“You live by the three, you die by the three.” That’s how the old basketball adage goes.
For the Phoenix Suns, who began the game 0-for-21 from three-point range, that didn’t hold true Friday in Brooklyn, though it came disturbingly close to reality. Facing the Nets, coach Jeff Hornacek’s squad saw a third quarter lead get swept away by a 16-2 run by the opposition and, at one point in the fourth quarter, faced a 15-point deficit, which they’d overcome in a 108-100 overtime win.
It was P.J. Tucker who broke the sour streak, hitting a three with 5:35 to go in the game and it was him who helped incite the Suns’ comeback effort, thanks to a big, energetic final quarter. The small forward finished with 11 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals, doing most of that damage in the fourth.
Twin brother of former Suns big man Brook Lopez hurt Phoenix early, finishing the contest with a nice looking double-double — 19 points, 13 boards.
Despite the poor effort from downtown, the Suns were resilient, showing a clutch muscle late in the game — specifically in the final five minutes of regulation and in the overtime period. Eric Bledsoe and the Morris twins led the way on the offensive end, scoring 19 points apiece. Bledsoe collected a double-double, thanks to a 10-rebound effort.
The Nets had a chance to win the game late, in-bounding the ball with 17.5 seconds to go and getting a look for Jarrett Jack, who missed a would-be buzzer beater, sending the game to overtime in a 92-92 tie.
The Suns made just three of their 26 three-point attempts Friday, counting for their second fewest of the season. On Oct. 31 against the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix was just 2-for-18 from deep. They wound up winning that contest, too, 94-89.
When the Suns grabbed a one-point, 97-96 advantage with 3:23 to go in overtime, it was their first lead since there was 2:15 left in the third quarter, when they led 67-66.
Tucker poured in eight of his 11 points Friday in the fourth quarter, also adding three rebounds and a steal in the frame.
Bledsoe grabbed his 10th double-double of the season Friday, coming four assists shy of his third triple-double. His last such effort came on Feb. 26 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was efficient, as usual, with his shot, making 5-of-10 and 8-of-11 from the line.
The Suns more than doubled the Nets’ steals total, swiping 13 in the contest. Brooklyn had five.
Sixteen was the number of the night. The Nets strongarmed a lead with the aforementioned 16-2 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter. Then, the Suns closed regulation with a 16-1 run of their own. And finally, in overtime, Bledsoe and company outscored the hosts 16-8 to close the door on a 108-100 win.
The Suns’ 15-point comeback wasn’t their largest of the season, nor their largest against Brooklyn this season. Back in November, they came back from 19 down against the Nets in a contest played at US Airways Center. They also came back from 17 down on Dec. 17 against the Charlotte Hornets, ultimately prevailing 111-106.
The Suns outscored their opponent 32-9 in the last 10:35 of the game, including overtime. Tucker, Bledsoe and Marcus Morris combined for 21 of those points.
Had the Suns failed to make a three-pointer Friday, it would have been the first time since March of 2004, when they couldn’t knock one down against the Spurs. They only attempted five that night.
Not since 2012 has an NBA team finished a game 0-for-20 or worse from three-point range. In December of that year, both the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers did it.
Only two teams have gone 0-for-20 or more from deep since 1985. Happened 10 days apart in 2012. Den 0-22 on 12/20 & Por 0-20 on 12/10.
— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) March 7, 2015