The Human Torch. It sounds pretty good, right?
Phoenix Suns forward Terrence Ross was expected to provide a veteran presence once he was signed by the team after he was bought out by the Orlando Magic. Ross had been a streaky player in his career but is extremely athletic, which aided his ability as a high-impact player.
Ross has only played in five games so far with the Suns but proved he can be a weapon in their 132-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night. Ross hit six 3-pointers and showed he can be a versatile piece off the bench for Phoenix, which needs its bench to perform to maximize its chances to win a championship.
“It gives us another guy that can get his own shot but he can also space the floor and knock down some threes,” Williams said. “He’s got a big body, he can get to the basketball and take a hit, he can finish over top of guys when he needs to but I’m trying to get him to be himself.”
Ross seemed comfortable with his role in the Suns’ offense Wednesday. He was able to position himself for catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, come off pin-down screens for shots and ultimately make himself very effective with a 24-point effort.
Ross, known as ‘The Human Torch’ for his ability to get hot quickly, had 13 points in the last five minutes of the third quarter and then two more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. His last one was indicative of how hot he was, as he caught a tipped pass from backup forward Ish Wainwright and immediately pulled into his 3-point shot, which went in and gave the Suns a 110-82 lead with 10:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Terrence Ross really turned into KD tonight for all those sad Suns fans in attendance <3pic.twitter.com/nPJR2yNJ7Q— Suns Are Better (@SunsAreBetter) March 9, 2023
Afterwards, Ross shook his head and smiled. It was another positive moment for Suns fans after forward Kevin Durant went down with a left ankle injury pregame and did not play.
“Sometimes, he’ll get a rebound and he’ll look to pass it to somebody and I’m like, ‘We don’t do that. Just take off and play your game.’ And he’s just not used to that yet. I think there’s some deferment there and we are trying to get him out of that. Defensively, I think once he figures out what we do on defense and figure out the schemes and the terminology, he’ll be more settled.”
Suns guard Devin Booker, who had 44 points and somewhat salvaged a night without Durant, and point guard Chris Paul were very complimentary of Ross’ efforts.
“T-Ross is just locked in,” Booker said. “He’s staying aggressive like we are telling him to. I said it before, even the shots you take and you think somebody is contesting, he has such a high release and such great lift on every shot he takes it is almost uncontested. We need him to keep being like that and keep being aggressive and being himself.”
Added Paul: “I just like the guy’s spirit. T-Ross been in the league for a while, seeing him from a distance, but didn’t really know him like that. So now, being on the same team and just seeing some of the looks that he’s getting and shots, just playing the right way. I’m happy to have him here on our team.”
The Suns will need their bench to continue to contribute for them to reach their championship expectations. Ross’ performance was a positive sign for a team that is still looking to build continuity in its last 16 games.