Some say games like these are the kind that can energize a team, bring it together and start off a run of victories or at least more success.
With these Suns, you never know. And to be fair, this was the lowly New Jersey Nets. Except U.S. Airways Center was really starting to turn on the hometown team as the Suns couldn't hit shots to start the third quarter and fell behind by 12.
They rallied, only to fall behind by 12 again, and then 11 at the end of the third. With 10 minutes, 45 seconds to go in the game, Sasha Boo-jajic (Vujacic, he of the hated Lakers last season) hit a three, and the Suns looked finished, down 90-75.
Then the Nets began to miss, the pressure on defense began to take a toll, and the Suns began to rally. Phoenix scored 11 unanswered points, then took a 93-92 lead with 3:43 left in the game on two Jared Dudley free throws. Dudley, Channing Frye and Steve Nash excelled down the stretch, scoring 21 of the Suns' 30 points in the quarter.
Nash hit a runner with 23.1 seconds left to play in regulation that gave the Suns a 103-101 lead. But Kris Humphries dunked seven seconds later, setting up overtime.
The Suns gave up a Vujacic three, but dominated thereafter. Nash gave the Suns a 109-106 lead with two of his eight OT free throws, then Vince Carter, who scored a Suns career high with 23 points, tipped in a miss as the shot clock expired to give the Suns a five-point lead.
The Nets had nothing left.
Nash made some history. He made all 11 of his free throws and passed Mark Price (former Cleveland Cav) in career free-throw percentage, rounded up to 90.40 percent to Price's 90.39. Nash, who had 16 assists with his 23 points, has now made 48 free throws in a row and is six away from his single-season record of 54.
The big matchup of the night between the Lopez brothers (Suns' Robin and Nets' Brook) went to Brook. He's just better with a smoother touch and more agile feet. Brook scored 16 points, but Robin outplayed his brother in the first half and ended up with 11. The brothers went at each other on a few occasions, and Robin was clearly the more animated. He glided in for a running hook shot with 8:37 left in the second quarter, going back door with his brother too late to recover on defense, and smiled going back on defense.
The Suns couldn't afford to let this game slip away, and it almost did. The defense didn't pick up until it was almost too late, the Nets got a lot of easy baskets early, and the offense almost completely slumbered with its third-quarter start. Fortunately for the Suns, these were the 10-28 Nets. They let them back in the game with their own misses and errors.