The Phoenix Suns are not great against the worst teams in the NBA. In fact, against the 4 teams with the worst records in the league, they are 5-3. That is far from ideal for a team that pegs itself as a contender and something they’ll need to figure out.
The Suns jumped out to a hot start led by Devin Booker doing Devin Booker things in the 1st quarter. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 9 minutes.
He also hit this Kobe-like jumper on the baseline. So smooth.
The first wave of subs brought in Dario Saric, Cam Johnson, Cam Payne, Torrey Craig and Langston Galloway. Craig hit a three-pointer on his first shot attempt to extend the lead to thirteen by a score of 32-19.
Heading into the 2nd quarter the Suns held a 32-24 lead, finishing the quarter sloppy after a Magic 5-0 run.
Torrey Craig played excellent off the bench, providing 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block in his first 7 minutes on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the field.
Fresh to the roster.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 25, 2021
PHRESH ON THE COURT. pic.twitter.com/yrNnx4kN9a
Craig has been a welcome addition for the Suns, especially when you consider that they essentially got him for free. Well, not financially speaking, but that’s not our problem.
Orlando hung around due to some hot shooting to tie the game at 44 leading to a Monty Williams timeout with 5:28 in the 2nd quarter.
The hot shooting continued for Orlando as they seemingly couldn’t miss from the floor the entire quarter, specifically their blistering 50% shooting three-point shooting (9-18).
Heading into the half the game was deadlocked at 59 after a 7-0 Phoenix run to close out the 2nd quarter. Orlando made three more 3’s than Phoenix and got to the line more which is why they were able to withstand the strong start from the Suns and eventually build a lead of their own that the Suns recovered from.
Phoenix came out focused in the 3rd quarter, locking in and building a lead up to double-digits. Monty sent a message that had them laser-focused with great engagement from top-to-bottom on their roster.
Orlando fought back yet again as soon as the Suns' second unit came in, which was a bit of a trend in this game. At the end of the third, the Suns had a 91-86 lead.
Ayton continued his active play for the third consecutive game, which is a very encouraging sign as far as consistency goes.
Orlando simply would not go away, as they managed to answer just about every punch Phoenix threw their way. In the game preview, I wrote that it would be ideal for them to put them away early to avoid playing the starters heavy minutes in the 2nd of a back-to-back... so much for that.
In the late stages of the game, Michael Carter-Williams made a three-point play to give Orlando a 3-point lead with less than 4 minutes remaining in the game.
Chris Paul led a late-game rally, scoring 4 quick points to cut the lead down to one by a score of 107-to-106 with 1:00 minute left in the game.
Evan Fournier hit a tough fallaway jumper to extend the lead to three, but then a clutch Jae Crowder three tied the game with 30 seconds remaining.
Booker got fouled and made a pair of free throws to give the Suns a one-point lead, which was quickly answered by Fournier. Orlando led 112-11 with 6 seconds left, giving Phoenix a chance to win the game.
The Suns' late-game execution cost them the game. A failed after timeout inbounds play that was broken up led to them scrambling for a secondary play with 3 seconds left. Booker misses a tough shot in traffic, the Suns lose.
Star of the Game
Devin Booker- 25 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals.
Suns @ Raptors— Friday at 4:30 PM AZ time.
On to the next one.