This should’ve been a game the Suns were able to rest Chris Paul and Devin Booker for the entire fourth quarter. As we all witnessed, that was certainly not the case.
It was a horrendous close to the game, as the Suns slept walked through the final 5 minutes, and nearly blew a large lead to the young Thunder squad. At the end of the day, a win is still a win.
It was clear from the start that the Suns weren’t going to be able to coast to a win against an embarrassed Thunder team following their historic blowout loss to Indiana.
Oklahoma City jumped out to an early lead through some hot shooting and led 33 to 27 after the first quarter.
The Thunder are one of three teams in the association without fans, so after playing in a ton of thrilling games at home and on the road it was easy to see why this team struggled to match their usual intensity from the start.
Chris Paul was upset that he wasn’t able to play in front of his old fans this season.
As Van Halen once said...— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 3, 2021
DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY @ConnsHomePlus | #MakeItHappen pic.twitter.com/pZdOfpieRd
In the second quarter, the Suns woke up a bit from an energy perspective and were able to jump out to a lead after some back and forth action. Mikal Bridges hit consecutive threes towards the end of the quarter to extend Phoenix’s lead to 7.
Deandre Ayton had a pair of impressive blocks to close the quarter as well.
Mom when you reach your hand in the cookie jar before dinner pic.twitter.com/HJfFGFmV6V— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 3, 2021
Torrey Craig provided an injection of energy on the defensive end and on the glass per usual, sparking the Suns to a strong close to the half, leading 64-to-57. He had 13 points and 5 rebounds on an ultra-efficient 7 field goal attempts.
Halftime: PHX 64, OKC 57— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) May 3, 2021
Booker: 16 Pts, 4 Ast, 5-13 FG
Craig: 13 Pts, 5 Reb, 6-7 FG
Paul: 7 Pts, 7 Ast
Bazley: 10 Pts, 5 Reb
Torrey Craig’s dominance continued early in the 3rd quarter as he truly kept them afloat as far as energy was concerned.
May 3, 2021
Devin Booker was doing an excellent job drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line, as he had 10 attempts with 3:50 remaining in the 3rd quarter. When he’s aggressive off-the-dribble like this (seeking out contact), he’s a nearly impossible cover.
STOPPIT DEVIN pic.twitter.com/onLpQDFxfl— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) May 3, 2021
The Suns were able to extend the lead up to 17 late in the third quarter, creating the separation that we thought we’d see much earlier in the game.
Booker reached 30 points after hitting his first three-pointer of the game in the final stages of the third quarter.
110 30-point career nights.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 3, 2021
Heading in the final quarter of action, the Suns led the Thunder by the score of 98-to-85.
Chris Paul led the second unit early in the 4th to keep their lead intact, flashing a pair of nifty dimes to Frank Kaminsky to secure a double-double.
One thing I enjoyed from this game was Cam Johnson’s relentless attacking off-the-dribble, seeking out contact, and making some tough finish + drawing fouls.
Star of the game
Torrey Craig — 18 points, 10 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 blocks, 1 steal, 8/10 FG.
All due to respect to Devin Booker, you gotta give a tip of the cap to Craig’s effort and tenacity tonight. He kept them afloat early on.
Suns @ Cavs — Tuesday at 4:00 PM MST