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In the game of the bubble, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets by one point to eliminate the Phoenix Suns from the play-in game and thus putting an end to their season and an epic bubble appearance.
It was a game that had Suns fans feeling like their team actually playing in the playoffs. The amount of action on Twitter was more than what you normally see in a Suns game, and what made it even more intense was just how ridiculous this game was.
Damian Lillard is a bad man. As much as Devin Booker deserves to be in the conversation for Bubble MVP, when Dame pulls up in the fourth quarter from halfcourt with a full shot clock in a must-win game down six just because he thinks it’s a good shot and drills it, what is there to do?
Lillard finished with 42 points (to follow up his 51 and 61 point performances), but he was almost out-shined by Caris LeVert, who put on a show of his own. LeVert did what he could to help
Brooklyn’s Phoenix’s chances, finishing with 37 points of his own (along with nine assists). The problem was, he needed 39.
Down one, he had the ball with a chance to get the win. Instead of driving, an area where he had success all game, he pulled up for a step-back fadeaway near the top of the key, but it was not to be on this night.
The ball, kind of like the hearts of Phoenix Suns fans everywhere, shattered off the rim and onto the floor.
Former Suns guard, Tyler Johnson, did what he could to help his old teammates. He came out aggressive off the bench drilling several long 2s on his way to 16 points, coincidently, the same number he wore as a member of the Phoenix Suns.
As bad as this stings, and as close as they were, the Suns have to fly out of that bubble with their heads held high. They put the world on notice that Phoenix is no longer an automatic win on the opposing team’s schedule. This team is legit.
Before the season, the primary goal was for the Suns to “take the next step,” a generic cliché that is defined differently by different people. However, I don’t see how anyone can say this team didn’t take the next step by anyone’s definition. Hopefully, this next step is actually a trampoline that will propel this team even higher next season.
Keep rising, Phoenix.
-By Adam Stratton