Head coach Monty Williams appeared in his postgame press conference to discuss the Phoenix Suns‘ win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Suns were successful in their attempt to hold off a shorthanded Pelicans squad on Friday, improving to 4-1.
Williams was especially proud of his bench squad.
“They just played with aggression,” said Williams. “Sometimes you think of aggression, you’re just jacking up shots. I though the screening was at a high level, with Jock [Landale] and Bis [Bismack Biyombo] defensively. We were scrapping after 50/50 balls. Torrey [Craig] rebounding. Landry [Shamet] fighting over screens. Those of kinds of things for that group can help them have them have 50-plus points, which isn’t typical of that group.”
The bench was the bright spot for the Suns on a night where the Pelicans looked to turn up their intensity. The reserves unit put up 54 points against the Pelicans. While it may not be a regularity, it could help build the Suns’ identity for the bench.
Biyombo and Landale were able to step up in the absence of Deandre Ayton, who left the game with a left ankle sprain. With Jonas Valanciunas dominating the post, the secondary bigs were impactful in cleaning up the boards. Biyombo finished the game with a double-double, posting 11 points and 13 rebounds through 23 minutes. Landale also added in eight points late in the game.
Cameron Payne also continued his efforts from the bench, scoring 12 points while going 2-of-3 from three-point range. Craig will also continue to be a critical component for the bench. Craig shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the field for 13 points while also being a plus-7 during his play.
The Suns continue to impress at the start of the season. Phoenix has won its last three games, most of which have come against legitimate Western Conference contenders. After being speculated out of their title window, the Suns are putting early naysayers out of mind.
Phoenix will host the Houston Rockets on Sunday, hoping to jump out to a 5-1 start for the season.