Mikal Bridges couldn’t believe what was happening in the biggest game of the season for the Phoenix Suns.
“Going into the half down 30 is ridiculous,” he said.
Last week, Bridges made a return appearance on The Old Man and The Three podcast with former NBA player JJ Redick and Tommy Alter and addressed how Phoenix’s historic season ended with a 33-point home flop to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
“And now it’s just like, coming back out, you’ve got to start off hot out the jump street in the third and if not, you don’t have a chance,” Bridges continued. “We couldn’t even score coming out and they just kept going and everybody had their rhythm.”
Phoenix trailed by as many as 46 points in its embarrassing 123-90 loss before a disappointed and upset sellout crowd of 17,071 at Footprint Center.
“Somebody go on a run or whatever and you can hear your crowd just like, ‘Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh,’” said Bridges, who scored just six points on 3-of-11 shooting (0-for-3 from 3) in Game 7. “It like, ‘Alright, we get it got dammit. Yeah, we know, we know.’ So now it’s like a little mental to you.”
Fans started leaving at the end of the third quarter with Phoenix down, 92-50.
“On the road, you miss, they’re cheering, they’re cheering,” Bridges continued. “So you’re like, (expletive) that, I’m going to make the next one. little bit of feeling that sometimes, it’s like, you just have a little bit more pressure at home because you’re supposed to win. And the crowd knows it, too. They got their emotions, too. So, once you start missing and you hear those sighs, it starts getting to people sometimes.”
The Suns won a franchise-record 64 games in the regular season in earning the top overall seed in the playoffs, but they fell short of their ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship after reaching the finals last year.
“Didn’t think that would happen,” continued Bridges, who is having a basketball camp June 28 through July 1 at The PHHacility in Phoenix. “Dallas was good, but I remember besides these playoffs, I don’t think I lost to them.”
Bridges was early in his second NBA season when the Mavs beat the Suns on Nov. 29, 2019.
Phoenix rattled off 11 consecutive victories over Dallas over the course of three seasons before losing four of its last five games against the Mavs in the playoffs.
“The Suns hadn’t lost to them in years,” Bridges said. “So every time we play them, we’re like, oh, we have their number, we have their number. The (expletive) got us.”
Phoenix scored just 27 points in the first half of Game 7.
Luka Doncic scored the same amount at the half in leading the fourth-seeded Mavs to a 57-27 advantage at the break.
“It got real scary,” Bridges said. “I remember I just looked up and I just felt they were scoring every time and got damn Theo (Pinson) and all of them, I could just hear them every time they scored and feel their energy every single time. We’re not scoring that much, like at all.”
Bridges said the Suns were confident going into Game 6 after beating the Mavs by 30 in Game 5 at home to take a 3-2 series lead.
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“We all thought we were going to win in Dallas,” Bridges said.
Dallas erased that certainty with a 27-point victory to force a Game 7, but the Suns still had that Game 7 at Footprint Center where they just won in dominating fashion in Game 5.
That didn’t seem to matter, though.
“Once they won, it’s kind of like even though it’s home advantage, you know better than me, Game 7 is like up for grabs,” Bridges continued. “I don’t think you could feel the homecourt advantage as much because they’re so confident and now it’s like, there’s really nothing to lose and they’re going to just go out and just keep playing the way they’ve been playing .”
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Dallas proceeded to win Game 7 to advance to the conference finals and put the Suns on the wrong side of history.
“Every time somebody talks about a Game 7, you just know it’s going to be thrown in there,” Bridges said. “I don’t know if we set a record or anything like that, but if we did set a record, then you’re really going to see it all the time.”
Bridges added, “I was definitely embarrassed. It sucks.”
The third-seeded Golden State Warriors eliminated the Mavs in five and are now tied 1-1 with the second-seeded Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Game 3 is set for Wednesday night in Boston.
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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