The Suns have continued to show they are one of the teams to beat this year, staring down periods of player loss due to injuries and COVID-19 to forge a spot atop the league’s standings.
Seven Phoenix players had at least 10 points in the victory as Cam Johnson hit for 23 points, Mikal Bridges scored 18, Bismack Biyombo had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Landry Shamet contributed 17 points, and Jalen Smith amassed 10.
The Suns were without injured regular starters Jae Crowder (left wrist) and Deandre Ayton (right ankle) and reserves Cameron Payne (right wrist) and JaVale McGee (left knee). Phoenix’s 39-9 record represents its best start in franchise history, and it’s 20 3-pointers in the win over Minnesota tied a season high.
«When you’re playing against a team with that many athletes, you’ve got to knock down shots cause if you miss, they’re going to be taking off in transition,» Phoenix coach Monty Williams said after Friday’s victory.
A win over the Spurs would not only give Phoenix a sweep of the four-game series this season but also clinch the best record in the West for the Suns heading into the All-Star break.
«We know our main objective is to win a title, bring a championship here,» Booker said. «But you can celebrate the little things going into it, along with the big things.»
The Spurs head to the Valley of the Sun on the heels of one of their most impressive performances of the year, a 131-122 victory at home over Chicago. San Antonio swept to the lead with a late-third quarter run and held off the Bulls, who are currently in second place in the East, as all five of the Spurs’ starters scored in double figures.
Dejounte Murray scored 29 points and dished out 12 assists in Friday’s win, San Antonio’s second in its past three games. Keldon Johnson hit for 23 points while Jakob Poeltl tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds, Derrick White had 14 points, and Doug McDermott, Devin Vassell and Lonnie Walker IV racked up 11 points each.
«We had a lot of guys play well — that’s what it takes,» San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. «We don’t have that go-to guy, so to speak, so we have to do it together. We have to do it as a group.
«We had 35 assists — that tells the story offensively,» Popovich added. «We have to play like that. We rebounded and played a pretty consistent game. I think we won three of the quarters. So, that consistency is what we are looking for from these young guys. Consistency and developing habits, playing through mistakes.»
–Field Level Media