Suns Strokes: Phoenix's turnovers lead to Washington Wizards
They handed - literally, in most cases -- the Wizards a 101-95 win before 16,198 at US Airways Center Friday. After averaging just 11.1 turnovers in their previous 11 games, the Suns committed 21 -- two more than in their past two games combined, leading to 24 Wizards points, including 17 in the second half when the Suns were outscored, 50-38.
"We didn't play well at all," head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Trevor Ariza scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the final two quarters, but it was his defense on Channing Frye that proved to be even bigger. Frye opened the game with 12 first quarter points on four threes. He would make one more field goal and add four more points the rest of the game to finish with 16 points.
Frye was one of five Suns in double figures. That included Goran Dragic who led the team with 19 points and 11 assists for his fifth double-double of the season.
"I feel bad because we let this game get away," he said. Marcin Gortat, playing in his first game in Phoenix since the trade, had 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
The Suns ended their season-long five-game homestand at 3-2.
The Suns shot 58.8 percent (20-of-34, including 6-of-10 from three) in the first half.
Frye recorded his team-leading 12th game with at least four three-pointers; last season, the Suns combined as a team to have a player make at least four three-pointers in just 15 games.
After zero free throw attempts in the first quarter, the Suns made 12 trips to the foul line -- making 11, in the second quarter. They finished 20-of-25 for the game, but two crucial misses by PJ Tucker with the game tied and 2:17 remaining.
The Suns regained the lead in the second quarter with Markieff Morris scoring the team's first seven points of the quarter. He end the half with eight points, but also three fouls. For the game, Morris finished with 13 points, his fifth straight game scoring in double figures, tying a career-long streak.
Dragic accounted for 24 of the Suns' 29 first quarter points. He had seven points and seven assists -- three to set up a trio of Frye's triples. However, his best assist of the night might have been his last, between the legs of ex-teammate Gortat to Miles Plumlee, who finished the play with a two-hand slam dunk.
The Suns shot 37.8 percent (14-of-37, including 1-of-12 from three) in the second half.
The Suns committed 11 first-half turnovers, or one more than they coughed up two nights earlier against Indiana.
After taking an eight-point lead early in the third quarter, the Suns surrendered an 17-4 Wizards run that saw Ariza score seven points, Nene six points, the last two gave Washington a 68-63 advantage.
After taking their largest lead of the half, the Suns surrendered a 10-1 Wizards run that saw Gortat score six straight points, the last two gave Washington a 48-47 advantage.
After missing their first four shot attempts, the Wizards made eight of nine field goals to take their largest lead of the first quarter, 16-12. Wall had four points and an assist during that stretch. He finished the quarter with 11 points and three assists.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Wizards outscored the Suns 20-14 in fast break points. This marks just the 11th time this season the Suns have been outscored in fast break points, and the six-point difference in the category is the third-largest among by which they have been outscored.
The Suns are now 2-9 on the season when being outscored in fast break points and Friday was just the fifth time they have allowed 20 or more fast break points.
HE SAID IT
"We just have to come out and do a better job and (Friday) was awful," Frye said.
"They came in here and got 19 offensive rebounds, I mean give it to them for continuing to beat us upon the glass. They just did what they wanted to do and we didn't stop them. All of us in our individual ways did a crappy job tonight defensively and we can't win like that.
"It's not the end of the world, it's not saying we aren't going to go to the playoffs, it's saying that we still have a lot to learn and we have a ways to grow."
Gerald Green punctuated the Suns' 57-point first half with a reverse slam dunk with 1.9 seconds remaining. He had not even attempted a shot up until that moment in more than 12.
Playing with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, Archie Goodwin scored a game-high 32 points (7-of-22 FG, including 3-of-8 from three and 15-of-18 from the foul line). The Suns rookie, who also had eight rebounds, two steals and an assist, is scheduled to end his two-game D-League assignment Saturday when the Jam hosts the Reno Bighorns. He'll then rejoin the Suns on the team's upcoming road trip.
Time to hit the road. After spending the past week-and-a-half at home, the Suns will spend the next week away from US Airways Center. They will play four games in five days, visiting Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Indiana.
Game one is against the Cavaliers -- who the Suns have beaten three straight times - on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
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