The Phoenix Suns have not lost a basketball game since before Devin Booker’s 25th birthday. That was 16 games ago. Apparently, his teammates’ gift to him was a long winning streak.
They were 1-3 when he woke up on birthday morning, and 16-0 with the last 15 of those games in only 26 days, even with injuries sucking at the team’s rotational depth.
“To play 15 games in 26 days, with travel, with back-to-backs,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “We have the depth but we also have the professionals on our team that take care of their bodies, give themselves a chance to be at their best and you can’t do it if you don’t have guys who have that kind of experience. We’ve been winning in different ways all year long and this was another challenge for us.”
During the streak the Suns are 5th in offense, 2nd in defense, 2nd in net rating, 4th in effective field goal %, 4th in true shooting and 2nd in pace.
One of those teams above them in some of the rankings were the Brooklyn Nets, winners of 12 of their past 14 games before getting throttled by the Suns on Saturday night. That capped a 4-road trip from San Antonio to Cleveland to New York.
“It is satisfying, man. Just thinking back on the whole road trip, starting in San Antonio and making our way across the states,” Suns guard Devin Booker said. “That didn’t stop us. Obviously, we weren’t trying to go .500 on this trip. We’re trying to win every one we can and had some tough opponents back-to-back. Just found a way to get it done.”
During the 16-game streak, Devin Booker has been more like Devin Cooker. Since turning 25, Booker is averaging 24.5 points per game with scorching 42.9% three point shooting, as well as 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
While the 16-game streak is impressive, the Suns are not the talk of the national media for myriad reasons. They aren’t that flashy, and they are just now playing the other best teams in the league after dominating a cushy schedule.
Plus, the league has seen lots and lots of long winning streaks. The Suns have a ways to go to make a dent in all-time league history. Their 16-game winning streak is 5th longest in the past decade across the whole league, but it’s only tied with nine other teams for 24th longest in league history.
“Man it would be nice,” Paul said of potentially exceeding that 17-game mark this year with the Suns.
The Suns are just taking it one game at a time, playing the teams on the schedule.
“Obviously our goal is to win a championship,” Paul says. “But if you don’t enjoy the small victories throughout the regular season, then what are you doing. More than anything we are having fun.”
One of the few teams playing (arguably) better than the Suns this month is the Golden State Warriors, who have won 17 of 19 games this year, including 13 of 14 in the same span of time the Suns have gone 16-0.
Now the two best teams in the entire league — Warriors are 17-2 while the Suns are 17-3 — will face off three times in the next 28 days, starting with the Warriors visiting on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
“I’m looking forward to it, man,” Devin Booker said. “Obviously it’s not a make it or break it game, not a playoff game, but we know it’s gonna be high energy. Two best records in the NBA. It’s gonna be high intensity, fun game.”
Watch out for the game on TNT on Tuesday to see if the Suns can take over control of the West.