the starting lineup. New Orleans clinched a playoff spot Wednesday night.

The game tips at 5:00 p.m. local time on My45 and will be broadcast on Sports 620 radio. Fans can follow along during the game with other Suns fans at the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.

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