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Center of the Sun: The Streak ends but Suns still tied for the NBA’s best record

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

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors W (104-96) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Detroit Pistons W (114-103) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors L (118-96) Full Recap

We all knew it couldn’t last forever. Many of us expected it to end soon after Devin Booker’s hamstring injury. Winning is addictive though and the Suns’ 18-game win streak turned me into a full-blown junkie who has difficulty concentrating on anything but getting his next ‘fix’.

The trip to the Finals last years was special but “The Streak” is historic. It’s not only the franchise’s longest win streak, it’s tied with 6 other teams for the 11th longest win streak in NBA history. In 75 years of NBA basketball, only 16 other teams have won as many or more games in a row. 10 of those 16 also went on to win the NBA Championship that season.

In reference to the win streak ending, Chris Paul’s response was, “Hell, let’s start a new one.” I like that attitude.

There is no recent update on Book’s return time and he and Nader are both still listed as out until at least Dec. 10 (Frank is now listed as out until at least Jan. 10). Luckily for the Suns, they only have one game to play between now and the 10th and only two games this week. Starting a new streak is certainly possible this week but maintaining it for long is a lot more likely with a healthy Devin Booker back in the lineup.

Long ago former head coach Earl Watson said he had to keep a close eye on Devin because he would play hurt if he thought he could get away with it. That was way back when Book and the Suns were just hoping to get above .500 and a 3-game win streak (the Suns only had one of those during Watson’s tenure as HC) was a thing to celebrate. Book has matured since then and knows enough to keep his eyes on the big prize at the end of the season now so he won’t likely return until he’s back to 100%.

That’s best for him and best for the team in the long run... but I hope the rest of the team goes ahead and starts that new streak before he’s ready to return to the court.

We’re still a long way away from the playoffs though but tied for 1st in the West and the best record in the NBA with a 3-game lead over the 3rd place Jazz and 6 games ahead of the 4th place Grizzlies is a great place to be. Curiously, the rest of the West remains mired at .500 or below and at least 7.5 games back. It will be interesting to see how the standings in the West shakes out as the season progresses.


Game Highlights

WARRIORS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 30, 2021

Deandre Ayton (24 PTS, 11 REB) Controls Paint vs. Warriors

PISTONS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 2, 2021

Cameron Payne (19 PTS, 6 REB) Provides Spark vs Pistons

SUNS at WARRIORS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 3, 2021


Key Stats

111.6 ppg vs 105.0 ppg

110.4 OffRtg (9th) vs 107.1 OffRtg (22nd)

104.2 DefRtg (2nd) vs 111.6 Def Rtg (16th)

It’s an extremely small sample size but the stats above are for the Suns for the full season vs those from the last two games played without Devin Booker. Not only do the Suns miss him on the court but his absence also forces Monty Williams to utilize deep bench players like Elfrid Payton and Ish Wainright in his rotation. Even the absences of Abdel Nader and Frank Kaminsky due to injuries have become a bigger issue with Booker also sidelined as the bench has become very short.

Random stats: Landry Shamet is currently leading the Suns in 3-point percentage at 40.6% on 4.6 attempts per game. Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges are just a tiny percent behind at 40.5% on 4.8 and 3.2 attempts per game respectively. Over the last two games (without Booker) Shamet has made 63.6% of his threes (5.5 attempts), Bridges has made 60.0% (2.5 attempts) and Johnson has made 54.5% (5.5 attempts).


Quotes of the Week

“When you have great chemistry and you have talent, that is really special – and that’s what they (the 2006-07 Suns team) had then, and that’s what we have right now too.” - James Jones

“I feel like the world will see when the time comes. But we’re not begging for it either (national attention), we’re gonna keep our heads down and do our work, that’s who we are and what we do.” - JaVale McGee

“I don’t miss games.” - Mikal Bridges (referring to his finger injury)


Injury Status Report

Devin Booker (Hamstring) Expected to be out until at least December 10.

Abdel Nader (Knee) Expected to be out until at least December 10.

Frank Kaminsky (Knee) Expected to be out until at least January 10.

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


News & Notes

Kendrick Perkins Believes Chris Paul Should Be In The MVP Conversation. Yardbarker

3 takeaways from the Suns’ epic 18-game winning streak. Clutch Points

Stop sleeping on the Phoenix Suns. Yardbarker

Paul hails ‘nice piece of history’ as Suns break franchise record win streak. Sports Max

Mikal Bridges’ $90 Million Extension Is an Immense Bargain For the Suns as Proven by 2 Incredible Stat Sheets. Sportscasting

Uninterrupted. NBA.com

Phoenix Suns’ solstice coming in part due to steadiness of coaching. Deadspin


This Week in Suns History

On December 6, 2018, the Suns become the first team in the shot clock era to be held under 10 points in the first quarter of back-to-back games (since 1954-55) when they scored only 9 points in the first quarter in losses to the Sacramento Kings (122-105) on Dec. 4 and then against the Portland Trail Blazers two days later in a 108-86 loss. Starters against the Kings were Elie Okobo, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Trevor Ariza and Deandre Ayton. The starting lineup for the Blazers game was the same except for Richaun Holmes starting in place of Deandre Ayton. De’Anthony Melton was the high scorer for the Suns in game 1 with 21 points and Troy Daniels was high scorer in game 2 with 15 points.

On December 9, 1993, the Suns’ Kevin Johnson became the 13th NBA player to ever record 10 steals in a game during the Suns’ 114-95 win over visiting Washington. By adding 17 points and 13 assists, KJ got his lone triple-double of that season.

On December 10, 1969, the Suns pulled down 77 total rebounds and 46 in the second half alone in a 137-107 victory over the Baltimore Bullets. Paul Silas (16), Jim Fox (15), Neil Walk (13) and Connie Hawkins (11) all had double-digit rebounding numbers and out rebounded the entire Bullets team 55-51 despite Baltimore’s Wes Unseld leading all in rebounding with 21.


Suns Trivia

Suns 3rd string point guard, Elfrid Payton, has more career triple-doubles (17) than starting Suns point guard Chris Paul (16). The only other current Suns player to record a triple-double during his career is JaVale McGee (11 pts, 12 rebs, 12 blocks on 3/15/2011 with Washington). (Note: These are regular season stats and do NOT include playoff performances.)


Previewing the Week Ahead

Monday, Dec. 6 - Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs 7:00 pm AZT

Friday, Dec. 10 - Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics 8:00 pm AZT (ESPN)

Only two games this week, both at home. Devin Booker (injury) is likely to remain out through both games.

First up, the sub-.500 San Antonio Spurs. The Suns looked like they were going to beat the Spurs easily 2 weeks ago when they were up 13 points at the half and 16 at the end of the 3rd quarter but then let SA outscore them 36-25 in the final quarter to make the game a little too exciting at the end. They still managed to squeak by them with a 115-111 win but they can’t afford to do that again with Book out. The Spurs can be a dangerous team on any given night, just ask Golden State who lost to the Spurs the night after downing the Suns. I think the Suns will come out ready to get back on the winning track and win this one... as long as they don’t shoot 25% from three again as they did in their first game against the Spurs.

Next, the team gets three days off before Boston comes to town on Friday. The Celtics are just above .500 so far and have struggled offensively at times (23rd) but play good defense (8th). If Book plays in this one (possible but not likely), I’d call it a win without hesitation. Without him though, the Suns might struggle to score against the Celtic’s defense. I still think the Suns will have enough juice to pull off a win in this one at home though.

This week I predict the Suns will go 2-0.

What’s your prediction?


Important Future Dates

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.