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Rapid Recap: Suns blast Wizards, 118-98

Washington Wizards v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns took care of business tonight with a decisive win over a struggling Washington Wizards team who were playing this game on a back to back, after losing to Sacramento the night before.

They gave the Wizards (15-15 now) no life by playing great defense with a balanced offense: eight players scored in double figures and all 11 players who saw the court scored at least one field goal.

Suns win, 118-98.

The Suns have now won 13 straight games at home, and are 23-5 on the season — tied for the best record in the NBA and their best start to a season in 16 years.


First half notes

The game started cold for both teams. Not great defense for either team — just missing shots. After six minutes, the score was still just 11-11.

One early note: Deandre Ayton was not as cat-quick on offense in the opening minutes and Chris Paul was not letting him off the hook. CP3 bounced the pass to where DA should have been a couple of times, even knowing it was going to be a turnover. Maybe that’s a message to DA.

Coming out of timeout, Paul immediately hit DA on a short roll. DA saw the defense sink, pivoted, and passed the ball to Jae Crowder for a three. A la best-of-Frank.

Mikal Bridges was active going to the rim early, with 5 points on nifty layups (one an and-one), along with a pair of rebounds and an assist.

The Suns started getting some more three-point plays the old fashioned way before finally draining their second three just before the end of the quarter.

Suns lead 31-23 after one. Suns made only 2 of 9 threes but 7 of 7 free throws with many of those of the ‘and one’ variety. The Wizards made 2 of 6 threes and only 1 of 4 free throws to finish a quarter they’d rather forget.

A weird development — Monty is playing Jalen Smith as the power forward next to JaVale McGee on two rotations so far, putting Smith out in space against smaller guys (Kuzma, Avdija). No Ish Wainright.

The Payne, Payton, Smith, Cam Johnson and JaVale McGee lineup is having a bit of trouble on rotations, leaving the Wizards wide open a couple of times on threes.

Still, the Suns stayed in the lead because the Wizards just weren’t playing that well anyway. They were definitely playing like a team on the road that’s lost 7 of their last 9 games overall.

DA and Jae returned to the big man spots at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter with a 45-36 lead, with Shamet, Payne and Cam J.

Ayton’s inside-out passing on the roll has a been a nice development, setting up Shamet and Crowder to help maintain the lead even while the Wizards upped their energy and started making some tough contested twos.

Ayton finished the first half with an absolute flurry, scoring on four different possessions for 9 points in the last four minutes. That’s after collecting four assists on a inside-out passing before that.

At the half, Ayton has 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.

Suns up 62-50 at halftime.

Second half notes

The Suns came out in the second half with inconsistent energy (Chris Paul had it more than anyone else). A couple of times he led Ayton on sky-high lobs but Ayton did not score either time (missed a dunk, caught it on way down and stepped out of bounds on the landing). But the Wizards failed to do anything with the chances - a lot of that had to do with the Suns giving them no open shots. None.

When Chris Paul juked Kyle Kuzma out of the picture for an open two, the Wizards called timeout. Suns up 72-56. Out of timeout, the Suns stayed focused, pushing the lead even further, to 80-58.

Still, Chris Paul was trying to force the issue to Ayton and this time Ayton really wasn’t finishing as well. The Wizards were collapsing down and swiping, causing him to rush some shots rather than force the action — he missed a couple shots and made a couple turnovers, inducing a timeout with the Suns up 80-63 at the 3:47 mark of the third to get some bench guys into the lineup.

Suns up 89-71 after three. Bradley Beal has 26 on 11/17 shooting for the Wizards and is their only player in double figures scoring. The Suns have 6 players in double figures and Cam Johnson with 9.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cam Johnson scored to give the Suns 7 players in double figures.

The bench unit kept rolling, and both teams just played out the 20+ spread game for most of the fourth quarter. The Suns led 106-80 with six minutes left in the game.

Suns win 118-98.

The Suns now have two days off. Their next game is Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets.