The Phoenix Suns earned their second win in a week by blowing a 20-point lead only to prevail in the closing minutes. It is a unique way to go about things.
It is a unique strategy the Phoenix Suns have employed during their last two wins. The recipe goes like this:
Get a 20-point lead. Lose it in the 4th quarter. Turn it on late and eke out a nail-biter.
It is the type of strategy not oft taught by many coaches, but Monty Williams has a unique approach with this group and it is paying off.
The more traditional stance to obtaining a basketball victory would be first get that same 20-point lead, but then either keep it, or perhaps even extend it to a 30-point lead. Some coaches might suggest even more.
On Monday night, the Suns took their unique winning philosophy to the extreme and actually let the Charlotte Hornets get a 7-point lead with less than two minutes left before Kelly Oubre single-handedly (and a bit flukily) pulled out the victory for the Suns.
Against the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night, the Suns did not quite go that extreme, however, after cruising to a 105-85 lead with two minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Suns felt overtime would be the best way to close out the win.
The Pelicans fell right into their trap, and the Suns prevailed triumphantly, 139-132.
In all seriousness, this would have been a bad loss for the Suns, but instead, it was a great, great win.
Unlike the Charlotte game, which made fans exhale rather than celebrate, this win felt more earned. After giving up the lead, the Suns battled and won the game straight up with the type of fight fans have become accustomed to watching. If they hadn’t pulled this one out, there would have been some serious head-hanging in that locker room.
The first half was extremely high scoring, with the Suns putting up 74 and the Pelicans right behind them with 70.
Maybe it is bad 3-point defense, but it seems like every team the Suns play shoot lights-out from behind the arc. The Pelicans shot 8 of 15 in the first half before finally coming back to earth a bit in the second half.
Otherwise, major stat category leaders were all personal season highs:
- Devin Booker played what may have been his most impressive game of the year, only needing 24 shots to rack up a season-high 44 points.
- Ricky Rubio tallied a season-high 15 assists, which, you know, is just kind of what he does.
- Who needs a traditional center when you have Kelly Oubre Jr.? The Suns’ wiry ball of energy grabbed a season high 15 rebounds and, wait for it, season-high FOUR blocked shots, including this one:
Oh, and he also did this:
Brandon Ingram injured his pride muscle during this play, but would return to the game.
The Suns close out their four-game road trip in Houston on Saturday. It will be interesting to see what kind of strategy Monty Williams decides to use to get the win.
Will he go with the blow-a-lead-nail-biter philosophy that worked so well this week? Or will be take a more traditional approach? We shall see.