Yet for the better portion of the first half, that appeared to be the case on Thursday. Being without Kevin Durant has surely taken its toll on Phoenix, yet hopefully not to the point of being outplayed by a non-playoff team in Orlando.
The Suns were able to close the gap and eventually take the lead, going into halftime with a 63-58 lead.
Cameron Payne Takes Over
Payne may be very well on his way in getting back into full form. On Thursday, that much was evident in the second quarter.
Payne, 28, was able to score and assists on seven straight points early in the second quarter to help put the Suns back into the contest, tying it at 39.
Without Payne’s emergence, the reserves unit may have been steamrolled with no one generating offense.
Aside from Payne, the Suns are still awaiting a major contributor to help change the direction the game is trending in. Despite getting themselves back in the lead, the Suns haven’t done terrifically well in keeping the Magic out of the game.
Booker’s Cold Half
The first half of Thursday’s contest was out of normality for Devin Booker. Booker only managed to put up three points by halftime, shooting 1-of-5 from the field.
Despite playing the most minutes of any starter during the first half, head coach Monty Williams elected to keep Booker sat for the better portion of the second quarter, giving the Magic time to keep their lead intact.
The Magic, though young, have put up some impressive wins over certain contenders this season. It would be mindful of Phoenix to set an aggressive tone early on in the second half of play.