Two Game Week
After three games in four nights, the Suns had just two games this week against the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers. These were the first two of an important five-game home stretch. A key piece of the bench unit was missing, however, as Cameron Payne was out with a hamstring injury.
Pacific Division Battle
The Suns took on the Sacramento Kings to begin their homestand. It was a tale of two halves for the Suns. After struggling mightily to start games, the Suns starting unit got off to a better start Wednesday. They had all the momentum heading into halftime as they were up eight and felt in complete control.
Well, the third quarter happened and the Suns couldn’t buy a shot. They were outscored 29-15 and they were lucky it wasn’t worse. It would get worse before it would get better to start the fourth quarter. The Kings after starting off 0-10 from three finished 15-38 meanwhile the Suns shot just 6-22 from distance. Sacramento took a thirteen-point lead with just over six minutes remaining and it seemed all but over.
The Suns turned to Booker at point guard and started chipping away at the deficit. They got it down to five before the Kings pushed the lead back to ten with just under three minutes left. Phoenix would then go on a 12-2 run with thirty-four seconds remaining. Both teams traded misses then the Kings got the ball back for the final possession. After a smart Mikal Bridges foul on Fox with 1.4 seconds on the clock the Kings went to Harrison Barnes who his a turnaround three at the buzzer to beat the Suns 110-107.
It was a brutal defeat for a team trying to turn things around early on. It did, however, provide the Suns a good opportunity to test Booker with the ball in his hands more and he didn’t disappoint. He not only led all scorers with 31 points but he also added 8 assists. Deandre Ayton also filled the stat sheet with 21 points and 21 rebounds. It was the backcourt of the Kings, though, that the Suns could not contain. Buddy Hield led Kings scorers with 26 off the bench, Barnes added 22, Fox 18, and Haliburton 15.
All Hallows Eve Eve
This was one of the few Suns games this season that I won’t have watched live. Do to Halloween events I had to go back and watch the game after it had finished. It was a much different experience knowing the final score and not feeling so stressed. But, on to the game where our Suns took on the Cleveland Cavaliers the night after Cleveland had to face the Lakers.
It was not apparent early on which team was rested and which had played the night before. The Cavaliers took an early lead through Suns defensive mistakes. It was 31-24 after one. The beginning of the second quarter looked a lot like the first as the Cavs took a commanding 42-28 lead with 8:50 left in the quarter. The Suns would then go on a 50-12 run over the next quarter and a half as a Chris Paul three would make it a 78-54 lead with 4:15 left in the third.
The Suns would get a little complacent defensively over the next quarter plus as Cleveland would get the lead down to as little as 5 in the final two minutes. It was another poor shooting night for the Suns, 2-26 from three and 17-27 from the free-throw line. But when the team needed him most, the Birthday Boy, Devin Booker stepped up. He would knock down four straight free throws effectively ending the Cleveland come back solidifying the 101-92 victory.
On his 25th birthday, Booker dropped 27 points and 9 assists as it seems that the early season rust is wearing off. Deandre Ayton had another big double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Paul had one of his own with 16 points and 10 assists. In a bit of a surprise, it was Cedi Osman who played just four minutes the night before that led the offensive attack for Cleveland with 20 points.
The Suns had two rookie options due on Monday. Cam Johnson had a 4th-year option worth $5.9 million which was an easy decision for Phoenix. He is a key piece of this team moving forward after being drafted 11th overall in a draft day trade in 2019.
The decision that wasn’t as cut and dry as that of second-year big man, Jalen Smith. Smith was drafted 10th overall in the 2020 draft but has struggled to get on the court and has had less than stellar results when he has. His team option was for 4.7 million and in a move that doesn’t often happen, the Suns declined the option which will make smith an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Unfortunately, while it’s not common, it has been more common to one team in particular.
Okay this is too hilarious not to share. The last three lottery picks to get their third-year rookie-scale options declined:
Jalen Smith (10th in 2020)
Kendall Marshall (13th in 2012)
Earl Clark (14th in 2009)
This is out of the entire NBA. It’s rare! Only six total since 2005.
— Zona (@ZonaHoops_) November 1, 2021
Three of the six occurrences have come from our Phoenix Suns including each of the last three.
Kings Ransom presented by DraftKings
Kings at Suns (-8)
The Suns, of course, did not cover their eight-point spread as they lost to the Kings by three. The O/U was under at a total score of 217. Key player stat prop bets that hit: Booker points, Booker assists, Paul assists, Ayton points, Ayton rebounds.
Cavaliers at Suns (-10)
The Cavaliers late push not only hurt to watch but potentially hurt some wallets. The Suns won by nine thus preventing the Suns cover. The most consistent trend of the season is looking to be the under as this time the combined total was 193. For the second straight night, Booker points and assists hit, Paul assists, and Ayton rebounds.
Suns are currently 1-4 ATS and the O/U also stands at 1-4. Chris Paul assists, however, are 5-0 for the over. Devin Booker’s points “over” have been consistent over the past week as have Deandre Ayton rebounds after slow starts in that category.
This week in Suns basketball
The Suns finish the final 3 games of their 5 game home stand this week. Due to injury uncertainty to Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne, the lines for these games are not yet available as of the writing of this article. The games, however, are as follows.
New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns
Last year’s Assistant Coach, Willie Green, returns to Phoenix as Head Coach of the Pelicans. Zion Williamson remains out to start the season and Brandon Ingram will likely be a game-time decision.
Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns
A team that will feel eerily similar to the McDonough Suns, the Houston Rockets are the youngest team in basketball. They recently broke Phoenix’s record for teenagers on the court at one time with 4.
Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns
A clash of two Conference Finals teams from a season ago will finish off the week. It will be one of two matchups between the teams and an early look at young superstar Trae Young.
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