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Center of the Sun: Suns extend win streak to four in Week Three

Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans W (112-100) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Houston Rockets W (123-111) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Atlanta Hawks W (121-117) Full Recap

Over eight days the Suns went on a 4-game win streak that took them from 1-3 to 5-3. During that span, key rotation players Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne were sidelined for half of those games due to injuries but deep bench depth players Frank Kaminsky and Elfrid Payton stepped in and stepped up to contribute significantly.

The entire team looked better over this stretch, working out some of the early season kinks that seemed to bother them in the first few games. CP3 and Book significantly improved their play (and stat lines) during that stretch and team defense also took a big step forward. Some players still aren’t quite back up to speed though.

Jae Crowder’s three-point shooting (28.9%) is currently at the lowest level it’s ever been over his 10 year career but he’s been hitting 61.1% on his 2-point attempts, his highest level ever for twos. Cam Johnson’s shooting percentages are also down so far this year (30.6% from three, 33.3% FG) but his defensive performance has improved. Cam Payne’s shooting mojo has also been MIA so far this season while being hampered by a hamstring issue. Abdel Nader, despite being a regular member of Monty’s player rotation, has largely been a non-factor on offense.

There’s still a lot of work to do but the recent signs of improvement are encouraging.


Game Highlights

PELICANS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 2, 2021

Chris Paul drops 18 AST in Suns’ comeback W over Pelicans

ROCKETS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 4, 2021

Devin Booker 27 PTS 9 REB Full Highlights vs Rockets

HAWKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 6, 2021

Devin Booker erupts for 38 PTS to help the Suns beat the Hawks


Key Stats

107.3 OffRtg (14th), 107.9 DefRtg (20th), minus-0.6 NetRtg (16th) - Season

110.1 OffRtg (9th), 101.9 DefRtg (6th), 8.2 NetRtg (5th) - Last 4 games

During their 4-0 run, the Suns have upped their game on both the offensive and defensive sides.

27.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.3 apg, 48.1% FG, 37.9% 3-PT (Last 4 games)

21.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.0 apg, 40.7% FG, 33.3% 3-PT (1st 4 games)

Those are Devin Booker’s stats in the Suns last 4 games vs his stats in their first 4 games. Book’s free throw attempts are also up from 3.5 in the 1st four to 6.8 in the last four.

13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 13.5 apg, 2.8 spg, 55.6% FG, 44.4% 3-PT (Last 4 games)

12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 10.8 apg, 1.8 spg, 39.5% FG, 30.0% 3-PT (1st 4 games)

Those are Chris Paul’s stats in the Suns last 4 games vs his stats in their first 4 games. CP3’s increases in FG and 3-point percentages were a huge plus over this stretch while also increasing his assists per game by almost 3 and steals by 1 per game.

Top 20 in the League

  • 1st in Assists - Chris Paul (12.1 apg)
  • 3rd (5-way tie) in Steals - Chris Paul (2.3 spg)
  • 8th (2-way tie) in Rebounding - Deandre Ayton (11.3 rpg)
  • 15th in Scoring - Devin Booker (24.5 ppg)
  • 18th (3-way tie) in FTA - Devin Booker (5.1 FTA)

Random stats: At 42.9% from three, Frank Kaminsky is presently leading the Suns in 3-point percentage.


Quotes of the Week

Steve Nash on CP3 passing him on the All-Time assists list

“People watched what we did last year and probably have something to prove so you’re not going to catch anybody off guard and you’re gonna get everybody’s best.” - Devin Booker

“Just go out there and inject energy into the game is all I try to do.” - Frank Kaminsky


Injury Status Report

Deandre Ayton (Leg) - Expected to be out until at least Nov. 10.

Dario Saric (Knee) - Expected to be out until at least April 1.


News & Notes

Devin Booker Gave Chris Paul the Ultimate Praise as the Ageless Point God: ‘We Keep Acting Like This Is Normal’. Sportscasting

1 pleasant surprise for the Suns early in 2021-22 NBA season. Clutch Points

Mikal Bridges Basketball Training Tips For NBA Success. Muscle & Fitness

Chris Paul Has Never Been as Important to the Phoenix Suns as He Will Be During Controversial Robert Sarver Probe. Sportscasting

Jae Crowder loved fan’s tribute to his taunt of LeBron James. Larry Brown Sports


This Week in Suns History

On November 10, 1990, the Suns routed the Denver Nuggets 173-143 to tie a record held by the 1959 Boston Celtics for the most points scored in a non-overtime game (the record still stands). The Suns had 107 points in the first half, breaking the mark of 90 set by the Nuggets three days earlier in a 161-153 loss to San Antonio. Suns Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons also picked up his 700th career coaching victory, becoming, at that time, only the seventh coach in the history of the league to reach that mark. The Suns also set a record for the most assists in a half with 33 and ended the game with 50 total assists. Cedrick Ceballos led the Suns in scoring with 32 points off the bench in just 23 minutes.

On November 14, 1997, the Suns’ 140-139 quadruple overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers was the eighth quadruple OT game in NBA history and the first since Golden State defeated New Jersey 150-147 February 1, 1987.


Suns Trivia

On Saturday, Nov. 6, with his 38 points against the Atlanta Hawks, Devin Booker passed Paul Westphal on the Suns All-Time Points Leaders list for 8th in the Suns’ record books. Book now has 9,591 career points and is 1,121 points behind #7, Steve Nash’s 10,712 points scored as a Sun. Devin has scored a total of 158 points so far this season and has a career average of 1,566 total points per season with a career high of 1,863 total points scored in the 2019-20 season.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Monday, Nov. 8 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings 8:00 pm AZT

Wednesday, Nov. 10 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers 7:00 pm AZT

Friday, Nov. 12 - Phoenix Suns @ Memphis Grizzlies 6:00 pm AZT

Sunday, Nov. 14 - Phoenix Suns @ Houston Rockets 5:00 pm AZT

It’s a busy four game week this time but, thankfully, no back-to-backs to worry about although three of the Suns’ four games are on the road.

First up, a rematch with the Kings in Sacramento. I’m sure no one has forgotten Harrison Barnes’ buzzer beater in Phoenix that gave the Suns their 3rd loss of the season and put them in a 1-3 hole. The Suns have gone 4-0 since then and Sacramento will be playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back after a tough loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. I expect the Suns to even the score with the Kings and win their 5th game in a row.

On Wednesday the Suns return to Phoenix for their lone home game of the week against the Portland Trail Blazers. This game is also a rematch with a foe that handed the Suns their worst loss of the season (134-105) a little over two weeks ago. Portland will also be playing this game on the 2nd night of a back-to-back after taking on the Clippers in LA on Tuesday. Even though the circumstances are good for a Suns win, I’m expecting at least one bad/low energy game by the Suns this week. I think this will be it and Phoenix will lose this one.

Next the Suns head to Memphis for their first game of the season against the Grizzlies on Friday. The 5-4 Griz have some quality wins under their collective belts (2x Denver, Golden State, LAC & Cleveland) but also some big losses (by 28 to Washington, by 26 to Miami and by 20 to Portland). For the season they’re 15th on offense but a dismal 29th on D for a net rating of 25th. If the Suns don’t have a cold shooting night, I expect them to get another win in the Bluff City.

Finally, the Suns head to Houston for their 3rd rematch of the week. The rebuilding Rockets (28th on offense, 15th on defense, 26th net rating) shouldn’t be a big challenge for the Suns but they can’t afford to not take this game seriously. In their first game, the Suns got ahead early but let Houston back into the game in the 2nd quarter and take a 5-point lead at halftime. Hopefully the Suns won’t need a comeback run in this one but even if they do I expect a win in Houston.

This week I’m predicting that the Suns will go 3-1.

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.

December 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 3:00 PM AZT (ABC)

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.