The Phoenix Suns get the win at home at the FootPrint Center against the New Orleans Pelicans, who were short-handed without two of their star players Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on the evening.
The Suns found themselves faced with what is called “a trap game” and played that way through the first two and half quarters.
The Pelicans came out making shots as the Suns struggled to get in a rhythm shooting the ball, and through the first quarter, they shot 1-9 from the three and had no free throw attempts which is a clear sign that they were not as engaged as they should have been.
The Suns defense gave up a hot shooting percentage to the Pelicans through the first quarter, as they shot 47.6 percent from the field and 45% from the three.
The first quarter got much worse as center Deandre Ayton turned an ankle while shooting a jump shot from the free throw circle, as he appeared to come down on the foot of the defender, he grabbed at it while on the floor and got up and limped down the court.
He left the game after playing only 7:42 and did not return, and there has been no timetable of how long he may be out, after the game Coach Monty Williams had no update and said he would get more information in the morning.
The turning of the ankle is a common occurrence in the game of basketball, some guys turn or tweak it during a play and are able to continue running while the ankle stays warm, Mikal Bridges tweaked his ankle as well in the same game and continued playing through it.
Going back to the game against the Maverick Devin Booker turned his ankle and was able to get up and continue playing, and said after that game much like Mikal in this game “it’s fine, just kept running and it went away” and played pretty good after that.
Ayton’s turn must have been a full turn and those can be the ones that keep you out for a week or two, but that will be determined by the MRI in the morning and Monty Williams’s press conference.
This game was close at the half and the start of the 3rd quarter, as the New Orleans shorthanded team gain more confidence, but the Suns buckled down and seemed to have hit a switch and turned on a great finish of the 3rd and a dominant 4th quarter.
Torrey Craig had six-man numbers with a stat line that reads 13pt and 6 rebounds and several hustle plays that kept the Suns in the game in the 2nd quarter, and he also added a few highlight put-back dunks to lift the crowd and his team’s energy.
Mikal Bridges led all scores with a game-high 27pts, and his aggressive nature of scoring more was on full display, it also looks like he has gotten his three-point shooting rhythm back as he was 3 of 5 from downtown on the night.
The Suns bench outscored the pelicans 54-21 on the night led by backup point guard Cameron Payne, and even with a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter with 5:43 remaining, Monty reinserted Devin Booker and Chris Paul to finish the game.
They then were pulled out at the 1:37 mark to a great standing cheer from the crowd, it is not clear why Monty reinserted Booker and Chris that late when the theme appeared in hand but the Suns took care of business as they should at got their 4th win on the season with a 124-111 win during this home stand.
The gauntlet of teams that were on the schedule that had everyone concerned about a potentially slow start has been silenced by a 4-1 mark, if it were not for two missed free throws against Portland the Suns could be undefeated at this point.
Next up is the Houston Rockets on Sunday at home, which is also another trap game, lets see if the Suns stay focused and take care of home court and hopefully allow the starters to get a bit of rest in this day of the load management.