High level takeaways...
Clunky O from Stars
The Suns offense looked clunky, given the new playmaker pairing of All-Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul and the short warmup to live games. Chris Paul took until the last two minutes to force any action (3-9 from the field, 5 assists, 3 turnovers) while Devin Booker started strong but struggled a bit in the second half (8 turnovers for the game, only 3 buckets after halftime). Deandre Ayton did not catch a single easy pick-and-roll finish, getting into early foul trouble and then scoring only in the ugly ways — long jumpers, stilted dribble drives into the outer paint). Newcomer Jae Crowder couldn’t buy a bucket, not making his first Suns bucket until the 4th quarter.
HUGE contributions from supporting cast
- Mikal Bridges — 18 points (4 threes), 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, constant defense on Luka Doncic
- Cameron Johnson — 15 points, 5 rebounds
- Langston Galloway — 11 points in only 8 minutes
- Cameron Payne — 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 20 minutes
Gang rebounding and defense
I talked about rebounding and interior defense being a potential issue given the depth and injuries on the front line, but on Wednesday night they out-rebounded the Mavericks 48 to 39 and tallied 7 blocks. Five different players had at least 5 rebounds, and five had at least one block. And this with Deandre Ayton and Damian Jones each collecting three fouls before the first quarter ended.
Big rebounding props to Crowder (9) and Bridges (7) for covering the boards in the bigs’ absence.
The Mavericks tied the score at 96-96 in 3:38 left, but the Suns closed the game from there behind closers Booker and Paul. Paul got a huge steal, and they each made a closing bucket to put the Suns ahead for good. Mikal Bridges grabbed another big-time offensive rebound on a Booker miss with 8.6 seconds left and the Suns up three to put the finishing touches on the win.
I know it’s frustrating to get the Suns games on TV these days, with the streaming sites being shut out and all.
So here’s the highlights for those of you who didn’t already google it.
And here’s a nice big box score.