Phoenix Sun’s top Orlando Magic, against Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets next
Devin Booker’s hot start was the start of Phoenix’s sixth straight win.
With 17 of his 27 points in the first quarter, Booker led the Suns past Orlando (109-90) on Sunday before 1,732 fans competed in the Phoenix Suns Arena in the second round.
“We just wanted to pick up the pace early on and try to make these guys feel a little bit,” said Sun striker Jae Crowder. “We had a hot start. We could move the ball, Devin could get his shots, get in his shots and we could read and react and have a hot start.”
Now 9-1 in their last 10 games, the Suns (17: 9) finish their home stand on Tuesday against Brooklyn (16:12) with seven games in their most anticipated game to date, which will air at 8pm on TNT.
“It’s our next game,” said Sun wing Mikal Bridges. “Every game is important. We’re going to lock ourselves in and go out there and play our game. Join the scout and try to play as hard as possible and get the win.”
The game’s significance begins with Steve Nash returning as head coach with former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni as one of his assistants.
The Nets will be without Kevin Durant, who will miss at least two games with left achilles tendon strain, but James Harden and Kyrie Irving will be available as two of the hardest-to-manage guards.
“They are a strong team, even without Kevin,” said Sun coach Monty Williams. “These guys can score a lot. (Joe) Harris is effective. Deandre (Jordan) plays, he dives quite effectively and ends up around the basket. They have some guys who can hit the ball. They are just a tough team. ”
The Suns will increase their fan limit from 1,500 to 3,000 starting Tuesday. Nash has already joked about the move and said he was glad that Sun’s team owner Robert Sarver would “monetize” her return.
The Suns stand a chance of beating the top four teams in the east when they played them during this homestand.
Phoenix has surpassed conference leader Philadelphia (18-9), runner-up Milwaukee (16-10) and Boston (13-13), who fell to fifth place in the conference after losing in Washington (7-17) on Sunday.
Next, Brooklyn took third place with a dynamic backcourt coached by a two-time MVP who, under his now assistant, played his best NBA basketball in Phoenix.
“It’s like any other game,” said Sun’s center Deandre Ayton. “Respect our opponents. Study. Know their tendencies.”
Ayton reiterates a message that veteran Crowder brought to the young players when he told them to make sure they watch Brooklyn’s game in Sacramento on Monday.
“Get a cheat sheet,” he said. “What are their tendencies and watch the game for those who don’t watch basketball. That’s No. 1. No. 2, every game is important. So we treat every game as if it is important.”
The Suns are taking Monday off after winning two games against Philadelphia and Orlando. Sunday’s game wasn’t nearly as competitive as Phoenix’s 27-point game. The Magic (10-18) shot a tragic 6-of-35 out of 3 in defeat.
Bridges added 21 points, went 3 out of 5 out of 3. Chris Paul scored 12 points, nine assists and six rebounds, Crowder threw 12 points off the bench in 4-of-13 (all 3) and Ayton added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Magic only had eight healthy players for the game but won in Sacramento, where Nikola Vucevic scored 42 points.
The suns limited him to seven points in the 2:10 shooting in the first half when Phoenix was leading 52:35 during the break. Vucevic finished 4-of-14 with 14 points.
Terrence Ross approached Orlando with 23 points.
“We’re playing outside of our comfort zone,” said Ross. “We don’t have enough people to do really much. We were injured, we fell, but it’s part of the game I think, but that’s where we are right now.”
Rookie Jalen Smith in the G-League?
Monty Williams is not for players who are sitting without a game.
Because of this, Phoenix sent uncovered rookie Ty-Shon Alexander to the G-League while playing for the Canton Charge.
Rookie colleague Jalen Smith only played 50 minutes in eight games. In the tenth overall victory in Maryland, there was a minute of action at the end of Saturday’s win.
If Phoenix is completely healthy now, is the G-League next for Smith?
He wasn’t on the bench for Sunday’s game.
When asked, Williams said he didn’t want to say it as an announcement is coming from the team.
Do you have an opinion on the current state of the sun? Reach Sun’s Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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