The Suns beat the Magic, who had just eight active players, in a blowout, 109-90.
Despite missing his first two shots — both threes — Devin Booker got things started for the Suns when he scored eight early points, including a couple easy transition buckets. Orlando also made it pretty easy on them, starting 1-13 from the field and letting the Suns loose on the fast break.
It was particularly ugly for Michael Carter-Williams, who missed a couple jumpers and then became so hesitant that he missed a gimme bunny shot in the paint. The gameplan likely called for Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic to take most of the shots, but neither of them could get anything going early, meaning other guys had to try to do more than they should.
While the Magic sputtered with hardly any one active for the game, Booker went for the early kill, scoring 17 before Monty Williams called a timeout with 2:51 to go.
LOGO BOOK STRIKES AGAIN pic.twitter.com/tqoUdCKG0W— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 15, 2021
By that point, the Suns were up, 23-9. They kept their foot on the gas and were up, 28-16, entering the second period.
At the 6:10 mark of the second, Magic coach Steve Clifford called another timeout after a collision between Ross and Mikal Bridges, but Ross did return to the game. The injury appeared to be just a hard hit to his nethers.
Orlando couldn’t muster 20 points in either of the first two periods and went into the half down, 52-35.
In part 230250814059 of referees not knowing how to officiate Mikal Bridges, the third quarter opened with a nice drive by Bridges in which Gary Clark was draped all over him and there was an audible smack, but no call. Bridges threw his arms up in frustration and Chris Paul even gave up a foul to make a statement to the refs.
A moment later, Booker drew a foul on Dwayne Bacon on a three-pointer, which seemed to act as karma. Booker made all three free-throws.
Orlando’s goal was probably just to incrementally cut the lead and try to get it within single digits. You know the drill. There were a lot of similar blowouts in this building going the opposite direction. But the Magic just didn’t have the juice.
The Suns went on an 8-0 run late in the third that forced yet another timeout from Clifford, this time after an absurd three from Jae Crowder, his second in a row.
Clifford’s timeout came after the Suns’ lead grew to 25 on the Crowder bomb.
It stayed there for most of the rest of the game, with the Suns keeping their foot on the gas and continuing to play their style of basketball despite the big lead. Crowder continued a classic all-threes game that looks ugly in the box score but nice in real time, and the bench overall cruised.
For some reason, Williams brought the starters back in for their usual run in the fourth quarter despite the big lead and being on the second night of a back-to-back, but most players’ minutes were still limited and early in the season, there’s plenty of habit-building to be done.
Everyone besides Bridges left the floor with 2:09 to go, the job complete.