The Phoenix Suns (a.k.a. best team in the NBA) did it again and beat the Orlando Magic pretty handedly, as expected. The 132-105 win came in a dominant performance against a Magic team who now hold the worst record in the league. Booker had 26-5-5 in 29 minutes in a game that he started off cold again, going 0-5 before hitting his first FG. Ayton and CP3, again, had a strong showing as well. Chris had 10 points and 15 assists on 26 minutes, as the Big Fellow added 17 and 10 in 25 minutes.
All in all, it could have looked like just another good win, but tonight had a special flavor to it. It started off early in the first, when Torrey Craig first stepped onto the court. He was welcomed back into the valley with a standing ovation, and proved to everyone in the building why he should never have left. He ended the game with 14 points in 22 minutes, with a team high + 21.
And if that wasn’t enough, because of the big lead, Monty was able to play Aaron Holiday through most of the fourth quarter, allowing the newest sun the opportunity to have a great night. He hit two threes and scored 10 points in only 9 minutes, and showed he can be an improvement on Payton, if he gets the time to accommodate.
The thing is that tonight was so well rounded that even Elfrid had a good game. Maybe it was the fact that the Suns traded for someone to take his minutes, or maybe it was just that Orlando second unit is just that bad, but he also hit 2 threes tonight, scoring 10 points, dishing 9 assists and grabbing 7 rebounds on 21 minutes.
In the end, there was no other way this could have gone. The Suns improve to 46-10, win their 5th straight and now look to play host to a renovated Clippers team next Tuesday.
Suns start off cold, with Crowder, Paul and Booker missing their first shots. Orlando gets to a 4-0 lead before Devin forces his way to the line to make the Suns first points, and then finds Ayton on the roll to tie it up. The teams keep trading baskets as the Suns make soft mistakes on both ends of the floor and Monty calls time out with 6:34 to go in the first up 2. They come out a bit more focused and go on a 13-5 run, as CP3 and Ayton step up to cover for Book’s cold start (0-5). Orlando finally calls a time-out down 24-16 with 3:31 to go.
Orlando responds by turning up the pace and quickly cuts the lead to 2 as the Suns bench come in to play with Bridges and Booker. Torrey Craig (#0) comes in with 1:11 to go and receives a standing ovation from the crowd. Immediately - and finally - Booker wakes up and makes back to back baskets and Payton makes a rare three pointer to close the quarter up 36-26.
Phoenix comes out to the quarter with energy with a 5-0 run but the Magic comes right back with a run of their own, as McGee and Robin Lopez battle it out in the paint for a few possessions. They are able to cut the lead down to 8 until Cam Johnson and Torrey Craig find two ease lay-ups, forcing another time-out with the Suns up 47-35 with 8:03 to go in the second. The TO does not do much, as the Suns come out with an 11-6 run and Jamahl Mosley calls another one down 58-41 with 3:45 to go.
The Suns come out with their starters and score 4 quick points to build the lead beyond 20 before Orlando reacts and go on a run of their own to cut it down to 11 before Booker hits a three to end the quarter up 67-53. Ayton led the Suns with 14 points and 7 rebounds and CP3added 7pts and 10 (!!) assists in the half.
Orlando comes out on an 8-2 run but Booker starts off hot and the Suns eventually go on their own 12-2 run and Orlando has to stop the game at the 8:26 mark down 81-63. Orlando keeps committing unforced turnovers and the Suns take advantage. After a terrible pass to no one by Cole Anthony, Bridges gets the breakaway dunk to extend the lead to 86-65 and Mosley has had enough, calling another TO less than 2 minutes since the latest one.
That doesn’t do much, as the Suns keep pushing and Booker, Cam and Ayton keep scoring to build the lead to 24 before the three minute mark. Orlando still tries to put up an effort to bring it below twenty before the quarter ends, but Torrey Craig scores the suns 100th point still in the third, taking a 100-78 lead to the break. Booker scored 16 points in the third.
The Suns come out with the reserves plus Bridges in the fourth and keep the lead up trading baskets. McGee leaves the floor after a huge block on rookie Wagner with 8:49 to go for the debut of Aaron Holiday (#4) and the first time we see a small ball line-up with Torrey Craig at the 5. The experiment doesn’t last long, as Biyombo comes in for Mikal with 7:28 to go.
Holiday scores his first points on a floater off a Biyombo screen and Payton feels the threat to his minutes, scoring his 2nd three of the game not long after that. Monty calls a time-out up 119-98 with 4:13 to go and puts Ish on the floor for Cam Johnson.
Elfrid Payton has quietly had a nice game: 8 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 3-8 FG, 2-2 3P— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) February 13, 2022
Holiday hits a deep three from an Payton assist and Torrey follows his lead with a three on his own and the crowd relishes on the new additions making themselves comfortable as the Suns extend their lead on a game that has been over for a while. Holiday caps it off with a floater and another open three for 10 points in 9 minutes, as the Suns close it out 132-105 and improve to 46-10.