The Spurs were scrappy, but the juggernaut Phoenix Suns were too much to overcome. Tonight’s contest, a 115-111 Phoenix victory, saw the Suns extend their win streak to 13.
Phoenix was carried by Deandre Ayton and the bench in the first half, as San Antonio dedicated the bulk of their defensive attention to Book and CP3. In the third quarter, a Cam Payne onslaught helped to kill a mini-Spurs run. All of this set the stage for the fourth quarter, where the Suns were able to withstand a furious Spurs rally to earn the win.
The Suns shot 52.7% from the field and 25.% from three, while the Spurs shot 51.1% and 44.4%, respectively. Each team managed to grab 44 rebounds, while Phoenix distributed 23 assists against 15 turnovers. Book had 23 points, JaVale McGee had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Landry Shamet chipped in 11 points and five assists. For the standout performances of Deandre Ayton and Cam Payne, please continue below.
For the Spurs, Dejounte Murray posted an 18-11-10 triple-double (as well as three steals), and Derrick White (19 points) and Devin Vassell (17 points) helped keep San Antonio competitive throughout the matchup.
Spurs up 8-7 with 7:20 left in the first quarter. True to form, they have yet to make a three or free throw. However, fill-in starter Keita Bates-Diop already has two putback buckets. The Suns are struggling a bit on offense, and have yet to attempt a shot at the rim.
Suns cut it to 17-18 with around 4 minutes left in the first. Each squad has benefitted from putbacks, including DA who is off to a nice start (although he picks up a foul on the very next play).
The Suns reserves finish the quarter on a high note, with Landry, Cam Payne, and JaVale all grabbing buckets in the last couple minutes. After 12, the Suns are up 24-20, highlighted by DA’s six points and five boards. Both teams are playing tough D and struggling on offense.
The reserves are rolling to start the second quarter. Both Cam Payne and JaVale McGee are making their impact felt on the stat sheet. After hitting a pair of free throws, Cam is up to nine points on the night. A beautiful fadeaway from JaVale makes it 36-29 Suns with 7:24 left in the half.
Not to be outdone by his bench brethren, Landry Shamet is starting to get hot. He follows up a three with an emphatic jam.
The Suns offense is starting to roll, and aside from the offensive rebounds their defense has been stellar. Back to back buckets by DA, via a strong drive and nasty deal, has the Suns up 45-33 with 4:31 left.
Deandre really came to play tonight, and he dominated the last few minutes of the half. He set up Jae for three, and then got a tip-in on a CP3 miss a few possessions later. Outside of Devin Vassell, the Spurs are really struggling to execute from the outside. However, their ability to get in passing lanes and attack the offensive glass has kept this game from becoming a 20-ball.
Book’s three sends the Suns into halftime with a 57-44 lead. Thus far, Phoenix is shooting 50% to San Antonio’s 43.2%, and both teams have seven steals. Ayton has 14 points and 9 rebounds, while the trio of Payne, Shamet, and McGee have provided 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 rebounds. For the Spurs, Derrick White has eight points, while Devin Vassell has chipped in 10 off the bench.
San Antonio quickly lets the Suns know they are not going away. Behind a pair of buckets apiece from Murray, White, and Poeltl, they cut the Suns lead to eight with 7:34 left.
Devin Vassell checks back in and picks up right where he left off, with a pair of buckets to give him 14 on the night. Thankfully, CP3, Book, and DA all help to quell the tide. Pop calls a timeout with 4:51 left in Q3, and the Suns are up 74-64.
The end of the third quarter belonged to the backup point guards. Cam Payne and Tre Jones traded impressive buckets, and Cam repeatedly got to the line. He is at his best tonight, and no one on the Spurs can stay in front of him. Even if they could it might not matter, because he is also scorching from three. He is up to 20 points at the end of the third. The Spurs offense has seemed to find a bit of life in the quarter, but the Suns bench once again steadied the team, and the Suns head into the final stanza with a 90-75 lead.
The first few minutes of the fourth were a back and forth affair, but Monty called a timeout after a Lonnie Walker dunk cut the Suns lead to 11. After the timeout, a JaVale offensive foul led to a Dejounte Murray bucket on the other end. A Deandre Ayton tip-in was followed by a trade of buckets from both teams before a strong drive by Murray. He has come alive in the fourth quarter, and the Suns lead is cut to seven with 6:29 left.
Book checks in, but the two-man game between Dejounte Murray is on a roll. Monty calls another timeout, this time with 6:08 left. Suns are up, 100-95.
After a great block by DA, CP3 finds the streaking Mikal for his first bucket of the night! That was soon followed by a Bridges offensive rebound/and-one to take the lead to 107-95 with 4:45 remaining.
Down the stretch, CP3 hit a patented mid-range J, and Murray responded with another nice finish. San Antonio got a bucket and a stop, but proceeded to throw the next possession away. A late Derrick White three provided the local fans with some hope, but Book’s vicious hanging runner quieted the crowd.
Wait a second... A Devin Vassell bomb cut the lead to five with 20.8 seconds remaining, and a quick Murray strip and score of CP3 and tie-up on the ensuing inbound has Suns faithful a little antsy. Thankfully, Book secured the jump ball before being fouled, and hit one of two at the charity stripe. Spurs timeout with 8.6 seconds left, Suns up 115-111.
A missed three and Book rebound out of the timeout, and we can all take a deep breath! Suns win!!
Player(s) of the Game
Cheating? Perhaps. However, it would be a disservice to the players listed below to leave one or the other out, as both had wonderful performances tonight.
Deandre Ayton made his presence on the inside felt all night, and ended up with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists on 10-16 shooting.
Who knows where the Suns would have been without Cam Payne tonight. Cam exploded off the bench for 20 points in 20 minutes, and chipped in three assists and rebounds apiece.
The Suns head to Cleveland for a Wednesday showdown with the Cavs (9-9). The game starts at 5:00 PM AZ time.