Coming into Thursday, the Phoenix Suns had lost three of their last games, putting them at fourth in the Western Conference.
Given the recent downfalls for Phoenix, losing to the Orlando Magic didn’t seem like an option. Yet for most of the contest, it appeared that Orlando could very well steal a win over Phoenix.
Despite the Suns constant advances to seal off the game, the Magic seemed to be on their heels for the better part of the contest, or leading for that matter.
In clutch time, the Suns were able to put away the Magic, winning 116-113.
Cameron Payne Keeps Suns Afloat
Without Payne, the Suns could’ve had an early night in the loss column. Yet thanks to his energetic, 18-point performance, Phoenix was able to stay in the contest, giving them the opportunity to close out in the fourth quarter.
Payne also added five assists to his performance, emphasizing on his ability to impact the game from multiple assets.
With Kevin Durant remaining out, multiple players from the Suns will have to continue to step up in his absence. After multiple lackluster performances from the bench, it was a positive to see Payne be one of the main impacts to the Suns’ success on Thursday.
Suns Make Peace with Free Throws
Head coach Monty Williams wasn’t pleased with the amount of free throw attempts for the Suns against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Phoenix attempted 16 free throws during Tuesday against the Bucks, with the Bucks attempting 37.
That number didn’t skyrocket for Phoenix in attempts on Thursday, though the playing field did appear leveled for both clubs. The Suns attempted 17 total free throws compared to the Magic’s 23 attempts.
Chris Paul Goes Vintage
Much of what the Suns can achieve in the postseason, even with Durant, will have a lot to do with Paul’s ceiling. Though maybe not as consistent, Paul has shown on a normal basis that he’s capable of pulling off highly-productive outings.
On Thursday, Paul was able to put up 16 points to go along with seven assists for the game. He shot an effective 7-of-11 from the field as well.
With Booker not catching fire until the second half, having Paul available to take some of the pressure away was critical.
Phoenix will be heavily reliant on Paul while awaiting the return of Durant. With very minimal games remaining, each player’s role will have to ascend to remain a placing in the Western Conference.
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