The Suns stayed perfect in Orlando with a victory over Philadelphia, 130-117, mostly cruising against a Sixers team without its top six players.
As with many of the seeding games, the Suns began the game in a hole, down 4 after the first period and generally not bringing the same energy as the Sixers. When guys like Norvel Pelle and Mike Scott are going off, it’s because they’re more locked in, not because they suddenly have more talent.
The tide of the game changed when the Suns took control of the pace and Devin Booker started to attack the basket. Booker was able to get to the free-throw line consistently and make up for a poor shooting half.
Though the Suns’ backup back court didn’t make its usual impact (0 points combined from Cameron Payne and Jevon Carter through two quarters), Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky more than made up for it.
Time and again, the Suns have shown that when they play with pace and share the ball, they can win any game. During the seeding games, that’s often been because of Saric.
Point Dario is back with a ridiculous pass. pic.twitter.com/GHrveIgJqt— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) August 11, 2020
Saric helped the Suns keep cutting Philadelphia’s lead late in the first quarter after the starters sat.
Phoenix more than controlled the second period, scoring 40 points thanks to more fun from the bench and continued aggressiveness from Booker.
As Boston took a big lead over Memphis early in an important game running parallel to the Suns’ faceoff against Philadelphia, Booker continued to do damage, making his first two shots of the second half along with a trip to the free-throw line. At the first break of the quarter, the Suns were up, 78-69.
Booker punctuated his strong stretch with a big slam.
Like clockwork, the bench again broadened the gap late in the third quarter, and a Carter three put the Suns up 8 with less than three minutes to go. Saric followed up with a three of his own, then tapped a defensive rebound into an outlet pass that turned into a Kaminsky dunk.
IT’S ALMOST LIKE MONTY WILLIAMS HAS BEEN PREACHING THIS STUFF ALL SEASON!
Everyone cuts, moves and passes on this team. It’s contagious and impossible to guard. Seven straight wins is merely a side note if they keep playing this way and building a roster that can excel in this system. (Sorry, I hope I didn’t jinx it).
Booker stayed in the game to start the fourth quarter after playing the whole third (if my memory serves correctly). How cool is it to see Williams go for the jugular with actual, real stuff on the line?
I haven’t mentioned the Sixers hardly at all here, because the Suns have been in control most of the game, but I’ll give it up to Raul Neto, who was a DNP-CD in Philly’s previous game and looked as comfortable as a full-time starter against Phoenix. The Sixers did a good job generating open shots, meaning guys like Neto went off, but the Suns truly just have more talent.
With no one to guard him, Booker easily passed the 30-point threshold midway through the fourth and became the Suns’ leader in all-time 30-point games. A reminder that he is 23 years old.
Philly just didn’t have enough juice by that point to make another run. SEVEN AND OH!