The (2-3) Phoenix Suns were home for the second straight game against the (3-2) San Antonio Spurs. In their first match-up the Suns were in control for most of the game but could not hold on to the lead as the Spurs stormed back in the fourth quarter. San Antonio won 115-114.
In last night’s match-up the game had a similar flow but in reverse. San Antonio controlled the game throughout until the fourth quarter but unlike the Suns, San Antonio was able to hold on and win 132-121. Here are some takeaways from the match-up.
Spurs Made Themselves Feel At Home
When someone is a guest at another person’s house, the person who is hosting may say, “make yourself feel at home.” As a way to make the guest feel comfortable in the house. When people say that, they don’t mean for you to go in the refrigerator and drink up all the juice. They don’t want you to put your feet up on their table. At that point you would be too comfortable and may get kicked out.
The Spurs were entirely too comfortable in the first quarter. The Suns saw the Spurs in their house eating all their food, drinking all of their good drinks with their feet on the table and did nothing about it. San Antonio got out to a 13-0 run to start the game.
🅿️ushin 🅿️ace pic.twitter.com/Hur3Y1yGlD
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 3, 2023
In that video you see an easy transition bucket for the Spurs. There is no reason why Victor Wembanyama beat everyone down the floor. He did a short closeout on Josh Okogie’s three point attempt and out sprinted everyone down the floor for the easy lay-up.
KJ from deeep 👌 pic.twitter.com/eYn6pk9ieZ
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 3, 2023
This was another example of San Antonio scoring in transition as the Suns were not able to get back on defense. The Spurs outscored the Suns, 39-20, in the first quarter and shot the lights out in the process. San Antonio shot 60% from the floor and 61% from three point range. That’s the work of a team that was very comfortable.
Devin Booker is the Bus Driver
There was a lot of talk over the last few seasons about bus drivers and bus riders after this segment on Inside the NBA during the 2022 playoffs.
The move of Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors after they went 73-9 the year before is one that will always be debated among NBA fans. Durant had his chance to shut up that noise while playing for the Brooklyn Nets but they didn’t reach the conference finals while he was there.
Now he is in his first full season with the Phoenix Suns and it appears that he is not the “bus driver”. Devin Booker is the straw that stirs the drink, the engine that makes the car run, the charger that keeps the battery alive. Ok you get the point. Booker is who makes this team go.
Saying that Devin Booker is important to the success of the Phoenix Suns is not a revolutionary statement but the connection between his play and the team’s play is rather unique and should be pointed out. The Suns started off the game slow and a big part of that was Booker getting back into the game action. This was Booker’s first game back from an ankle sprain that he sustained on opening night against the Golden State Warriors.
The Suns were outscored 39-20 in the first quarter and Booker had 0 points in that quarter. Kevin Durant had 11. It’s not Durant’s fault that the team was not playing well but his play does not elevate the team in the same way that Booker’s does.
In the third quarter the Suns outscored the Spurs, 34-28, behind the play of Booker. Booker had 11 points and five assists in that quarter. The Suns continued to chip away at the lead in the fourth quarter outscoring San Antonio, 32-29. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native was the leading force in the comeback attempt as he scored 10 points and dished out 4 assists in the fourth.
— Burn City Suns Talk 🎙️ (@BurnCitySuns) November 3, 2023
In the first game of the season Devin Booker handled the play-making role down the stretch and made back to back to back clutch assists to close out the win over the Warriors.
Devin Booker clutch time masterclass
3 clutch assists to seal the game. Point Book is here pic.twitter.com/inAPAAdgiq
— Thomas 🏀 (@ThomasBuckets78) October 25, 2023
Booker continued to show that he could handle the role of primary play-maker while also scoring the ball against San Antonio. The recently turned 27-year old finished the game with 31 points, 13 assists, and five turnovers.
If Booker would of started off the game as strongly as he finished it, maybe the Suns don’t fall behind by so much and run out of gas at the end of the game.