The Suns are two victories away from matching their historic mark
New York Phoenix Suns They haven’t lost a match in a month. And after hitting New York Knicks At Madison Square Garden Friday night, two wins were within short distance of matching their 17-game winning streak.
To do so, however, the Suns will only have to beat the teams that top both conferences, as they first face the East’s leading Nets on Saturday night in Brooklyn before returning home to play. Golden State Warriors leaders in the West. It will be the first of three games in less than a month against the Warriors, culminating on Christmas Day between the two best teams in the league so far.
But while the rest of the NBA may have back-to-back games between two of the top three teams in the league right now, one team isn’t: the Suns themselves.
“This is not a playoff tomorrow,” Chris Paul said with a smile after the Phoenix’s 118-97 victory over the Knicks. “It’s good for us to get out there and compete, and we’ll probably see different coverage and all that, but we’re just trying to build, build.
“It’s not about winning a match in November.”
The Suns focus on building to win matches in May and June. But all the winning matches in November? That’s going well, with Phoenix notching its 15th straight win Friday night in a complete win over the Knicks.
The match was competitive during the first quarter. But, as the game progressed, the Knicks just faded away, unable to make anything come off offensively while also delivering what the Suns wanted on the other end of the field. Phoenix finished the match shooting 55 percent from the field and 13 of 28 from a 3-point range.
But Devin Booker, who finished with 32 points in 35 minutes, stole the show for The Sun. He scored 21 points in the first half and got the goal he wanted against someone who Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau threw at him.
“A lot of guys are saying they want to play on this stage, but he really wants to,” said Suns coach Monty Williams. “But I don’t think there are many stages that Bock doesn’t want to go through.”
Booker said aggression on his part came from knowing the Suns needed a good start after close wins over San Antonio and Cleveland earlier this week. He acknowledged that the Phoenix’s winning streak had made them a team everyone was excited to play, and that the Suns had to match that intensity every night.
“We just wanted to move on,” said Booker, who was 14 of 27 from the field and 4 of 9 from a 3-point range. “It’s no secret that we’re in a solid streak and we’re going to get the best shot from every team. The whole NBA knows that, so we’re trying to set the tone from the start. Get out there, play basketball for the team…we did it.” We worked tonight.”
That’s been the case for some time for these Suns, who are now within a winning pair of matching their 17-game winning streak best, returning in the 2006-07 season.
The past calendar year saw the return of the Phoenix to heights not reached since that era, when it made Steve Nash, Ammar Stoudemire, Sean Marion and Mike D’Antony the permanent contenders in the Western Conference.
However, these Suns were able to do what that group couldn’t do last season by reaching the NBA Finals, losing in six tough games to the Milwaukee Bucks. And after it looked like Phoenix might fall into some kind of hangover from last season with a loss in three of its first four games, all the Suns have accomplished is winning every game since, to the point where he enters the game. Saturday’s game in Brooklyn after a full calendar month between losses.
It’s a drastic change that began with Phoenix’s acquisition of Paul through trade a year ago this month. As he examined his team’s most recent win, he said it’s Phoenix’s defense, the third-best team in the NBA this season, and second after Golden State since the start of the winning streak, that’s the basis of it all. The sun hopes to do so.
“We talk about it all the time. [La] The only thing that travels is defence, Paul said. I think that’s where we try to be consistent.
The Suns will now hope to achieve that consistency in Saturday’s game in Brooklyn. But what Phoenix says he won’t do is think of anything beyond that.
“We do one thing at a time,” Booker said. “We know that tomorrow we have a strong opponent who has been waiting for us, relaxed. So we have to go in with the same mentality, play the basketball we play, defend at a high level, and be in good shape to do that. He-she.”