Chris Paul named Western Conference Player of the Week

Suns point guard Chris Paul has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week for January 24-30, the NBA announced Monday.

Paul helped lead the Suns to a perfect 4-0 record over the past week, extending the team’s winning streak to 10 games,

He averaged 22.3 points, 12.8 assists and 7.5 rebounds in the four games, shooting 54.2 FG% and 58.8 3FG%, his highest scoring output over a four-game stretch this season.  An 11-time NBA All-Star, Paul scored 20+ points in all four games on the week, his longest streak of 20+ point games since the 2017-18 season when he posted five-straight such games.

After recording his fourth-straight double-double to begin the Week against Utah on Jan. 24, Paul notched his 18th-career regular season triple-double and second of the season with 21 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds two games later in a 134-124 win over Minnesota. The league leader in assists per game this season, Paul finished the week with 20 points, 8 rebounds and a season-high 19 assists, the most by any player in the league this season, on Jan. 30 against San Antonio.

This marks Paul’s 14th-career NBA Player of the Week honor and his first since winning in December of 2017. Paul has helped guide the Suns through their current 10-game winning streak, just the second time in franchise history Phoenix has notched multiple 10+ game winning streaks in the same season. A 17-year pro, Paul’s 10.3 assists per game this season leads the league, while he also ranks fourth in steals per game (1.9).

Paul and the Suns look to extend their winning streak to 11 tomorrow night against the Brooklyn Nets.

Warriors’ Porter: ‘I was able to step in and knock some shots down’

The two best teams in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns faced off on Christmas Day at Footprint Center, and the game lived up to the hype.

Steph Curry scored 10 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth, while Otto Porter added 13 of his 19 points in the final period as the Warriors would pick up a second-straight win over the Suns 116-107.

The Warriors(27-6) now have the best record in the NBA and lead the season series 2-1.

Down the stretch, it became the Otto Porter show for the Warriors. With Golden State leading 104-99 with just over five minutes to go, Porter scored 10 of the Warriors’ final 12 points. 

Without Andrew Wiggins(health/safety), Jordan Poole(health/safety), and Klay Thompson(Achilles), Porter stepped up, and the Warriors got a big win on Christmas Day.

“Coach(Steve Kerr) drew up a couple of plays that freed me open, and my teammates did a good job of finding me,” Porter said, who also added six rebounds and three assists. “I was able to step in and knock some shots down, and they kept finding me, so I kind of got into a rhythm.”

Suns’ Christ Paul, who had a team-high 21 points to go along with eight assists, and six rebounds, added on Porter: ‘He hit big shots down the stretch. He damn-near was a max player in this league at one point.”

For the Phoenix Suns(26-6), their 15-game home winning streak is now over, and the sentiment on their side was that the Warriors wanted it more.

“They created those breaks. They played harder than us,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “It’s rare when I say that about our team. They outworked us more consistently for 50-50 balls, timely offensive rebounds, diving out of bounds to save balls.”

Devin Booker, who had 13 points against Golden State, added: “They wanted it more, and they played like it. We just have to take this loss and move on to our next game.”

It appears these two teams will battle it out the rest of the way for supremacy in the West and the NBA. It would also appear that the Warriors could have the advantage as they will get back Klay Thompson and James Wiseman at some point.

Because of their great start, we forget the Golden State Warriors are not whole, so this team could be even more formidable when they get everybody back.

Watch below as Porter talks big win over Suns on Christmas Day:

Suns’ Ayton: ‘I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day’

The Phoenix Suns continued their winning ways Thursday night as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-101 at Footprint Center.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 30 points, 15 of which came in the third quarter, to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Suns(26-5) extended their winning streak to five games, and also extended their home winning streak to 15.

After trailing by five in the third, Phoenix used a 28-10 run to take complete control of the game, and OKC never threatened after that. 

Now, it’s onto their big Christmas Day showdown against the Warriors(26-6) at Footprint Center. The last time the Suns played on Christmas Day was back in 2009.

Many of Phoenix’s players have not experienced Christmas Day basketball, including Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson, and both are super excited.

“I’m not going to lie, I feel like I should thank the NBA for gifting me with a Christmas gift of playing on Christmas Day,” Ayton, who added 19 points and 12 rebounds against OKC, said. “A lot of guys that aren’t playing on Christmas are going to be opening their gifts, probably working out, probably getting ready for the next game, but me, I got kids waking up to go see Deandre and the Phoenix Suns play. That’s an honor. You can’t take that for granted. Stuff like that is just hard work. People recognizing us, just winning and stuff like that, and this is the reward. We just have to be grateful and not take it for granted at all.”

Cam Johnson, who scored 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field, including a 5-of-5 from downtown against OKC, added: “I’ll be honest with you, I’m viewing it as my first time, ever in my life, playing a basketball game on Christmas—watched NBA games every Christmas since I was a little kid, just the opportunity to go and play in that game. I like the time of the game, 3 P.M.; I’m hoping it stays that way, we show up, get to it. It’s like a dream come true, playing on Christmas, getting out there, and I’m just super excited for that. Never mind whatever else might be going around, just excited to have that game.”

Phoenix is 1-1 against the Warriors this season, and both games had a playoff feel. According to Chris Paul, playing Golden State is a good test for the Suns.

“Playing against Golden State, they always make you think, playing against the Lakers, Milwaukee, all those good teams,” he said. “They’re going to make you think the game, so it’s always a good test for us because every team is different.”

Phoenix and Golden State are the two best teams in basketball, so Saturday’s game against the Warriors should be a lot of fun.

Watch below as Ayton talks win over OKC, playing Warriors on Christmas Day:

Suns’ Shamet: ‘We’re deep for sure’

On Thursday night, the Phoenix Suns routed the Washington Wizards 118-98 at Footprint Center.

With the win, the Suns, who had eight players in double figures, are 23-5 on the season, the team’s best start to a season through the first 28 games since the 2004-05 season. 

Chris Paul, the only man with 20,000 points and 10,000 assists in NBA history, leads the NBA in assists per game(10.1). According to JaVale McGee, who had a team-high 17 points in 16 minutes against Washington, Paul, who had a team-high six assists Thursday, can see any and everything on the court.

“He’s a mind; he’s like a mega-mind when it comes to basketball,” McGee explained about Paul. “And the fact that he’s a point guard who controls the ball the whole game is even better. He sees things before they happen; he sees things that happened four plays ago that he can tell you about. His mind is just really basketball-oriented, and he knows where guys are supposed to be, and he knows where to put the ball. And when you have a point guard like that as your starting point guard, the backup point guard looks up to him and takes nuances from him, and it just trickles down.”

Phoenix is still getting it done without their leading scorer, Devin Booker, who missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury. That includes Landry Shamet, who started his seventh straight game for Booker and added 16 points, including four threes against Washington. 

McGee says the Suns have that “next-man mindset.”

“I think I’ve said this before; we have that next-man mindset,” McGee said. “So, (Landry) Shamet has been doing a great job stepping into that role, and when he goes back to the bench, he is still going to be a top-performing player. I don’t think it’s anything that we’ve done different, we just play our ball. It’s always been team basketball; Book (Devin Booker) just; weapons to score a lot of points around our team basketball. As a whole, we’re a good team at getting everybody the ball.”

Shamet added: “We’re deep for sure. I think more than anything is we play together; we trust each other, play the right way, and a way that enables us to have those numbers and multiple guys in double figures. Every night it could be somebody different in the spot. We have a lot of interchangeable pieces, guys who are comfortable in filling in different roles.”

Phoenix gets back at it on Sunday night against the visiting Hornets.

Suns’ Chris Paul reacts to end of 18-game win streak, says Curry’s handle makes him special

It was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. After 18 straight wins, the Phoenix Suns’ (19-4) winning streak is over. The Suns fell to the Warriors 118-96 at Chase Center Friday night.

The last time Phoenix tasted defeat was on October 27 against the Sacramento Kings. The Suns had a perfect month of November(16-0), including Tuesday’s 104-96 win over the Warriors at Footprint Center.

On Friday, Golden State(19-3) was in control from the start and ultimately led by as many as 27 points.

It’s always good to win, and according to Chris Paul, who had 12 points and eight assists against the Warriors, the streak was good times.

“The winning streak was a lot of fun,” Paul said. “It’s been a long time since we felt a loss. Hell, let’s start a new one.”

However, Paul said he doesn’t remember much from the streak. 

“I don’t remember too much,” he said. “I don’t remember when it started.”

Well, Chris, it started on October 30 against the Cavaliers.

Phoenix was without their leading scorer in Devin Booker(hamstring), and they lost Mikal Bridges, who did return, in the first half after he injured his hand, so not having Booker, you knew the Suns had to be at their best to beat the Warriors. Plus, the Warriors have now have won 12 straight at Chase Center.

Steph Curry, who struggled Tuesday as he shot 4/21 from the field, including 3/14 from downtown and finished 12 points, bounced back Friday. Curry scored 23 points(8/20 FG), including 6/11 from three-point range. 

The two-time MVP is on the verge of surpassing Ray Allen as the all-team leader in threes made. Curry is the best shooter in NBA history, and Paul believes Curry’s dribbling ability separates him from other shooters.  

“It ain’t just the shooting; it’s the handle,” Paul said. “It’s a lot of people that can shoot. A lot of people can’t handle the ball like that, and the confidence in how he shoots and the way he gets his team going. He just kept getting better and better.”

The Suns and Warriors will see each other again in Phoenix on Christmas, and based on what we saw this week, that game should be a lot of fun.

What’s next:

Phoenix is off until Monday when they return home to battle the Spurs.

Watch below as Paul talks the end of the 18-game win streak, and the handles of Steph Curry:

Suns’ Ayton: ‘I wanted to start a winning legacy in Phoenix’

The Phoenix Suns concluded the month of November the way it started, with a win. Led by Deandre Ayton’s 24 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Paul’s 15 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, and five steals, Phoenix defeated the Warriors 104-96 Tuesday night at FootPrint Center.

The rematch is Friday at Chase Center.

With the win, the Suns extended their winning streak to a league-best 17 games, tying the franchise record for the longest winning streak.

“It’s cool, man, Paul said about the winning streak. “You sort of forget about it because we just be hooping. We prepare for every game the same way, and when you do that, it’s about building habits. Like I said, third team, I’ve been on that won 17 in a row, and it’s a really good feeling. To go the whole month without any losses, regardless of who was on the schedule, that’s tough to do.”

Phoenix was 16-0 in November, and the last time they lost was on October 27 against Sacramento. In addition, at 18-3, this is the team’s best start to the season through the first 21 games matching the 2004-05 season. Furthermore, the Suns moved to 10-0 this season when playing an opponent with a record above .500.

Ayton has been with Phoenix through the tough times, including winning 19 games in the 2018-19 season. Last season, the Suns went to the Finals, and now they are tied with the Warriors for the best record in basketball after 21 games, and Ayton wants to keep on winning.

“We wanted to turn this thing around since we got here,” he said. “I wanted a winning legacy; I wanted to start a winning legacy in Phoenix. I think I’ve been saying that the whole time being here. Just having thee great pieces around us, we just have some young guys that know how to play basketball, but at the same time, we’re willing to take that constructive criticism, and not take it personal, but learn. That season where we only won 19 games, it wasn’t really no disappointment, it was just a lesson learned; that we never want to get back to that ever again, and that’s what we’re showing.”

Unfortunately, going forward, Phoenix might be without the services of Devin Booker, who left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. According to head coach Monty Williams, they will find out more about Booker’s health Wednesday.

For now, they celebrate a big win and look to push their streak to 18 Thursday at home against the Pistons.

Suns’ Williams on Booker: ‘He likes to kill; That’s who he is’

The Phoenix Suns are rolling and playing some big-time basketball right now. That train rolled into Madison Square Garden on Friday night for a quick stop, they handled business, and now it’s off to Brooklyn as the Suns routed the Knicks 118-97 to win their 15th straight game. 

Phoenix(16-3) led New York(10-9) by as many as 17 points in the first half and had a 13-point halftime lead. The Suns dominated the second half and led by as many 22 points in the third and by as many as 24 points in the game.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Suns’ win over Knicks at MSG:

The Great for the Suns:

-Devin Booker loves New York, and he balled out on Friday night. Coming into this game, Book was averaging over 30 points and shooting over 50% a contest at MSG. On Friday, Booker had 21 of his 32 points in the first half on 14/27 from the field, including four threes. 

“A lot of guys say they want to play on this stage, [Booker] really does,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said post-game. “He likes to kill. That’s who he is.”

-Chris Paul was his usual self. Paul, who is leading the NBA in assists per game, had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. The Point Gawd just knows how to play the point guard position at an elite level. Paul got everyone involved as Phoenix had seven players in double figures.

-Deandre Ayton had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. This was Ayton’s third consecutive double-double.

Shooting: Phoenix shot 55% from the field against the Knicks, including 46% from downtown(13/28). The Suns have shot 50-plus percent from the field in five consecutive games and eight times on the season and are 8-0 in those games.

Defense: The Suns turned 16 Knick turnovers into 25 points. In addition, they held New York to 37% shooting from the floor. During their 15-game winning streak, Phoenix has held teams below 100 points seven times.

The Not So Great:

You win 15 straight; you dominate pretty much from start to finish. It’s all great for the Suns right now.

Bottom Line:

The Suns have everything clicking right now. They had seven players in double figures, including all five starters; their big three of Booker, Ayton, and Paul are playing well, and again, they have won 15 straight(second-longest in team history). It should be interesting to see if they can keep the streak alive and equal the franchise mark of 17 consecutive wins by the 2006-07 Suns, as they have the Nets and Warriors next. 

What’s Next:

Phoenix finishes off their four-game road trip in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Best of the Rest:

Kemba Walker led the Knicks with 17 points, and Immanuel Quickley had 16 points off the bench.

-Cam Payne had 12 points and six assists, and Cam Johnson added 10 points off Phoenix’s bench.

-The Suns have now won seven consecutive games over the Knicks, the longest winning streak over New York in franchise history.

Watch Below as Booker and Paul react to Suns’ win over Knicks:

Cavs’ Osman on loss to Suns: ‘We compete’

The Phoenix Suns rode into Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on a 13-game winning streak, so Cleveland knew they would have their hands full Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers battled the Western Conference champions to the end, but they would lose 120-115 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavaliers(9-10) have lost five straight, while the Suns(15-3) extend their win streak to 14 games.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Phoenix.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Cedi Osman returned Wednesday after missing two games with a back spasms, and he was outstanding. Osman had 23 points off Cleveland’s bench, including a team-high five threes. It was a night of milestones for Osman as he got his 200th career steal and 1,000th career field goal.

=Jarrett Allen is having a great season, and maybe an All-Star caliber season. Allen had 18 of his team-high 25 points(9-10 FG) in the first half against the Suns and collected 11 rebounds. He went head-to-head with Deandre Ayton and was dominant. The 18 points in a half was a career-high for Allen.

-Darius Garland was in foul trouble for most of the night and fouled out in the fourth, but he had another solid night with 19 points and seven assists.

-Second Quarter:  Cleveland trailed 36-33 after one but picked things up in the second quarter. They had another 33-point quarter led by Ricky Rubio’s 12 points. In addition, they picked it up on the defensive end as the Cavs held Phoenix to 38% from the field, including 1/6 from downtown. Cleveland would take a 66-61 lead into halftime. The 66 points were the most the Cavs scored in the first half this season.

Grit, Heart, Scrap: The Cavs showed all these things against the Suns. Their grit, heart, and scrap almost got them a victory, but the Suns are so good and know how to make all the right plays down the stretch. However, that does not take away from the effort the Cavs displayed.

Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

-Third Quarter: The third quarter was the worst shooting quarter for the Cavs Wednesday night. They shot 37% from the field, including 1/5 from downtown. Phoenix, who leads the league in team field goal percentage, shot 48 percent from the floor and ultimately took a one-point lead into the fourth. The Suns finished the game shooting 51% from the field.

-Fourth Quarter Defense: The Cavs were not bad in the fourth quarter, but they gave Phoenix too many good looks. Phoenix had their best shooting quarter of the game as they shot 11/18(61%) from the floor; only one of those 11 field goals was a three, so a lot of mid-range jumpers from the Suns, including down the stretch when Chris Paul hit a pull up jumper with just under two minutes left to give Phoenix the lead for good.

Second Half Ricky Rubio: Rubio scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half(4/11 FG). Second half, much different story as Rubio was 1/9 from the field and had three points. On two occasions, with the Suns leading by three late, Phoenix purposely fouled Rubio and would not let Cleveland get off a three-point shot. However, both times Rubio missed the first free throw, and ultimately, the Suns’ plan worked. Rubio finished the game shooting 5/20 from the field.

Bottom Line:

Again, again, again, there are no moral victories in the NBA. Absolutely none! However, the Cavs are building; they were without one of their best players in Evan Mobley, and the Suns have won 14 straight, so give Cleveland credit; they went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in basketball and did not blink. So, for me, the Cavs get a moral victory against the Suns. Sadly, it does not count in the standings.

“Obviously, was a tough ending for us but for the 48 minutes, we were right there,” Osman said. “We compete.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland finishes off their four-game homestand Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. The Cavs our 0-3 on this homestand.

Best of the Rest:

-Phoenix had six players in double figures as Devin Booker had a game-high 35 points. Paul had 17 points and a game-high 11 assists. Deandre Ayton had 16 points and nine rebounds. JaVale McGee had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

-Cleveland also had six players in double figures. Lauri Markkanen had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Love had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Cleveland had 52 points off their bench.

-Phoenix’s 14-game win streak started on October 30th against guess who? The Cavaliers.

Watch below as Osman and Allen talk loss to Suns:

Mavs’ Porzingis believes two games against Phoenix may have been different with Doncic

The Dallas Mavericks finished off their two-game set in Phoenix against the Suns(12-3) on Friday night. The Mavericks, who were again without Luka Doncic(ankle/knee sprains), took an 84-79 lead into the fourth but would be outscored 33-20 in the final quarter and fall to Phoenix 112-104.

Dallas(9-6) fell to the Suns 105-98 on Wednesday night.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Phoenix’s loss to Dallas.

The Great for the Mavericks:

-Kristaps Porzingis continues to play well for Dallas. He led the way with a game-high 23 points, and he grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Porzingis shot the ball well as he was 8/13 from the field, including 3/6 from downtown. This was Porzingis’ fifth consecutive game of 20 points or more.

Jalen Brunson in the first three quarters: In his second consecutive start for Dallas, Brunson had a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists. For the first three quarters, Brunson was 6/13 from the floor with 15 points and eight assists, and Dallas took an 84-79 lead into the fourth.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

Fourth Quarter:  Dallas went cold in the fourth. They shot 6/21 from the field and had five of their 10 turnovers in the quarter. Phoenix went on a 17-3 run to start to the fourth, and the Suns shot 65% from the floor, including 5/7 from three-point range. Ultimately, the Mavericks were outscored 33-20.

Fourth Quarter Jalen Brunson: The fourth-year guard struggled in the fourth. He was 1/6 from the floor and scored only two points, but it was not just on him; the team struggled in the final period. Brunson finished the game shooting 7/19.

Defense: Dallas allowed the Suns to shoot 52% from the floor, including 48% from downtown on Friday night. In addition, they allowed Phoenix to score 112 points. 

Bottom Line:

The Phoenix Suns are red-hot as they have won 11 straight; they are probably playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. In both games against the Suns, the Mavericks took leads into the fourth, and both times, the Suns outlasted them. Maybe if Doncic was healthy, Dallas could have split the two-game set in Phoenix. Hopefully, they can get Doncic back against the Clippers.

“They’re a good team,” Porzingis said postgame about the Suns. They were in the Finals last year. That says a lot. I feel like we’re not too far off. If we had Luka(Doncic), it would also probably be a different look.”

What’s Next:

Dallas continues their four-game road trip on Sunday in Los Angeles as they begin a two-game set against the Clippers.

Best of the Rest:

-The Suns had six players in double figures. Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges(7/7 FG) had 19 points apiece. Chris Paul added 18 points, 14 assists, and five rebounds; Deandre Ayton had 8 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, and JaVale McGee had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench.

-For the Mavs, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 12.

On Friday, Dallas announced that Dirk Nowitzki’s number 41 would be retired on January 5th against the Warriors.

Watch below as Brunson reacts to loss to Suns:

Suns’ Booker on Monty Williams: ‘We’re going to keep playing hard for him and winning basketball games’

Before the Phoenix’s 123-111 win over the Rockets on Thursday night at Footprint Center, a story was released by ESPN that accused Suns owner Robert Sarver of racism and misogynism, which was denied by some members of the Suns organization and Sarver.

After the win, Chris Paul, who had nine points and 13 assists, gave his thoughts on the allegations against Sarver.

“I think for us it’s about controlling what we can control, and that’s hooping, that’s basketball,” Paul said. “That’s what we did today, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Paul knows firsthand what it’s like to deal with distractions from ownership as he was with the Clippers when Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team after a video surfaced of him making racial remarks, and Paul knows what it takes to work through it.

“It’s important, it’s important to stay focused, stay locked in,” Paul said. “I went through a few situations in my time in the league and the powers that be, they look into it and do their investigations and what not, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in all these years is that us, as a team, we got to talk. It’s not about what everyone else is saying or what everyone else is telling you to do, or what you should do. It’s about how we feel as a team, as a unit, coaching staff, everybody within the organization.” 

Devin Booker, who nearly recorded his first double-double of the season on Thursday night, finishing with a game-high 27 points and season-high nine rebounds against Houston, is happy that the Suns have Monty Williams to help them navigate through this situation.

“Perfect person, man. I heard his quotes pregame; he’s the best at that, at managing situations, controlling the room, and keeping people focused forward,” Booker said. “That’s what he’s done with our team. We’ve talked about it as a team, and you can feel everything he said. We’re sticking by him, and we’re going to keep playing hard for him and winning basketball games.”

There could be difficult times ahead for the Suns, but they have a great core group to work through this situation.