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Center of the Sun: Suns firmly in 1st with new win streak at 10 games and counting

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

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz W (115-109) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz W (105-97) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @vs Minnesota Timberwolves W (134-124) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs W (115-110) Full Recap

The Suns are now 40-9 with the best record in the entire NBA, have a shinny new 10-game win streak, a 3.5 game lead over Golden State for the number 1 seed in the West and have insured that Monty Williams and his coaching staff will be working the sidelines at this year’s All-Star game in Cleveland on Feb. 20.

They have done all this by being the best 4th quarter team in the NBA and absolutely phenomenal in the last 5 minutes.

I should have learned by now not to doubt them but, when they were down by 12 going into the 4th quarter in yesterday’s game against the Spurs, I had already come up with a very different title for this article. I’m really glad that they made me have to come up with something completely different. I don’t mind the extra work considering the reason for it.

This team is the best in the NBA. Period. Have other teams had to deal with injuries? Sure but so have the Suns, especially lately. Much of this current 10-game win streak was accomplished with only 9 healthy players. The Suns have depth but not just in terms of talent, they have depth of heart, spirit and determination. They have developed a true winning culture that never loses heart and never gives up.

Here’s hoping that they keep this new win streak going and make this year’s earlier 18-game streak the second best in Suns’ history.

I don’t believe that it’s a stretch to think they can do it.


Game Highlights

JAZZ at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 24, 2022

Chris Paul & Devin Booker Combine For 60 PTS In Suns Win!

SUNS at JAZZ | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 26, 2022

Devin Booker (43 PTS) Breaks Franchise Record vs. Utah | Phoenix Suns

TIMBERWOLVES at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 28, 2022

Chris Paul Triple-Double 21 PTS 14 AST 10 REB Full Highlights vs Timberwolves

Devin Booker Drops 29 PTS Full Highlights vs Timberwolves

SPURS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 30, 2022

Chris Paul with 20 PTS 19 AST 8 REB Full Highlights vs Spurs

Mikal Bridges Scores 26 Points vs. the San Antonio Spurs

Devin Booker Drops 28 Points and Comes in Clutch vs. San Antonio Spurs


Key Stats

28.7 4th quarter PPG (1st), 59.7% FG in clutch time (1st), 39.4% 3-PT in clutch time (1st)

The Suns sometimes have bad quarters during games but almost never is it the 4th. Their ppg average in the 4th leads the NBA and their clutch time (last 5 minutes of the game with the score within 5 points) FG percentage is by far better than the 53.0% by the 2nd place LA Clippers. Their 3-point shooting in clutch situations actually goes up over their 36.7% average for entire games.

Random stats: Shoutout to Ish Wainright who scored a career high of 10 points in the Spurs game yesterday and was instrumental during the fourth quarter as he played small-ball center for the Suns during cruntch time during the 4th quarter come from behind victory. Ish also added 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks in his 20 minutes on the court.


Quotes of the Week

“I’m just thankful to be in this situation like this where everybody understands their job, the goal we’re trying to accomplish here. We go out there and we go get it.” - Bismack Biyombo

“To go out here and play in front of this city night-in and night-out is an honor.” - Cameron Johnson

“I just try to sit back and observe, and give an objective perspective to what we do. But I still have a long way to go, because the league, the talent here is growing exponentially. It’s a new game, the game is changing, the fans are changing. So I’m always in constant improvement mode.” - James Jones


Injury Status Report (Updated)

Landry Shamet (Ankle) Expected to be out until at least February 3.

Jae Crowder (Wrist) Expected to be out until at least February 3.

Deandre Ayton (Ankle) Expected to be out until at least February 3.

Abdel Nader (Knee) Expected to be out until at least February 3.

Cameron Payne (Wrist) Expected to be out until at least February 7.

Frank Kaminsky (Knee) Expected to be out until at least March 8.

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


News & Notes

The Phoenix Suns Uncovered the Gem of the Hardship Signings in Bismack Biyombo. Sportscasting

Once considered risky NBA lottery pick, Suns’ shooting star channeling his inner Klay Thompson. USA Today

Biggest need the Suns must address at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. Clutch Points

3 Shooters For Phoenix Suns To Target At Trade Deadline. NBA Analysis Network

Devin Booker Has The Most 40+ Point Games In Phoenix Suns History | Let’s Examine How Good He Really Is. The Shadow League

The Phoenix Suns and Star Guard Chris Paul are Rolling Again and Still Flying Below the National Radar. Sportscasting

Phoenix Suns Seeking Trade Deadline Help; Top Weakness To Fix. NBA Analysis Network


This Week in Suns History

On February 1, 2016, after getting off to a 14-35 start, the Suns fired head coach Jeff Hornacek and appointed Earl Watson as interim head coach. The Suns would continue to struggle throughout the rest of the season to finish with a 23-59 record.

On February 4, 1969, the expansion Suns defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 125-116 to post their 13th win of the season. It was the third win in their first ever 3-game win streak and the last time they would have successive wins that season.

On February 6, 2008, the 34-14 Suns traded Marcus Banks and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal, who had been sidelined with a hip injury before the trade, was inactive for his first 5 games as a Sun but would start for the Suns, averaging 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds, in 28 of their final 29 games of the season in which they were 17-11. The Suns would finish the season as the 6th seed in the West with a 55-27 record and bow out of the playoffs quickly losing their 1st round series with the San Antonio Spurs 4-1.


Suns Trivia

Devin Booker’s 16th career 40+ point game against the Utah Jazz broke Amar’e Stoudemire’s franchise record of 15. His points per game average for his 50 highest scoring games is 45.9.

Devin Booker’s career point total now stands at 10,451 which places him 8th on the Suns’ All-Time scoring leaders list. He is presently 261 points behind Steve Nash (7th, 10,712 points), 584 behind Amar’e Stoudemire (6th, 11,035 points) and 1,609 behind the “Original Sun” Dick Van Arsdale (5th, 12,060 points). Van Arsdale is the only player in the Suns’ top 15 that played all of his games (685) before the three-point shot was introduced in the NBA in the 1979-80 season.

Against Minnesota on Friday, the Suns made 20 three-pointers on 39 attempts. It was just the ninth time in franchise history the Suns have made 20+ triples as a team. They are 9-0 in those games.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, Feb. 1 - Phoenix Suns vs Brooklyn Nets 8:00 pm AZT (TNT)

Thursday, Feb. 3 - Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks 5:30 pm AZT (TNT)

Saturday, Feb. 5 - Phoenix Suns @ Washington Wizards 5:00 pm AZT

Just three games this week with no back-to-backs but 2 of 3 are on the road.

The Suns start off this week at home against the 29-20 Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are currently on a 4-game losing streak and 4-6 in their last 10. Their Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving just never really happened this season. Kyrie has missed all but 8 games due to his reluctance to get vaccinated and Durant has missed 13 games due to injury (and will be out again for this one). While Harden has missed only 7 games, much of the rest of their roster has been in and out for various reasons. They’ve still put forth a good offensive effort (8th in the NBA) but have been sub-par on defense (18th) but I doubt that they can do more than put up a good fight in a loss to the Suns with Durant, Joe Harris and Paul Millsap out and Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge questionable.

On Thursday the Suns will be in Atlanta for the 1st game of a 4-game East coast road trip. The 24-25 Hawks currently have the 2nd best offensive rating in the NBA but also have one of the worst defenses (27th) which puts them in the position of just trying to outscore other teams. They’ve been doing that lately and have beaten some good teams (Miami and Milwaukee) while on a 7-game win streak in which they’ve averaged scoring 119.4 points per game. Their defense has also been much better during that stretch while playing 6 of those 7 games at home. This could be the toughest game of the week for the Suns, especially if their roster is still injury depleted as the Hawks are fully healthy. I give the edge to the Suns but it will likely be a close, high soring game.

Finally, the Suns head to Washington to face the 23-26 Wizards. The Wizards are on a 5-game losing streak and 4-6 in their last 10 games. They are 22nd in offense and 21st in defense with a net ranking of 23rd. The one thing they do really well is draw fouls (20.4 per game, 3rd in the league) which they turn into free throw attempts (also 3rd) so the Suns will have to be carful with their fouls in this one. If they can keep their key players out of foul trouble I see no reason why this one shouldn’t be another Suns win.

I predict the Suns will go 3-0 this week.

What’s your prediction?


Important Future Dates

February 10 - NBA Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET).

February 18-23 - NBA All-Star break.

February 20 - NBA All-Star Game.

March 1 - Last day a player can be waived by one team and remain eligible to appear in the postseason for another team.

March 10 - Last day to use a disabled player exception.

April 10 - Regular season ends. Last day players can sign contracts for 2021/22. Last day two-way contracts can be converted to standard NBA contracts.

April 11 - Playoff rosters set (3:00pm ET).

April 12-15 - Play-In Tournament.

April 16 - Playoffs begin.

May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery.

June 23 - NBA Draft.