It isn’t easy to lose big in the NBA. You have to really work at it, the same way you need to work at securing a victory by even the smallest of margins, especially on the road.
But the Suns found a way in Detroit on Wednesday, losing by 40 points to a Pistons team that honestly hasn’t been very good at all to start the season.
The final was 117-77, but it wasn’t even that close. Detroit put together some monster runs to get the vast separation it had on the scoreboard, with an 18-4 run being the first that blew an 11-point halftime lead up to 25 midway through the third period.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back after taking down the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday, Phoenix clearly had neither the energy nor the will to fight back in this one.
Detroit pushed the lead into even more ridiculous territory with a 28-2 run to start the fourth, turning a game that was already a blowout at 81-65 into a complete joke at 109-67 with 4:23 to play.
Phoenix isn’t this bad, and Detroit, coming into this one at just 4-11 on the season, clearly isn’t this good. In the midst of a long road trip, Suns head coach Alvin Gentry emptied his bench earlier than usual, which might be the reason for the ultimately lopsided score. But the fact that the Suns didn’t compete when the game was still in the balance was certainly a troubling sign.
“It was beyond embarrassing, and if I was a fan I’d be totally pissed off,” Gentry told reporters afterward.
He had other similarly colorful remarks, although without the levity that Byron Scott seemed to have after his team fell to the Suns just the night before.
It’s only one game of course — one that Detroit will try to build upon, and one that Phoenix will try to move on from and forget just as soon as is humanly possible.
But it’s worth noting that Gentry is in the final year of his contract with the Suns, and despite the continued year over year drop in talent on the roster, if there are more performances on the horizon from this team where they simply don’t show the will to compete, that — along with the low win total the Suns are likely to amass — could prove problematic down the road when it’s time to decide who will run this team next season.