Suns

Suns’ Stifling Offense Continues to Stun

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10 completed passes past half court. All five guys touching the ball.

Deandre Ayton finishes the and-one — plus making the free-throw — to put the Suns’ lead back up to 11 with 14.9 seconds left in the first half.

Play of the game. Phoenix’s sequence of the season. Plays like this are moments that live on forever when you end up winning championships.

It is safe to say this play speaks volumes more than can be put into words here. The poise, the patience, the quick decisions; all coming from such young stars in their first-ever Finals. This entire squad is defying any expectations going in.

It couldn’t have come at a better time or on a bigger stage.

Although online sports betting isn’t quite yet legal here in AZ, when it is — if I were a betting man– I might have to look to go all in on the Suns, now and in the future.

Devin Booker On Pace For FMVP

In 43 minutes per game, Booker is averaging 29 points on 43.5/40/100 shooting splits, to go along with 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Plus a one-of-a-kind performance only he can say he has accomplished. In Game 2, Devin Booker became the only player ever to have 31 points in a Finals game with zero free throws attempted. No matter all the “foul merchant” comments he may get, Book continues to prove people wrong about his game.

“He puts the work in. That’s what a lot of people don’t see… It’s nice to be on his team” said Chris Paul after the outing.

Putting on a scoring clinic all around, there was no stopping his offensive bursts Thursday night. Book was hitting tough shots from all over. Classic midrange buckets off glass.  Pull-ups and sidesteps from deep. Not to mention for the second time in his career Book managed to hit 7+ three pointers in a game. Doing it both times this playoffs, it seems another level of scoring is rising in consistency, which is a sign of dominance to come.

Oh yeah, also another highlight for the books.

Currently, Chris Paul is the only other presumptive candidate for the award. If Book is able to keep this scoring pace up, however, while adding another 40+ point game to the resume, it might be all but secured.

Suns Wings Spectacular Showcase

We’ve been waiting for THE Mikal Bridges game this playoffs. Along with the other Suns wings, it might just have come Thursday night as well.

In a game where Phoenix was going to need revitalized play from their wings, Bridges answered the call. Scoring 27 points — a playoff career high — on 53% shooting, while playing stellar defense on Bucks’ past All-Star Khris Middleton, he showed what he can be worth in that upcoming extension.

Not only hitting his open looks from outside, Bridges showcased just what he is capable of off the dribble. Weaving his way through traffic hitting midrange fadeaway J’s. Splitting double teams for one dribble pull-ups.

We even got him flying through the sky for yet another cutting dunk. It was nothing short of the best game of his career.

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Jae and Cam J

As mentioned before, some other Phoenix wing players stepped up tonight in addition to Bridges.

First, Jae Crowder was a healthy contributor to the Suns shooting in the first half, going 3-4 from deep in that split. Having his shooting back was a true breath of fresh air. This then allowed floor to be more open, giving space for our midrange guys to get their work in.

To add, he closed out the game with 10 rebounds and three assists. Crowder showed his defensive versatility on switches, while also causing some of his own disruption on the offensive end.

Another benefactor to the Suns 20 three-pointers Thursday was Cameron Johnson going 2-4 from three. At the beginning of the year, I wrote about Cam J’s potential, and man is he coming into form. Showing why he can be way more than the typical “3-and-D” prototype people thought.

Throughout the year, Johnson didn’t necessarily shoot the lights out like everyone was expecting. Shooting about league average from deep, this in a sense forced him to develop the other parts of his game to get his minutes. His defense, passing and IQ all have ascended, rounding out his game in the perfect time.

“He’s just a really good player.” Monty stated after his stellar Game 1 performance this Finals. He also went on to compliment Johnson’s defense and how he can space the floor.

This playoff run has shown the entire utility belt Johnson can bring. Understanding his size, Cam has learned where he can be utilized the most on defense, supplying impactful defensive support on switches to go along with his help defense on weak-side situations.

Monty’s Mindset Paying Off

Cam Johnson fully sprouting his game now is an isolated situation of the mindset that Monty has been instilling in these players all year. These guys are ready for the moment. While doubts about the experience on this team are fully understandable– it’s just basketball right? Nothing new from what they’ve been doing all year?

Monty has taught these guys to just go out and hoop, no matter what is being said around them. Regularly sporting a hat with WD>WS — well done is greater than well said — every player knows the only thing that matters is what happens on the floor. Even when things get tough and one guy might be having a rough game, Monty knows just how to get in their head and pick them back up.

In this clip, you can see it all literally come full circle.

Ayton is down on himself for the game he is having. Despite this, Monty knows there are ways for him to be impactful. So does DA, but he needs to pick up his confidence first.

On the next play — during the Monty speech in the live play going on beside it — Ayton causes a turnover by tipping a pass. He then proceeds to be the first one up the floor, then by not even touching the ball, helps get an open look.

Using his “force” on the pick and roll like Monty said to initiate the play. Then controlling his gravity by dragging Jrue Holiday all the way under the rim to get him away from Booker. The trap comes on Chris Paul. One easy pass to Book.

Boom, wide open three.

Pick Your Poison Here On Out

This entire playoff run, the Suns have proved on multiple different occasions the multiple ways they can win. From shooting the lights out from deep, to dominating defense and shutting offenses down, all the way to just our beloved backcourt taking over games single handedly; it’s all a recipe for success.

Finally, with only two more wins needed to secure the Suns’ first title in franchise history, they are looking to take to the road and make this a real series. If anyone is up to the task, it’s this Phoenix team. Currently posting the best road record in the playoffs — going 6-2 in those games — the resiliency and presence of calm minds have proven time and time again, they are more than capable to do what needs to be done.

Follow us on Twitter @SunsLead for the latest Suns news and insight. 

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About Cameron Prichard

Twitter: @TheValleyAthltc

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