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Center of the Sun: League leading Suns get even stronger with midseason roster additions

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

Orlando Magic v Phoenix Suns Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns @ Chicago Bulls W (127-124) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Philadelphia 76ers W (114-109) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks W (131-107) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Orlando Magic W (132-105) Full Recap

New week, new streak (5-games) which hopefully the Suns can extend to -and beyond - the All-Star break.

Trade deadline acquisitions Torrey Craig and Aaron Holiday already seem to have proven to strengthen the already strong Suns. With the possible return of Cam Payne and Landry Shamet this week (or at least following the All-Star break), head coach Monty Williams will be handed a loaded deck that should make losses hard to come by.

With just 26 regular season games to go, the Suns need 22 wins (or just 21 if one of them is over Golden State in their final regular season matchup) to guarantee themselves the 1st seed in the playoffs. On the other end of the spectrum, they only need 2 wins to secure at the very least the 10th seed playin spot. 12 wins secures at least the 4th seed and home court in the 1st round.


Game Highlights

SUNS at BULLS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 7, 2022

Devin Booker (38 PTS) Continues to Build vs. Chicago Bulls

SUNS at 76ERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 8, 2022

Devin Booker (35 PTS) Leads Team Past Philadelphia 76ers

Mikal Bridges Comes Home to Philly, Turns in 23 Points vs. 76ers

BUCKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 10, 2022

Chris Paul (17 PTS, 19 AST) Leads Phoenix Suns Past Milwaukee Bucks

Deandre Ayton (27 PTS) Dominates vs. Milwaukee Bucks

MAGIC at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 12, 2022

T. Craig and A. Holiday Combine for 24 Points in their Debut vs. the Orlando Magic


Key Stats

Points per game - 113.7 (2nd), Opponent’s PPG - 105.4 (7th), +8.3 Point Differential (1st)

Nothing fancy this time. Advanced stats have the Suns ranked 2nd in offense, 4th in defense and 1st overall/net rating. In this day and age it is a bit curious that the #2 offense in the league does not shoot a great deal of threes (27th in 3-pt attempts) or free throws (25th in FT attempts). It’s no coincidence that the Suns have the 2nd best field goal percentage in the league though (48.1%).

Random stats: Over the last 10 games, Mikal Bridges has been the Suns 2nd leading scorer with an 18.4 ppg average. For the season, Jae Crowder is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Since returning from his wrist injury he has been averaging 7.9 rebounds per game.


Quotes of the Week

“Don’t celebrate your shots. Get your ass back on D.” - Chris Paul

“I think we can take it to another level, to be honest with you.” - Monty Williams

“How can you not want to play here? I think it’s the best fans in the league.” - Torrey Craig


Injury Status Report

Cameron Payne (Wrist) Expected to be out until at least February 15.

Landry Shamet (Ankle) Expected to be out until at least February 15.

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

‘My dad was everything to me’: Bismack Biyombo is still healing in his NBA return. The Undefeated

Devin Booker, Chris Paul Move Up to 6th and 7th in NBA MVP Betting Boards. The Sports Geek

Chris Paul gets GOAT endorsement from new Suns guard. Clutch Points

“Mikal Bridges anchors the Suns defense way differently than Draymond Green does for the Warriors”. The Sports Rush

Lakers think they can take on Suns in playoffs? Larry Brown Sports

What is the best five-man lineup in the NBA today? NBA.com


This Week in Suns History

On February 16, 2009, the Suns fired head coach Terry Porter after 51 games and replaced him with assistant Alvin Gentry. The Suns had a 28–23 record, ninth in the Western Conference, with Porter. Under Gentry the Suns would go 18-13 to finish the season with a 46-36 record and miss the payoffs for the first time after four straight appearances and two trips to the Western Conference Finals under former head coach Mike D’Antoni.

On February 18, 1990, Tom Chambers had the first 50+ point game in Phoenix Suns history, scoring 56 points in a 131-113 win at Golden State. The previous Suns record belonged to then assistant coach Paul Westphal who scored 49 points 10 years earlier on Feb. 21, 1980 in a 125-116 victory against the Detroit Pistons. Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons left Chambers in the game until there was only 3 minutes left hoping he would reach 60 points.

On February 19, 2015, after Goran Dragic publicly announced that he no longer trusted the Suns front office and wanted to be traded, the Suns made a flurry of in-season moves at the trade deadline including:

  • A 3-team trade in which Phoenix traded Goran Dragić and Zoran Dragić to the Miami Heat; the Miami Heat traded Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams to the New Orleans Pelicans; the Miami Heat traded Danny Granger, a 2017 1st round draft pick and a 2021 1st round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns; and the New Orleans Pelicans traded John Salmons to the Phoenix Suns.
  • A second 3-team trade in which the Suns traded a 2018 1st round draft pick (Mikal Bridges was later selected) to the Philadelphia 76ers; the Phoenix Suns traded Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee to the Milwaukee Bucks; the Milwaukee Bucks traded Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall to the Phoenix Suns; and the Philadelphia 76ers traded Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • And a third 3-team trade in which the Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Boston Celtics; the Boston Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons; the Boston Celtics traded Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round draft pick (Skal Labissière was later selected) to the Phoenix Suns; and the Detroit Pistons traded Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko to the Boston Celtics.

On February 20, 2002, the Suns traded Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk to the Boston Celtics for Joe Johnson, Randy Brown, Milt Palacio and a 2002 first-round draft pick (22nd, Casey Jacobsen was later selected). Although a rookie, Johnson quickly moved into the starting lineup in Phoenix playing in 29 games (27 starts) and averaged 9.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.6 APG and 0.9 SPG in 31.5 MPG.


Suns Trivia

The Suns are 21-6 vs .500 teams this season. No other team has 20 wins or single-digit losses vs winning teams.

In the Milwaukee game, Chris Paul became only the 4th guard (and 31st player at any position) in NBA history with 500 career double-doubles (and he got his 501st against Orlando on Saturday). The other three guards to accomplish this are Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and John Stockton.

The Suns’ away record of 22-5 is better than any other NBA team’s home record.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, Feb. 15 - Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers 8:00 pm AZT (TNT)

Wednesday, Feb. 16 - Phoenix Suns vs Houston Rockets 7:00 pm AZT

Friday, Feb. 18-23 - NBA All-Star break.

Sunday, Feb. 20 - NBA All-Star Game 6:00 pm AZT (TNT)

Just two games this week for the team before the All-Star break begins but the Suns will be repped at that one by D Book and CP3... although on different teams. And of course Monty and his coaching staff will be there as well. But before then...

First the Suns will host the LA Clippers at the Footprint Arena. The Suns are 1-1 against the Clips so far this season with both teams winning at home. They have made some changes to their roster since then but are 5-5 in their last 10, still without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and are presently 8th in the West with a sub-.500 record (28-30). They still play good defense (9th) but are a woeful 26th on offense... which took another hit when it was announced that new acquisition Norman Powell is now out with a fractured bone in his left foot. It shouldn’t be an easy game but I do expect it to be another Suns win.

Next the lowly 15-40 Houston Rockets come to town. The rebuilding Rockets are just a very bad team right now (27th on offense, 30th on defense) and should be no real challenge for the Suns as long as they don’t lose focus and forget to take them seriously. Another Suns win on the way.

I predict the Suns will go 2-0 this week.

What’s your prediction?


Important Future Dates

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.