After losing to the New York Knicks, alarms certainly were being pressed by the Phoenix Suns coaching staff. The core of the team played at the level that is expected of some of the Knicks’ development players.
With that in mind, and the Cleveland Cavaliers next, the Suns were in jeopardy of losing four games straight. Fast forward to Wednesday, and for much of the game, there was no clear indicator as to who would be the victor.
In a crunch-time moment for the Suns, Mikal Bridges wasn’t able to hit a mid-range jumper in the final seconds. The end result was Phoenix losing 90-88.
Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul Made it Possible
With three of the original starting five intact, only Ayton and Paul made remaining in the contest possible for the Suns.
Paul was the leading scorer for the Suns, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also added in eight assists to his impressive performance.
Ayton displayed one of his more desirable performances, one that’s craved from Suns fans alike. He was able to put up 15 points that was complimented by 18 rebounds. Rebounding has been a sore, inconsistent spot for Ayton lately. Being able to improve on the glass is imperative to the Suns’ success.
Third Quarter Slump
The Suns put together a reasonable scoring performance in the second quarter. Even so, they appeared to lose their ways as the second half commenced.
Phoenix went scoreless through the first three minutes of third quarter. Given that, the Cavs were able to make their way back into the game. Phoenix only put up 21 third-quarter points, which was still better than the measly 14 they managed in the first quarter.
Still, there was no miraculous scoring that was transpiring from Cleveland. Donovan Mitchell, who went off for 71 points against the Chicago Bulls, wasn’t having his best night from the field by far. The Cavs were also without Darius Garland, leaving them more desperate from a offensive-generating perspective.
Without the scoring drought to open the quarter, the Suns may have not been in a crunch-time battle in the fourth quarter.
What’s Next for the Suns?
Phoenix will travel home to face the Miami Heat on Friday. The Heat will be completing their own road trip much like the Suns were on, making Phoenix their final stop.
Despite losing to Cleveland, the Suns still hold eighth place in the Western Conference. They are currently tied record-wise with the Golden State Warriors (20-18).
As much credit that is given to a hard-fought battle for Phoenix, a better start in the first half could’ve created a larger deficit for the Cavs.
Now, the Suns will look forward to facing the Heat, a rematch with the Cavs, followed by the Warriors and Denver Nuggets.
Access Burn+ Premium Content & Behind the Scenes Network
- Burn+ Annual Subscription (Digital and Print) $49.95 / year
- Burn+ Monthly Premium Subscription (Digital) $5.95 / month