The Phoenix Suns were not supposed to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers.
No, instead the Suns were supposed to continue their playoff push with a victory over their lottery-bound foe.
But things don’t always happen the way they are supposed to, and the Suns ended up losing by a score of 115-99 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score might indicate.
“We’re still scratching our head on that one,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “I think it was a case that they just didn’t come ready to play.”
The first-year coach alluded to the fact that the Suns had come into the game playing well having won six games in a row and eight of their previous nine.
But it’s the NBA, and even though the Lakers are very much bereft of talent, they played well enough to beat a team that is fighting for a spot in the postseason.
“I think they felt that they could just show up at these games and win,” Hornacek said. “You don’t get off to a good start, your shooting doesn’t come along, and all of a sudden you’re in trouble, and that’s kind of what happened to us.”
The Suns shot just 38.5 percent from the field and made only eight of their 36 three-point attempts.
With the loss, the Suns fell to 44-30 on the season and entering play Tuesday sit ninth in the Western Conference.
However, the hope is this is just a small speed bump in the road to the postseason. It’s a winding one, and at the very least this offers the team a chance to grow.
“Young guys, they forget how they got to some places,” Hornacek said. “But we’ve had this before. We’ve lost to teams that have been under .500 before.
“It’s a case of I think they’re young and again, sometimes you feel you’re invincible.”
The coach added that in time players begin to understand the kind of effort that is needed every night, going into each game knowing that a better team can lose if its focus isn’t where it needs to be.
“I think it’s kind of natural to happen,” he said. “I think the timing is bad. But there’s nothing we can do about it, we’ve just got to go to the next one.”