The Phoenix Suns extend their winning there winning streak to two games after decidingly defeating the Charlotte Hornets 133-119 on Friday night.
It wasn’t easy for the Suns to put the Hornets away, as the Hornets continued their streaky shooting in the fourth quarter. The Hornets shot 48% from the field, but the Suns managed to shoot an astonishing 62%. Both the Hornets and the Suns shot lights out from behind the three-point line, with the Suns shooting 60% and the Hornets shooting 51%.
The Suns ran off of Jusuf Nurkic and the energy he brought in the paint, throwing down dunk after dunk. Nurkic (24 points, 15 rebounds) was the third and sometimes fourth option on the offense, as the ball continued to move fluidly for the majority of the game. The vibe was a delight, starting with the Big-3 to the bench. With Eric Gordon (21 points) and Saben Lee (3 assists) playing an important role in Friday night's victory.
After losing to the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night, The Hornets came out swinging. Going back and forth with the Suns, exchanging shots, the Hornets took a 13-11 lead with 8 of their 13 points coming in the paint. Frank Vogel called the Suns' first timeout at the 7:15 mark to stop the bleeding.
Seeing that Beal was handling the ball a lot to start the game, the Suns switched things up with Booker taking the ball out on the next possession after the timeout. With a few shots missed by the Suns, the Hornets got out on the run extending their lead and putting pressure on the Suns to stick with them.
Nurkic was dropping bodies in the first quarter, owning the paint, and abusing defenders left and right. With two straight rim-rocking dunks, Nurkic brought Suns fans to their feet, tying the game at 21 with 4:07 left in the first.
Brandon Miller of the Hornets was hot to say the least from three in the first. Draining his first three 3-point shots and scoring the first 14 of the Hornets' 27 points of the game, Miller was unstoppable. The rest of the Hornets team took note, and combined for a total of 6-three-pointers made. But the Suns would answer back, shooting 4-9 from three and taking a 36-30 lead into the second quarter.
There was a lot of Saben Lee to start the second quarter. He was setting guys up like a back-up point guard should, while setting Beal and Durant up with favorable matchups. The Suns maintained their lead halfway through the second quarter. While getting good looks from three, the offense was a little stale, signaling for Vogal to call a timeout to try and shake things up.
Lee continued to play smart basketball, giving the ball up to the better shooter and it continued to pay off in the second quarter. His ability to move in the paint and hit guys that were ready to shoot, had Lee leaving a huge mark on the first half.
Hitting their next five 3-pointers, the Suns got out a 16-point lead, the biggest of the game to this point. Booker started to heat up at the end of the first half with 8 straight points, leading the Suns into the half with a 10-point lead, 68-58.
Booker took over to start the third quarter, draining shots, and getting out on the break. This forced the Hornets to spend a timeout after the Suns jumped out to a 14-point lead. Booker still remained hot, nailing his next two threes, then missing his third. Nurkic then responded with a couple of easy shots near the rim, and the lead was back up to 16 points with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
The lead for the Suns reached as high as 20 points in the third quarter as the easy looks continued to open up for the Suns. The ball never stopped and the mission to put the Hornets away was almost complete.
But Booker began to go cold and the Hornets started to threaten... the lead dropped to 17 and Vogel had to spend another timeout at the 2:14 mark in the third. You could sense that a change needed to be made. That change was Beal, who immediately got to the rim, and on the other side, Udoka Azubuike swatted his second block of the night.
The lead dropped to 14 points, as the Suns stayed ahead of the Hornets, 103-89 entering the fourth.
The Hornets continued to knock down threes and even if they weren’t falling, they kept launching them. It was the only way to get back into the game, as they looked tired entering the fourth quarter.
Cutting the lead to 10 points, the Hornets were sitting pretty with 8:33 left on the clock. Terry Rozier couldn’t miss, with 34 points to this point of the game. With a quick timeout, the Suns headed back out to take care of business. Led by Durant’s five straight points, the Suns pushed the lead back up to 15.
The Suns managed to outlast the Hornets winning, 133-119.
The Orlando Magic come to town and they are a team not to be taken lightly.