The Phoenix Suns were beaten 99-97 by a New York Knicks squad that was without Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night. Poor play down the stretch squandered a 36-point effort from Jared Dudley and left Suns fans scratching their heads and searching for answers for how the Suns could have lost such "a winnable game".
Jim Coughenour of Bright Side of the Sun summed up the thoughts of many Suns fans in the conclusion of his recap of the loss:
Finding a way to lose the damn game down the stretch. Sitting here typing this I'm still completely discomfited how the Suns managed to screw up in such spectacular fashion in the closing seconds. In what is a microcosm of the entire season, the Suns failed to execute down the stretch while another team rose to the occasion. The Knicks (arguably) sixth-best player is a better closer than anyone on our (much more talented) team.
That "sixth-best player" is Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith, who hit a game-winning fade-away jumper as a part of his 27 points on the night. He also added five steals.
Another concern of Suns fans might be the health of point guard Goran Dragic, who was fouled from behind by Smith on a breakaway layup late in the second quarter. Dragic left the game with contusions on his back, right hip and wrist. Coughenour noted that the Suns actually played better without their starting point guard, who had struggled in the first half.
The Suns will try to bounce back as they hit the road to take on the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. MT.