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Suns Strokes: Tony Parker-less Spurs hand Phoenix third straight defeat

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns’ 97-87 loss to the Spurs on February 24.

The Good:

Marcin Gortat scored 16 first half points, matching the combined output of fellow starters Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, P.J. Tucker and Luis Scola, who each had four points through the first two quarters. Gortat finished with a game-high 21 points, his fourth 20-point effort of the season and the points he’s scored in a game since November 21 vs. Portland (21).

Dragic recorded his fourth consecutive double-digit assist game, extending the longest streak of his career. He has dished 10 or more assists in every game since the All-Star break and has an NBA-best 49 assists since the break. In addition, he has four straight double-doubles after doing so only four times in his first 51 games this season. Dragic is averaging 16.3 points, 12.3 assists and three steals since the break.

The Bad:

After leading 21-19 after the first quarter, the Suns missed seven of eight shots and turned it over five times during a 25-4 Spurs run to open the second quarter. By the end, the Suns had been outscored 35-19 with as many field goals made (seven) as turnovers committed (seven). For your information, the 35 points matched a season-high by any Suns’ opponent this season in the second quarter.

In their last three home games, the Suns have now averaged 81.3 points anre shooting 36.9 percent from the field, including just 26.2 percent from 3-point range.

He Said It:

“Anytime you are playing a champion-type caliber team that knows how to play,” Jared Dudley said, “knows how to win we came out the first quarter great. I think we even had the lead at the end of the first. They just keep coming at you and when you take one thing away, they have second and third options.”


• Shannon Brown was a DNP-Coach’s Decison for a fourth straight game, the only four games he’s failed to play in this season.

• Diante Garrett rather than Kendall Marshall (4:43 minutes played) served as the backup point guard in the second half.

• On three occasions, the Suns (Michael Beasley, PJ Tucker twice) fouled a Spurs player attempting a 3-pointer.

• The Suns lost their third straight game wearing the “Back in Black” retro jerseys.

Up Next:

The Suns (18-39) complete a three-game homestand with a visit from the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-33) on Tuesday, February 26.