PHOENIX — The local boo-birds who called out toward the end of the Phoenix Suns’ first half against the Brooklyn Nets must not have known what’s good for them.
Even so, this is what happens when a visitor with a near-mirror image in record and in roster talent rolls off 14 straight points on your home team in just more than two minutes.
The Suns fell 116-106 Thursday night in Talking Stick Resort Arena to match the franchise’s longest single-season losing streak of 13 games.
The single positive spin: As far as the final result, the Phoenix fan eyeing the draft lottery will realize this was a victory. Phoenix moved two full wins ahead of Brooklyn for the third-worst record in the league and third-best shot at winning the NBA Draft Lottery.
Still, this was as demoralizing as the 40-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, a loss interim head coach Earl Watson said he would remember for the rest of his career.
“It’s like boxing,” said forward Mirza Teletovic, who scored 30 points and grabbed 11 boards against his former team. “If somebody beats you up pretty bad, the next fight you come kind of with more caution. You don’t have the same confidence. You kind of duck more.”
The Nets hadn’t won a road game in seven tries and since Jan. 2, and they appeared unphased with an offense that had no time to phase out a key piece, Joe Johnson, the former Suns guard who was bought out earlier in the day.
The Suns led by as many as eight point in the first quarter before Brooklyn regained the lead. The Nets led the entire second quarter but finished the first half with a 21-point advantage, 66 points and shooting 59 percent. This coming from the fourth-worse offensive team in the league, which, by the way, saw its third-worst defense hold the third-worst offense in the NBA to 35 percent shooting in the first half and 43 percent overall.
“We just kind of lost concentration, I think,” Suns center Alex Len said. “It wasn’t focused. Sometimes it was like three guys working, two guys out of it.
“We’re going to come back tomorrow, still put the work in,” he added. “What else can we do? We can watch some film, try not to make the same mistakes. Try to improve.”
This wasn’t against a playoff contender that hopes to challenge the elite.
This was a team with an All-Star caliber center (Brook Lopez), a couple NBA rotation players (Thad Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Wayne Ellington) and a crew of back-end of the roster fill-ins. The Nets were also adjusting to playing without their former bailout scorer and playmaker in Johnson.
Brooklyn led by as many as 25 points and it took a late lineup of veterans Teletovic, Tyson Chandler, P.J. Tucker and Ronnie Price to cut into the final deficit.
From there, there weren’t any notable performances from the young Suns given an opportunity.
Rookie guard Devin Booker went 3-of-12 from the floor for 12 points, though he passed well out of double-teams and didn’t commit a turnover in 30 minutes. Archie Goodwin went scoreless in 17 minutes, and Len battled foul trouble all night.
Even Teletovic’s revenge game against his old team and a reminder he’s healthy after missing most of last year with blood clots in his lungs didn’t soothe another painful defeat.
“I don’t care,” Teletovic said. “I used to when I was younger. Now it’s all about winning. I realized that a long time ago.
“It’s tough, man,” he added. “Nobody here, I guarantee nobody here likes losing. I think (the Nets) kind of, the whole game, they’re running downhill. The L.A. game kind of slipped away from us and did all-around damage.”
“It’s such a small world: I was just getting my hair cut with Devin Booker’s dad, who is almost my age, I think. So talking to his father, and this is interesting coming from a parent, he said, ‘Oh, this is great.’ Devin Booker is like, ‘Dad, you see how defenses are preparing against me, I’m only 19.’ And (Devin’s father, Melvin Booker) is like, ‘This is the NBA, this is great for him to hit these challenges.’ ” — Earl Watson on Devin Booker earning so much attention from opponents
– Len scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 17 minutes. Foul trouble kept him out of longer minutes and Len added that he was dragging his foot after returning from a sprained right ankle.
– John Jenkins, on his new 10-day contract, played 4:26 and scored two points in his Suns debut.
– The Suns reached a franchise-worst home losing streak with eight losses in a row.
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