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Rapid Recap: Suns blast Spurs by 38 in Sunday matinee, 133-95

The Phoenix Suns got a big win in San Antonio, and get plenty of rest for their starters ahead of tomorrow’s Mavericks rematch.

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns (16-7) lost to the West’s worst team, the Houston Rockets (6-17), on Friday night in front of their home crowd, so you had to wonder if they’d try to make up for it on the road against the West’s other worst team, the San Antonio Spurs (6-18) on Sunday afternoon.

They did.

After a janky first quarter that ended with a small 5-point lead, the Suns went on a 58-19 run over the next 17 minutes to blow the game open and render the rest of it a scrimmage for the Suns bench.

Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 25 points, along with 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges each had 20.

Other standouts: Dario Saric had 17 points (4 threes!), 3 rebounds and 2 assists in his best game of the season. Jock Landale had 12 off the bench in the primary backup-five role. Josh Okogie grabbed a difference-making 11 rebounds and also had 5 assists and 2 steals.

Suns win by 38 points, with a final score of 133-95. That’s their biggest win of the season, topping the 29-point win over the Warriors a few weeks ago. As a team, they made 19 of 37 threes (second only to the 21 they made against the Warriors).

The Suns are now 16-7 on the season, and will face the Mavericks in Dallas tomorrow night.

First half notes

The Spurs might be on a 10-game losing streak, be down a couple of starter-level players and hold the 29th-ranked offense in the league. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good start. They shot 65% from the field in the first quarter, and were down only 35-30 after one.

The Suns have won 6 of 7 and hold the 2nd ranked offense in the league, but are also missing two starters and this one’s on the road. So you can understand a slow start, and that’s what it felt like. Yes, the Suns led 35-30 after one, but you could tell they weren’t playing their very best basketball.

Dario Saric started again at power forward and once again the offense looked muddy. He played 6.5 minutes and the score was tied when he left, 15-15. They scored 25 over the last 5.5 minutes of the quarter. In the second quarter, Josh Okogie stayed in the game as the ‘power wing’ even though he has little to no offensive game but plays good defense and can make things happen in the paint on both ends.

Suns lead 35-30 after one. Devin Booker leads the Suns with 11 points on 3-6 shooting and 5-5 on free throws. Deandre Ayton had 6 points and 2 rebounds.

The second quarter went a little more as you might expect. The Suns took a 41-30 lead on a 6-0 burst that — ahhh, now we get it — shows where the Spurs really lack in talent these days. The bench. They’re down a few people due to injuries and didn’t start as a strong roster in the first place. As I mentioned in the game preview, they appear to be angling really hard for that No. 1 pick next summer, so they’re not too bummed about some 10-game losing streak.

Jock Landale, who spent the 2021-22 season with the Spurs, got the backup center minutes today, coming in late in the first quarter when Ayton took a breather. He was the immediately the Landale you love. Jock had 9 points and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes.

Ayton had a really nice second stint over the last 7 minutes of the quarter and got to halftime with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Okogie stayed in with the starters the rest of the half (2 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), and the Suns completely blew the doors off the game by outscoring the Spurs 36-11 in the second quarter to take a 30-point halftime lead.

Suns up 71-41 at half.

Your Suns kept up the energy in the third quarter and started draining threes as well — and within three and a half minutes the lead ballooned beyond 40 on a Dario Saric three pointer, his second of the third quarter.

Saric looks so much better when he’s taking and draining threes because that’s where the power wing fits into this offense. He also helps on the boards. And against the Spurs, his defensive limitations in space are less pronounced.

Ayton got his eighth double-double in his last nine games, 11th overall on the season, halfway through the third.

The Suns lead grew to 45 points — 93-49 — on an Ayton dunk, and now the only question is how long the starters will go, considering there’s a back-to-back in Dallas tomorrow night.

Dario Saric left at 5:40 (9p/3r/1a). Ayton left at the 3:59 mark (25p/10r/3a). Cam Payne left at 3:40 (5p/6a/2r). Mikal Bridges left at 3:06 (20p/4r/3a). Devin Booker left at 2:13 (20p/8a).

When Booker left, the Suns lead was down to 34. None of the starters played more than Book’s 28 minutes.

Let’s see if the bench guys can hold the lead big enough not to bring the starters back in at all.

Of note, this is the fourth game in a row they’ve cut down on Duane Washington’s minutes in order to see Landry Shamet as the main ball handler more often. Today’s game, just like Friday night’s, had Shamet taking those initial non-Payne point guard minutes. Shamet doesn’t collect assists (only 2 in 4 games before today) but got 3 in this one before mop-up time as the game wound down.

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