Depleted Suns Worse Than Spurs, Final Score 117-89
The Suns took on the team with the second best record in the league in the Spurs on Thursday night. The Suns were without all three power forwards this game after Markieff Morris and Mirza Teletovic left Tuesday’s game against the Pacers. Because the Suns didn’t have enough players out with injuries, Brandon Knight didn’t dress for the game with a hip injury.
One could see how the game would go after the Suns won the tip off, and Archie Goodwin couldn’t corral the ball. The ball went out of bounds, giving the Spurs the ball right away. The Suns were able to hold off the Spurs for almost two minutes before they started scoring with ease. It was the Devin Booker show for most of the first quarter, scoring the first six points for the Suns, and eight of their first 12. Alex Len was able to add in six points of his own, and was able to help keep the Suns somewhat afloat after the first quarter, with a score of 25-18. The big takeaway from the first quarter was P.J. Tucker going out with a chest injury, giving the Suns eight active players for the rest of the night.
Alex Len started the second with a strong right handed dunk on Boban Marjanovic. Cory Jefferson found playing time thanks to the injuries, and pulled in a strong rebound on offense, and then put it back in with a layup to get the Suns within three. Unfortunately the Suns’ defensive rotation hurt them, and between that and a few turnovers, the Spurs found themselves once again with a ten point lead. Booker continued to impress in the second, and was able to throw up an alley-oop to Archie Goodwin in transition, which helped the Suns not be down by too a huge amount of points, and instead kept them down by a mere 13 points. He continued to score for the Suns, and put a nice spin move in the post on Johnathan Simmons to get an and-one. The Suns finished the half down by a score of 51-39 on 18-43(41.9%) shooting while committing nine turnovers. Booker lead the team with 11 points, and T.J. Warren was able to score in double figures as well with ten points.
The Suns started out the third quarter strong, with Warren and Goodwin looking to put the team on their backs. Back-to-back threes from those two that got the Suns within seven before the Spurs pushed the lead back to double digits. Booker was able to find his groove halfway through the quarter, and was able to score five quick points and showed off his passing ability to keep the Suns within single digits. The Suns couldn’t shut down the Spurs, and Marjanovic was able to put the Spurs up by ten points at the end of the third. The Suns scored 30 points in the quarter after scoring 39 in the first half.
The Suns couldn’t contain the Spurs as the fourth quarter began, and the they were able to go on a 9-0 run. Len was able to score the first points for the quarter, getting another one handed dunk on Marjanovic. Len was able to find Booker in the corner on the following play, letting the Almighty Armani get his second three pointer of the night. The Suns couldn’t continue to keep it close though, and found themselves with a 20 point deficit. The Suns lost by a final score of 117-89 while shooting 32-81(39.5%), with 6-18(33.3%) from behind the arc and 19-23(82.6%) from the free throw line. The Suns will look to play strong all four quarters on Saturday, when they face the Hawks.
After scoring a 2015 rookie high 32 points against the Pacers, Booker was the highest scorer on the Suns with 24 points. He shot 8-16 from the field, with 2-6 from behind the arc, and 6-7 from the free throw line. He continues to show the diversity in his scoring ability, hitting shots from all over the floor. Booker continues to exceed expectations, and has been showing his ability to make plays and play defense while on the court. If you want to hear how much we love the Almighty Armani, listen to our podcast!
While Warren found himself in foul trouble, he had a highly efficient offensive game against the Spurs. He scored 18 points on 8-13 shooting and hit both three pointers he attempted. This is the kind of game fans hope Warren can have more often. High efficiency is something this team needs, and Warren is the most efficient scorer for them.
The rest of the starting lineup that got extended minutes tonight played well. Len scored 13 points with eight rebounds, and had two nice dunks on Marjanovic. Tyson Chandler had eight points and grabbed 20 boards to lead the team in rebounding. Finally, Goodwin was able to score an ugly 20 points, shooting 5-14 from field, with 2-5 from the three point line, and 8-10 from the free throw line. The young guys and Chandler played well through three quarters, and the two center lineup will have to get the team by if the normal power forwards aren’t able to get healthy.