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Suns Finish the week 2-2 in their slate of games against MIA, GS, UT, NY.
The Phoenix Suns have had an eventful week, with and without the actual game slate. Finishing 2-2 on the week, the Suns have had a lot to breakdown with how their players have been performing, so it is key to talk about each game and what they showed.
The Suns started this four game stretch in Miami, after losing a disastrous game to Orlando a few nights prior. Phoenix had excellent contributions from the usual suspects including Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges, but the real surprise was Duane Washington Jr. who logged 19 minutes and finished with 21 points on an efficient 8-14 from the field (5-8 from three).
The Suns then took the floor at home against the Warriors, who coming into the game where 0-7 on the road. This trend proved to prevail, as the Suns dominated this one from the start despite Stephen Curry’s 50 points. The biggest takeaway from this game despite Mikal Bridges’ friendly banter to the Warriors and Klay Thompson, was the start of a great run for newly vetted starter Cameron Payne. Payne finished with 29 points and 7 rebounds shooting 60, yes 60 percent on threes on 10 attempts.
With Chris Paul still out with a lingering sore heel suffered against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 7th, the starting point guard has been firmly captured by Payne who has been exceptional at providing a burst of energy and new style of scoring that strays from CP3s game. There is quite a possibility that the Suns alternate between the two guards depending on the game script in late-game scenarios going forward as Payne grows more and more comfortable in closing time.
On Friday, Utah hosted Phoenix in what was one of the wildest games of the year thanks to the top respective performers on each side with a near 50-point performance from Devin Booker (49 to be exact) and a career-high 38 points from Lauri Markkanen, who has been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season after being acquired as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. This Utah Jazz started the game on fire, in which the Suns did not recover from until the 4th quarter which was a back-and-forth affair until Markkanen hit the dagger to put the cherry on top of his performance with a fadeaway jumper that would make Dirk Nowitzki proud.
It was pretty clear from this game that Booker needs help in the closing stretches, which could be addressed with trading a combination Jae Crowder, team-friendly contracts, and draft compensation. The Suns have already been linked to a few players in the last week that could bolster up the front-court including Atlanta’s John Collins, Washington’s Kyle Kuzma, and Houston’s Kenyon Martin Jr.
Kuzma could be a very intriguing option with his recent surge in scoring production and the Wizards not in a position to win-now. There is a question of why Washington would want the services of veteran Jae Crowder, but if there is a chance to acquire, it would be in the Suns best interest because of the relief it would provide Book down the stretch, especially with CP3 and Cam Johnson still out.
The most recent game was Sunday’s afternoon matchup against the Knicks, which was a confidence booster to say the least. Phoenix simply looked like the better team the entire game, winning in convincing fashion 116-95 with Payne continuing his tear of great games as the starting point guard ending with a line of 21-9-7 in 32 minutes with supporting efforts provided by Devin Booker, Damion Lee, and others.
Lee has been an incredible story so far this season, after being signed in the offseason from the Golden State Warriors in which he was a part of their championship run in 2022. He has been nothing short of brilliant in his campaign with the Suns so far, hitting big shot after big shot especially when the Suns need it the most. Phoenix got a glimpse of this back during the season opener hitting a couple of critical shots including the game-winner against the Mavs, and Lee has continued to be a reliable shooter in clutch time.
11/22 Lakers @ Suns 8 PM MST – TNT
11/25 Pistons @ Suns 7PM MST – Bally Sports AZ
11/26 Jazz @ Suns 7PM MST – Bally Sports AZ
Stories to Watch
- Chris Paul’s Health
- Cam Payne vs. Westbrook
- Deandre Ayton’s Passing
- Crowder Trade Status
- Book vs. Markkanen: The Rematch
- Lee Is An Elite Shooter