The Phoenix Suns are in a tightly contested race amongst the greats in the Western Conference. The same couldn’t be said for the Washington Wizards, who came into Tuesday on a 10-game losing streak.
Though the East isn’t as competitive, losing 10 straight doesn’t exactly spell for a season that could be turned around any time soon. The Wizards showed their awareness to the position they were in, jumping out to a slight lead in the first half.
Even with the Suns taking the lead for a short moment, the Wizards weren’t prepared to let their impressive showing go to waste, beating the Suns 113-110.
During the first quarter, both teams seemed evenly matched from a scoring output aspect. Both squads were shooting in the 50 percentile from the field, leading to only a three-point lead for the Suns at the end of the quarter.
Deandre Ayton got off to a quick start against the Wizards, who were without Kristaps Porziņģis. Ayton scored 12 points while grabbing four rebounds during the half, looking to score from every area on the floor.
Landry Shamet became the talk of the half however. Shamet looked to increase on his shooting from Monday, going for 14 first-half points while shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range.
Despite Bradley Beal being ineffective in the half, Kyle Kuzma along with the supporting staff looked to fill the void. Kuzma was up to 14 points for the half, with Phoenix having no real answer for the 6-foot-9 forward.
Even if that was possible, the Suns played themselves out of the lead at times with points off of turnovers in Washington’s favor.
In what could be an easily winnable game for Phoenix, they now have to find more ball security going into the second half.
Washington went on a 7-0 run to start the quarter. Phoenix looked to get familiar shots to Ayton and Mikal Bridges — yet to no avail.
Ayton was able to get Phoenix on the board eventually, but Washington maintained their course. The Bahamian big man was responsible for all Phoenix’s six points to start the quarter.
For the Wizards, scoring from outside seemed to come at ease. Washington was shooting 47 percent from three-point range for the game by the early point of the quarter.
The defensive presence that the Suns had shown in the season seemed to disappear throughout the game. Kuzma was undoubtedly having a career-year, but the Suns were catering to it. Kuzma was up to 21 points nearly halfway through the quarter.
Paul’s first score didn’t occur until halfway through the quarter. With Paul being absent in the scoring department, it created even more of a void with Booker out.
The Suns were able to chip away at the lead and cut it to nine behind Ayton’s performance. Ayton was already up to a double-double with another quarter of play remaining.
Along with Paul, the Suns went on a 17-2 run as they looked to close the quarter out strong. The Wizards’ once impressive lead was down to only two. Paul was able to score 11 points during the run.
The Suns’ monumental efforts led to a 80-78 score by the end of the third.
A Duane Washington, Jr. three-pointer saw the Suns take the lead to open up the fourth quarter. After trailing for majority of the game after the first quarter, Phoenix was looking to close out a huge comeback.
Shamet also continued to have a season-high night. He was up to 22 points, knocking down his sixth three-pointer to get the Suns’ lead to eight.
Phoenix’s bench unit was not only maintaining the lead, they were increasing it through fast-play and transaction buckets.
Ayton returned to the contest, and the star center seemed to get whatever he desired in the paint while being effective on defense.
Beal was continuing to struggle from the field, but he was getting his nightly dose of points from the free throw line late in the game. Though the Suns had taken the lead, the Wizards were still in striking distance.
Despite counting Beal out for the contest, he was able to find his rhythm, getting up to 23 points, giving the Wizards the lead once more at the two-minute mark.
Though the Suns desperately attempted to retake the lead, the Wizards were able to hold them off, snapping their 10-game losing streak.
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