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Turnovers, fouls once again an issue for Suns in loss to Pacers

Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) is defended by Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

The Phoenix Suns did some bad young team things on Tuesday night and they picked the wrong team to be playing against when it was going on.

While we’ve seen some sloppy back-and-forth affairs, such as the three-OT loss to the Washington Wizards, the Indiana Pacers took advantage of nearly every mistake the Suns made.

Phoenix turned the ball over 19 times, Indiana scored 29 points off them and foul trouble was once again an issue in a 131-97 Suns loss.

It started in the first quarter, to no one’s surprise given the Suns’ track record in the opening 12 minutes. The Suns had 10 turnovers and the Pacers scored 15 of their 38 points off them to a 38-19 advantage.

Once the turnovers stopped, the Suns (11-34) were able to settle in. They recorded zero in the second quarter and outscored the Pacers 32-24 to make it a manageable 11-point deficit at halftime.

The Suns got sloppy again at the start of a half in the third quarter. Rotations on defense were lacking some of the crispness we’ve seen in recent weeks and the Pacers (29-14) wanted to run off every miss.

Indiana led by 23 with one quarter to go and poured it on in garbage time to extend the final deficit to 34.

Devin Booker, rocking a rare headband, was unable to get comfortable after a three-game absence due to back spasms. It didn’t help that the Pacers decided Booker was not going to beat them. When Indiana’s half-court defense was set, Booker was met with immediate extra attention if it was deemed necessary. Oh, yeah, and Booker was already being guarded by First Team All-Defense Pacers guard Victor Oladipo the majority of the night.

Booker had eight points on 4-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and five assists.

Fouls and free throws were a standout again. While the Suns often disagree on the court with some of the calls, a young team trying to play an aggressive brand of defense is often going to rack up fouls. That’s been the case in January. Including the Pacers loss, the Suns have committed at least 25 fouls in six of their last seven games and have reached 30 in three.

At the free throw line, the Pacers doubled the Suns’ attempts 36 to 18 while also converting on 75 percent to Phoenix’s 50 percent.


The Suns are off on Wednesday before they take on the Toronto Raptors on the road at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. You can listen live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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