The Phoenix Suns put together one of their best games of the season tonight.
Their bench unit has been under a spotlight of sorts, being called up, for their high variance of play over the last few games. In this one they would bring it, on both ends of the floor, finishing +15 in scoring, and compiling four steals.
Damion Lee (+30), Saben Lee (+16), Ish Wainright (+13), and Jock Landale (+18) were all extremely impactful in their shifts over the course of this one.
Then, the usual suspects, Bridges (25 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) and Paul (15 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers), were up to the task of captaining their winning efforts.
Defensively, they’d hold the Celtics to 38.7/26.3/83.9 shooting, and also force them into 14 turnovers, and out-rebound them by 10.
Even after a 0-9 start, accompanied by a 1-7 finish to the first half, the Suns were up 57-44, speaking to the level of sustained successes, activity, and multiple efforts they saw.
They’d finish with a 103.8 points per 100 plays mark through the first 24 minutes, indicative of just how well they operated against the pressure and switching of the Celtics defense.
They’d execute a great offensive process, using Deandre Ayton as a paint playmaking hub for connecting off of his paint touches, undoing the Celtics efforts of flattening out their attack.
Phoenix was also able to execute consistently off of their defensive efforts.
Turning defense into offense.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 4, 2023
DA finishes the break with a slam! pic.twitter.com/S8AlqQTH31
Chris Paul (11 points, 4-7 from the field) would control the pace while taking excellent care of the ball, to allow for as many opportunities on goal as possible.
The bench would register 22 points in the first half, while putting forth the requisite defensive connectivity needed against the depth of the Celtics, helping to hold them under 25 in both opening periods of play.
The third quarter saw a game-altering 29-point blitz from the home team, behind 16 combined from Tatum and Brown, coming within three, finishing at 74-71.
The Suns offense would hit a snag and not convert on any attempts from deep.
However, a spirited early fourth-quarter display of two-way play from the bench would keep them afloat, again, amidst a Celtics run.
Monty would elect to bring in both Paul and Bridges around the eight-minute mark, and Bridges (8 points on 2-3 shooting with an impressive basket ATO to beat a Celtics late-switch) would see more impressive scoring with the game in the balance.
Big bucket from Mikal Bridges down the stretch. pic.twitter.com/ZdwaFDmWzB— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) February 4, 2023
This one really helped to stamp an all-impressive win, and kick off the road trip.
The Suns travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on the back end of a road back-to-back. Tip-off is at 5:00pm AZ time.