It wasn't a very happy holidays for the Phoenix Suns, who suffered abundantly during Christmas week because of their always shoddy defense and sleigh-loads of missed opportunities.
Indeed, Santa must've had the Suns marked on his "naughty" list, as Jolly Ol' Saint Nick delivered three straight losses to Planet Orange, including yesterday's defeat by fantastic rookie Blake Griffin (28 points and 12 rebounds) and the long-suffering Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite the debut of two new faces in the lineup (the recently acquired Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus), the Purple and Orange gang also fell to the San Antonio Spurs a week ago and the league-leading Miami Heat on Thursday night.
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Even with the addition of Gortat and Pietrus (via the recent trade with the Orlando Magic that brought Vince Carter to the Valley) and Miami's reduced lineup (Dwyane Wade's sore knee kept him out of the game), the Suns were decimated by their opponents 95-83.
Vince Carter was riding the injured-reserve list, and the Suns definitely could've used his talents in the game, which saw LeBron James lead Miami with 36 points and run roughshod over Phoenix. Miami led throughout the night via King James' heroics, as well as those of Chris Bosh, who had 23 points and 11 boards. Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers chipped in11 each.
Meanwhile, Jared Dudley had a career-high night with 33 point and 12 rebounds, while Steve Nash dished out 18 assists for the Suns. The Heat scorched the Suns in the first half, leading by as much as 11, and things only got worse. LeBron started the third quarter by sinking a three-pointer to give Miami a nine-point lead. The Suns didn't get closer than seven the remainder of the period. Bosh's three-point play in the closing minutes moved the lead to 12.
Despite shooting four-of-seven from three-point range in the last quarter, Planet Orange couldn't trim the deficit under nine. J-Duds had 13 points in the final period, but Nash never got going offensively and had just four points.