Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
Twenty games into the season and the Suns are 17-3. Almost unbelievably, they were 11-9 after 20 games just last season, 9-11 two seasons ago and 4-16 the season before that. We have to go all the way back to 2004 to find a season start as good as this one (that team finished 62-20) and the Suns have never gotten off to a better start in their first 20 games. Yes, even the legendary 1992-93 Suns team that also finished 62-20 and made it to the NBA Finals only started out 16-4.
The 16-game win streak is the 2nd best in franchise history and the Suns are undefeated this month (15-0). Only one time previously has a Suns team gone undefeated through a full calendar month, back in December of 1992 when that team went 14-0. This week the Suns have the opportunity to surpass that with a 16-0 undefeated month with one more win on Tuesday and set a new franchise win streak record with two more consecutive wins. A 3-0 week would give them the best record in the NBA.
We’re just short of one quarter of the season done and this team is already one of the best - if not the best - in franchise history. Will the Suns break more team records this week? Will they end it with in the best record in the NBA? We don’t have long to wait to find out.
Prepare yourselves for another exciting week of Suns basketball!
SUNS at SPURS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 22, 2021
Cameron Payne Provides Spark, Tallies 20 Points vs. Spurs
SUNS at CAVALIERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 24, 2021
Devin Booker (35 PTS) Turns in High Scoring Effort vs. Cavaliers
SUNS at KNICKS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 26, 2021
Devin Booker drops 32 PTS in Phoenix Suns’ win over the Knicks
SUNS at NETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 27, 2021
Devin Booker (30 PTS) Leads Scoring vs. Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges Posts a Career-High 7 Steals vs. Nets
23.9 PPG, 45.8% FG%, 41.0% 3PT% - Season
24.5 PPG, 47.2% FG%, 42.9% 3PT% - Last 16 games
27.4 PPG, 53.7% FG%, 53.3% 3PT% - Last 5 games
Those figures all belong to Devin Booker. I looked at the stats for all the other Suns starters and found no comparable rate of increase in PPG and shooting percentages as the season has progressed. Book’s True Shooting percentage for the season is 56.5%, for the last 15 games it is 58.6% and for the last 5 it’s 65.7%. Only DA (68.7%) and JaVale McGee (66.5%) have higher True Shooting percentages over the last 5 games.
Random stats: Booker is currently averaging 2.5 three-pointers made per game which ranks 3rd on the Suns’ All-Time list of 3-pointers made per game in a single season.
Quotes of the Week
“We’re finding different ways to win games, and I think that serves you well. For our team, we know we can win ugly games, we know we can win slug-outs.” - Monty Williams
“We play together. It’s a ‘we score’ mentality. We have a lot of talented players, and any night could be anybody’s chance.” - Devin Booker
“A lot of guys say they want to play on this stage, [Booker] really does... He likes to kill. That’s who he is.” - Monty Williams
Injury Status Report
Abdel Nader (Knee) Game Time Decision.
Frank Kaminsky (Knee) Expected to be out until at least December 2.
Dario Saric (Knee) Expected to be out until at least April 1.
News & Notes
Suns proving last season’s NBA Finals run was no fluke with 16-game win streak. Sporting News
3 reasons Devin Booker, Suns are being slept on as title favorites amid scorching streak. Clutch Points
Mikal Bridges scoffs at doubters in the Phoenix Suns. Yardbarker
It’s time to rethink how we view the Phoenix Suns and their title chances. Sir Charles In Charge
Chris Paul And the Suns Have Their Foot On the Gas. Sports Illustrated
The 1 trade the Suns need to make right now. Clutch Points
Monty Williams And Suns Players Had ‘Private Conversations’ About Team Owner Robert Sarver. Fadeaway World
This Week in Suns History
On December 1, 1984, Suns head coach Coach John MacLeod became the 10th coach in NBA history to compile 500 career wins as the Suns defeated Golden State 115-103.
John MacLeod was the Suns 5th head coach and retained that position for 14 seasons, longer than any other coach in franchise history, and took the Suns to the playoffs 9 times. He has more wins as the Suns HC (579) than any other Suns HC has wins and losses combined. Before becoming the Suns’ head coach, he was the HC of the University of Oklahoma where he coached future Suns’ player Alvan Adams during his freshman season.
In Saturday’s game against Brooklyn, CP3 hit another career milestone as he became the first player in NBA history with 20,000 points, 10,000 assists and 5,000 rebounds.
Devin Booker now has 118 games in which he has scored 30 or more points. That is the most by any player in franchise history. He is also just 127 points short of 10,000 career points. At his present PPG average (23.9), he should reach 10,000 during the Suns’ game against the LA Clippers on Dec. 13 in LA.
Previewing the Week Ahead
Tuesday, Nov. 30 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 8:00 pm AZT (TNT)
Thursday, Dec. 2 - Phoenix Suns vs Detroit Pistons 7:00 pm AZT
Friday, Dec. 3 - Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors 8:00 pm AZT
Only three games this week but two of them are against the Warriors who have the best record in the NBA.
Usually I begin with the first game of the week but this time I’m starting with the second against the Detroit Pistons. Detroit is 4-15 as I write this and 14th in the Eastern Conference rankings. They are terrible offensively shooting 40.5% from the field and 29.3% from three, both dead last in the NBA. Defensively they’re 21st in the NBA and their Net ranking is 29th. This game should be no challenge for the Suns and Phoenix should win it easily.
The main attractions for this week are the two games with the league leading Golden State Warriors one Tuesday and Friday nights. The Warriors presently have a full one game lead over the Suns in the WC standings. With two games scheduled against them this week, the Suns have the opportunity to reverse that and take a one game lead over them - as well as getting the best record in the NBA - if they can win both. That won’t be an easy task though.
Golden State is 2nd in offense, 1st in defense and 1st in net ranking. Phoenix is 7th in offense, 3rd in defense and 3rd in net ranking. The Suns and Warriors are tied for 1st in FG% (48.1%) and almost dead even in 3-pt percentage (36.2% for Suns, 36.5% for Warriors) but GS averages almost 10 more 3-pt attempts per game. They do turn the ball over at a higher rate (16.0 TOs per game vs 13.5 TOs pg) than the Suns which could turn into an important factor.
The first match between these two is in Phoenix and I’m giving the edge to the Suns in this one. Continuing the win streak is probably only a minor motivator for them compared to moving into a tie for 1st place but the two together plus a roaring Phoenix home crowd should be just enough to get them the win.
The second game will be at Golden State and the Suns will be playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. Golden State doe not have a game scheduled between these two games with the Suns and will be playing after a two day rest. I expect the Suns to put up a good fight but lose this one.
My prediction for this week is that the Suns will go 2-1.
What’s your prediction?
Important Future Dates
December 1 - Priority order for waiver claims is now based on 2021/22 record, rather than 2020/21 record.
December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded.
January 5 - 10-day contracts may now be signed.
January 10 - All Standard NBA contracts are guaranteed for the remainder of the season.
January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded. Last day to apply for a disabled player exception.
January 20 - All Two-Way Contracts are guaranteed for the remainder of the season.
February 10 - NBA Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET).
February 18-23 - NBA All-Star break.
February 20 - NBA All-Star Game.
March 1 - Playoff Eligibility Waiver Deadline.
April 10 - Regular season ends.
April 12-15 - Play-In Tournament.
April 16 - Playoffs begin.
May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery.
June 23 - NBA Draft.