Suns come up just short against Wizards
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix was flying high after a blowout win over Indiana.
Then the Wizards came to town and brought down the Suns with a thud.
Trevor Ariza scored 23 points, Bradley Beal sank a pair of crucial shots down the stretch and Washington opened a four-game road trip Friday night with a 101-95 victory.
Beal’s 3-pointer with 2:03 left gave the Wizards the lead for good at 96-93. His 15-footer made it 99-95 with 26.9 seconds to go, and then he finished with a game-ending dunk.
"I knew that eventually the ball was going to come my way, and I just stayed ready," Beal said. "I wasn’t making too many shots throughout the game, but I just stayed with it and stayed confident."
John Wall had 18 points and 12 assists for the Wizards. Nene scored 18, Beal 17 and ex-Sun Marcin Gortat 14 for Washington.
Goran Dragic had 19 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who had handed the Pacers their worst loss of the season, a 24-point blowout on Wednesday night.
Channing Frye scored 16, Miles Plumlee 14 and Markieff Morris 13 for Phoenix.
"We can’t play that way," Frye said. "Too many turnovers and terrible defense."
After making 11 of 16 3-pointers against Indiana, the Suns were 7 of 22 against the Wizards, just 1 of 12 in the second half.
Washington, which pulled back to .500 with the win, outrebounded Phoenix 44-30, including 19-9 on the offensive boards. After nine turnovers against the Pacers, the Suns had 21 on Friday.
"There was a bunch of things," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We had 21 turnovers. It’s been probably six or seven games since we have a big turnover night. Then the offensive rebounds — they got 19 of them. So all that stuff adds up."
The Suns rallied from an eight-point deficit late to tie it at 93 on Plumlee’s hook shot with 2:43 to go. But P.J. Tucker missed two free throws that would have given Phoenix the lead, and Beal then made the go-ahead 3.
Nene made one of two free throws with 1:38 to go to boost the lead to 97-93, and Plumlee’s dunk on a pass from Dragic cut it to 97-95 with 41.9 seconds left. Beal’s 15-footer with 26.9 seconds remaining put Washington ahead 99-95, then after a pair of missed 3s by the Suns, his dunk ended it.
Frye said the Suns are mistaken to think that the win over Indiana was a big deal.
"If your season was betting on beating the Pacers one time at home," he said, "then hey, I think we need to sit you back down and let you know you’ve got 81 more."
Ariza switched onto Frye and shut him down after a 12-point first quarter.
"It was just defensive intensity," he said. "When we press up defensively and get stops, it ignites our offense. It’s what gets me going. When we play good defense, we’re a good team."
Phoenix led 57-51 at halftime and was up 59-51 after Frye opened the third quarter with a basket.
Washington then took off on a 17-4 run. Hornacek drew a technical during the outburst for complaining about an offensive foul call on Dragic. Nene’s driving layup capped the spurt and put the Wizards up 68-63 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
Nene’s dunk put the Wizards ahead 89-81 with 8:17 to go, then Dragic led the Suns back. He sank a 16-footer, Gerald Green got a layup after Nene’s turnover, then Dragic scored on a driving layup to cut Washington’s lead to 89-87 with 6:13 to go. But Dragic missed a layup in traffic that would have tied it, Nene rambled down the lane for a dunk and Washington led 91-87 just 5:28 from the finish.
The Suns managed to get even one more time, but then Beal finished it off.
"It didn’t all go our way," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We had a couple of breakdowns there and they tied it up, but we came down and made some plays."
There were 19 lead changes in the game, and neither team led by double figures at any point.
NOTES: Wizards F Martell Webster sat out with the flu. … Hornacek said rookie G Archie Goodwin will play two games for Phoenix’s D-League team in Bakersfield, then rejoin the Suns on Sunday in Cleveland. … The Wizards opened a stretch of four road games in five nights. … The Suns finished their homestand 3-2 and begin a four-game, five-night trip Sunday.