Jackson and Warren Combine for 55 Points vs Hornets

by Cody Cunningham

It’s been a similar theme for the Phoenix Suns over their previous few games as slow starts have led to tremendous comebacks that have fallen just short. The Suns looked to change the narrative on Sunday as they tipped off against the Charlotte Hornets. 

Deandre Ayton got things started for the Suns knocking down the first basket of the game. The team continued to build off that momentum as they took 30-29 lead after the first, which was the first time they had led after one in 12 games. 

The Hornets kept it close, but the Suns maintained their lead through the second and took a 60-57 advantage into halftime. Ayton already had 15 points on a perfect five-of-five shooting and looked to be in position to have a big night. 

The Suns needed The Big Fella to continue his success, as Devin Booker went down in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game with back spasms.

However, the Hornets were the ones who came out of the break firing as they regained the lead and took a four-point lead into the fourth. Josh Jackson scored five points in the third, but the second-year pro was heating up just in time for the Suns.

The Hornets extended their lead to eight with under seven and a half minutes to play, but a Jackson three-pointer brought the Suns right back into the game. He followed this up with a floater and a bank shot as he scored seven straight points for the Suns.

T.J. Warren joined Jackson as the duo began trading buckets per possessions, slowly cutting into the deficit. But it would be veteran Jamal Crawford to get fouled shooting a three to make it just a one-point game with under two minutes to go.

On the very next Suns possession Crawford pulled up from 20 feet and knocked down a midrange jumper to give the Suns a one-point lead. But Kemba Walker would match that shot, as well as go to the free throw line to regain a two-point lead for the Hornets.

Without Booker, the Suns once again put the ball in the hands of one of the most reliable shooters in NBA history, and Crawford answered, again. The 19-year-vet tied it up with just over a minute remaining.

Walker ultimately put on a one-man show in the final minute as he closed out the game on an eight-to-two run, including a three with 0.2 seconds remaining. The Hornets defeated the Suns 119-113.  

Jackson scored a season-high 22 points on 69.2 percent shooting, including hitting three three-pointers. He also added six rebounds and four assists to anchor the second unit.

Warren scored a team-high 23 points with five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. 

“Guys stepped up,” Warren said. “We were making extra passes, extra plays, just making plays for each other. Just playing together and it became contagious for us. I feel like we have a lot of positives to take even though we lost tonight.” 

With 16 points in the game, Crawford surpassed 11,000 career points as a reserve. He became just the second player (Dell Curry) to hit the milestone since “games started” have been recorded.

“Obviously I have so much respect for the people that came before me,” Crawford said. “So whenever you can make any kind of monumental things in the NBA with the best players ever in the world, and it’s a positive thing, I think that’s always great.”

The Suns close out the final game of their home stand as the Sacramento Kings come to town on Tuesday. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona. 

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