One night after witnessing the depressing side of playing so many young guys, the Suns showed how fun it can be.
“I have to bring it,” guard Devin Booker said after the win. “After the couple losses that we’ve had, we’ve been looking for answers and our answer tonight was effort.”
Devin Booker (21 years old) scored 35 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished 6 assists, while “veteran” T.J. Warren (24) dropped his own 35 and 6.
This came one night after Booker scored only 9 points for the second time in a week.
Coach Jay Triano knows Booker and Warren drive the Suns’ success.
“We’ve sat in here and talked on nights where we haven’t been successful about having someone else step up and score when Book doesn’t have a good game. When they’re both rolling, it’s going to be a good night for us.”
Marquese Chriss (20) had his best game in a while with 13 points (three 3P, including the dagger to seal the win), 7 rebounds, 5 blocks (career high!) and 2 assists against 0 turnovers. Even better, he showed progress in his verticality to contest shots without fouling.
“He was active tonight,” coach Triano said after the game on Chriss. “We’re trying to restrict the number of fouls he picks up where they’re not good fouls, they’re late on a play or he jumps too early on things. He’s slowly starting to understand positioning and how him being in a stance and the right positon are the first two things that will need to him being able to block shots.”
Chriss said this of his need to get blocks, change shots and make the opponent a little more nervous going to the rim.
“I mean I think it was pretty big,” he said. “Just having to play as a defensive unit throughout the game. It kind of sticks in people’s heads, it’s not going to be an easy layup this time, so it kind of helps to alter shots even if I don’t block it, it might change what they’re shooting.”
Tyler Ulis (21) had 5 assists and 2 steals in his first start of the season, while Dragan Bender (19) had 8 points, including a big three to give the Suns a lead early in the fourth quarter.
Josh Jackson (20) was often out of control, but had 8 points, 4 rebounds and some really nice passes.
“I love his effort,” Triano said of Jackson. “I love how hard he tries on both ends of the floor, and if he plays good defense, he’ll find more minutes and get a chance to show what he does at the offensive end.”
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Here’s a highlight reel of Booker and Warren’s points, with a little of Marquese Chriss’ blocks kicking off lots of easy points.
They are the first Suns duo with 35+ points in a single game since a couple guys named Steve and Amare almost 10 years ago.
Also, Devin Booker is the first Phoenix Sun with five 30+ point games in the first 14 games of a Suns season since Charlie Scott did it 45 years ago.
The Suns had a pair of big runs in the fourth quarter - a 10-0 run capped by Dragan Bender’s three and a 14-0 run capped by Quese’s three - to seal the win.
If you want to watch all the game highlights, here you go.