The Phoenix Suns were coming off a back-to-back in the Mile-High City, without their starting point guard or center and against one of the top teams in the league. But even with the odds stacked against them, the team bonded together against the Los Angeles Clippers to pull off one of the most impressive victories thus far this season in the NBA.
In place of Ricky Rubio and Deandre Ayton, Jevon Carter and Aron Baynes found themselves inserted into the starting lineup and the grit and hustle that the duo is known for seemed to spread to the rest of the team. The Suns fought for boards, battled inside and played with an attitude on the defensive end to open the game up with an early lead.
The Suns led almost the entire first half, but a last second three from Lou Williams tied the game going into the break. While the Suns looked to be in control for the majority of the first two quarters, it was going to take a full 48-minute effort to take down the division rival.
The first half of the third quarter featured a back-and-forth battle for the lead with neither team fully able to pull away. This continued until a Frank Kaminsky three-pointer midway through the third quarter that seemed to shift the momentum in favor of the Suns.
The crowd noise grew, the energy in the building was buzzing and the Suns began hitting from all cylinders. Carter and Kaminsky combined for 17 of the Suns 36 points in the third as the team took a six-point lead into the fourth.
The Suns would turn to Devin Booker to ultimately close-out the game and the young star did not disappoint. Not only did Booker take over offensively in the final 12 minutes, but he did so with a wide variety of weapons. From layups to fades to three-pointers to drawing fouls, Booker kept the Clippers on constantly on edge and consistently made them pay for any defensive lapses.
Ultimately, Booker scored 16 points of the Suns 39 points in the final frame as the team held on to defeat the Clippers 130-122 and advance to 2-1 on the season.
Devin Booker: 30 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds
Kelly Oubre Jr.: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steal, 1 block
Frank Kaminsky: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
Dario Šarić: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Aron Baynes: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
Tyler Johnson: 10 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds
Jevon Carter: 8 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
STATS OF THE GAME
The Suns scored 130 points tonight, their most in a non-overtime game in over two years since scoring 130 points in a loss vs. the L.A. Lakers on Oct. 20, 2017. It was the most points in a non-overtime win since 137 vs. the L.A. Lakers on Feb. 15, 2017.
The Suns shot 50% from the field and had 32 assists tonight—this is already the second time in three games this season that the Suns have shot 50% with 30+ assists.
The Suns scored 75 points after halftime tonight, shooting 53.7 FG%, 52.6 3FG% and 80.8 FT% with 17 assists in the second half.
This was Booker’s 64th career game with 30+ points, one shy of tying Tom Chambers (65) for 5th-most in Suns history.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
HEAD COACH MONTY WILLIAMS ON FANS: “It was huge…It is an advantage and, I have said this before, I have played against and coached against Phoenix when this thing was popping. It is one of the best places in the league. When our fans are that rowdy, our guys are playing hard, it is an environment. We want to create a special place here.”
COACH ON PLAYING WITH INTENSITY: “I don’t think you we can win without it, that’s how I have always approached the game. There are teams in the league that have so much talent and they can turn the switch on, we can’t and our guys understand that. We have talent but we don’t have continuity, we just got together so we have to play hard. We have to play the level of force every single night. I think that at times can shorten or close the curve of learning, until we understand each other better, we have to bring that every night.”
KAMINSKY ON THE TEAM’S DEFENSE: “I think we set the tone in the defensive end. Nothing came easy for them, they had to really work for all the points they got. We came out, just played physical, attacked them, went after them, and came out with a win.”
KAMINSKY ON CHEMISTRY: ““It’s great, I think this whole ‘Valley Boys’ thing is really kind of taking us all over. I mean, you see it, we had the pop up shop, everyone is wearing the gear, everyone is really close. We just have a really great team. A lot of good people. No bad people in here, nobody that is trying to dominate anything, just everyone wants to get better and play well.”
OUBRE ON THE WIN: “Feels amazing, everybody chipped in. We fought through adversity once again. We’re finding who we are. We’re continuing to grow and that’s the most beautiful thing about it.”
ŠARIĆ ON TEAM: “I think this team can do great things and I think it’s just beginning for us.”
The Suns stay home as the gear-up to play the Utah Jazz on Monday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.