The Phoenix Suns split their games this weekend, beating the Utah Jazz 95-83 on the road while getting beat 113-108 at home by the Sacramento Kings.
That keeps their record at an even .500, although the nature of their losses suggest it is an uneven .500.
Planet Orange got over their second-half problems in a big way on Friday night, holding a solid Jazz team to 27 points in the last two periods of play. But they lost the second half battle against the Kings, getting beat 28-24 in the third and dominated 35-27 in the fourth.
For those keeping track alongside New Times, the Suns have been outscored in the fourth quarter in 7 of the last 9 games, with one of those quarters ending in a tie. It's clear the Suns either have a mental block going or lack the conditioning necessary to close out ballgames.
More disturbing is the Suns' inability to beat mediocre opponents.
Sunday's loss to the Kings is especially painful for the Suns, as the Kings are a lousy team ranked second-to-last in the Western Conference. Even worse, they came to town without star rookie DeMarcus Cousins, who was kept out of the game by Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal after Cousins fought with teammate Donte Greene Saturday night.
Cousins was reportedly pissed off not to have received the ball in their Saturday game's closing moments.
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Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters after the game that this loss is going to hurt late in the season.
"We have to leapfrog a couple of teams just to get to the eighth spot," he says -- something they won't be able to do without beating bad teams or keeping their focus.
The Suns were outscored 15-2 in the start of the fourth quarter by the Kings, which essentially put the game out of reach.
The Jazz come to town on Tuesday with plans to avenge their Friday defeat. You can catch that game at 7 p.m. on FSAZ. For more info, check out the Suns' website.