The Phoenix Suns dominated a game win which they were supposed to dominate in their 128-112 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. That is the sign of a good team.
It started off slow. The Phoenix Suns trailed the Atlanta Hawks by double digits in the first quarter in a game that looked like the Valley Boyz might be a little emotionally hungover from their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday Night.
Everyone was turning the ball over recklessly and the Hawks, led by Trae Young and his exciting yet oft ill-advised basketball play, took advantage.
Former Sun, Alex Len, played like he had a point to prove as well. Len, who looks like he aged 10 years (in a good way) and added 20 pounds of muscle since his days in Phoenix, looked like the best big man on the court most of the game. Revenge is one heck of a motivator.
After that early stir-up, physics took over, and the cream rose to the top.
It has been a long time since anyone could refer to the Suns as the cream in this metaphor, but this year, it is entirely appropriately.
The Phoenix Suns went on a scoring frenzy that led to 36 and 37 points in the second and third quarters, respectively.
In a show of proof that the Suns really are a good 3-point shooting team again, they added 15 more deep balls to their growing 3-pointers made stat, and shot 38.5% from behind the arc.
It wasn’t one guy, necessarily, leading the charge. While Devin Booker did his thing and put up a relatively quiet 27 points, the Suns saw five players approach or pass the 20-point threshold: Kelly Oubre (30), Dario Saric (23) Frank Kaminsky (19) and Cameron Johnson (15).
Let us not yada yada past Kelly Oubre’s 30 points. After a self-admitted poor performance against the Lakers, Tsunami Papi re-upped his trademark energy and reentered attack mode against the Hawks.
He drove to the rim aggressively and with the type of conviction we have seem from him all season. That led to more intense defense (he picked up two steals) and a cycle that kept feeding itself more and more energy.
Oubre’s performance helped make up for Aron Baynes‘ first bad game of the year. The Aussie big man looked a little off throughout the game, but despite that, still managed to make a few of his patented plays.
Baynes took his eighth charge of the season, putting him second in the league in this hustle stat that I’m equally surprised and grateful someone takes the time to record.
In a separate play, his nose collided with Cam Reddish‘s elbow while Baynes stood strong in the paint against an erratic Reddish drive.
Hopefully, there is no long-lasting damage to Cam Reddish’s elbow.
All of this led to 128-112 victory for the Phoenix Suns in a game where, throughout the fourth quarter, there was never a doubt which team was going to win.
The Suns entered the game as an 8-point favorite, and they doubled that margin on their way to a smooth victory.
That, friends, is the sign of a good team.
Many Suns fans are looking for a reason why this early season success might prove to be fool’s gold down the road. They want to believe, but history has chiseled away the part of their brain that can store unbridled optimism.
These kinds of games help regenerate that part of the brain.
Good teams handedly win games they are supposed to handedly win, and the Phoenix Suns did just that against the Hawks Thursday night.
It is time to allow a little more optimism to grow.