Shocking Upset: Suns Stunned by Spurs Without Star Player!

SAN ANTONIO — Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal pulled no punches Monday night after a disappointing performance.

The Suns, two days away from beating the San Antonio Spurs by 25, played the same team in the same stadium, and this time the Spurs were missing star rookie Victor Wembanyama.

However, the Spurs flipped the script with a 104-102 victory.

“It's a disappointment,” Beal told reporters after the game. “We came here and laid an egg. We thought it was going to be easy without Wemby. They just kicked our ass. They came out aggressive, just like the coach told us they would, and we didn't respond. Well, we did, but we couldn't withstand their blows.” .

The loss sent the Suns to 42-30 on the season. It was also their third loss in four opportunities against the Spurs, who are last in the Western Conference.

“It's just unacceptable to lose that game,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “For our guys, we all said the right things. We all did the right preparation. But we didn't play with the necessary concentration in this position during, I would say, the first half.”

Phoenix now embarks on the toughest final stretch of any NBA team as it finds itself in the midst of a tight race to stay out of the Western Conference play-in. The Suns' last 10 opponents have a combined winning percentage of .648.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it's the toughest final 10-game stretch since the 2015-16 Memphis Grizzlies, who had two games apiece against the 67-15 Spurs and the 73-9 Golden State Warriors.

When asked about the schedule, Vogel responded abruptly.

“We like our chances against anyone,” he said. “We don't worry about the calendar.”

Phoenix tried to take control in the third quarter, but the Spurs responded with a 16-2 run at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth to take the lead.

San Antonio led by nine with 4:49 left, but the Suns reacted and took the lead at the 2:09 mark. With 51.8 seconds left, Devin Booker made two free throws to put the Suns up 102-101.

San Antonio responded with a three-pointer by Jeremy Sochan with 29.2 seconds left to retake the lead. Phoenix opted not to take a timeout and got looks from Booker and Kevin Durant, but both missed, giving the Spurs the victory.

“We knew they were going to play harder [than Saturday’s game] and we knew they were going to play with more concentration,” Durant told reporters. “They gained momentum at the end of the third quarter and from there they moved calmly. The game is about momentum.”

Sochan finished with 26 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for San Antonio.

“I don't like to disrespect our opponents,” Booker said of the Spurs not having Wembanyama. “These guys are NBA guys. There are some talented young players there… We weren't caught off guard. We knew what to expect.”

Beal left the game with 2:51 left and did not return due to a sprained right ring finger. He said the finger, which he had injured before, got caught in someone's shirt and was “pretty painful.”

He believes he will be able to play in the Suns' next game against the Denver Nuggets. Vogel said X-rays of Beal's finger came back negative.

Beal wasn't the only Suns starter to leave the game injured. Starting center Jusuf Nurkic was injured with 9:08 left in the third quarter and did not return due to a sprained right ankle.

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