The Phoenix Suns beat the Charlotte Hornets in a game where Devin Booker had only 12 points (five of which were free throws with the game out of hand). The reason? Kelly Oubre Jr.
There aren’t many teams in the NBA the Phoenix Suns can beat when they play the way they did Sunday evening, but on this day, the Charlotte Hornets were one of them.
The Suns came out of the game looking unenthused. They looked both surprised and frustrated the Hornets played such intense, passing-lane denial defense and it led to a slew of lazy passes and turnovers.
They also couldn’t shoot it into the ocean, and it led to a 10 point first quarter deficit.
Enter Tsunami Papi.
The team’s most electric player sparked a Suns comeback with his unrelenting energy. He also scored at will, even though Monty Williams admitted after the game he doesn’t call many plays for him.
His scoring much crucial because soon-to-be first-time All Star Devin Booker had an off night with his shooting, only contributing 12 points, five of which were late free throws with the game in hand.
He finished with an insane stat line of 25 points, 15 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and a +22 +/- rating. Each of those were team highs.
In a game that saw the Suns commit 18 turnovers and only dish out 22 assists, the team rode Kelly Oubre‘s wave all the way to a win.
I would be remiss not to give major props to Deandre Ayton too. The highly scrutinized big man didn’t shoot a single fadeaway jumper, and as a result, got a handful of easy buckets around the rim. Part of me still wants to see him dunk on people’s faces like we all know he is capable of doing, but two points is two points, I suppose. Baby steps.
And while there is still credit to dole out, give some to Elie Okobo. He has seized the backup point guard role,and gave the Suns some solid minutes Sunday night. He scored eight points despite not being able to shoot a right-handed layup.
Have you noticed that? He does most everything exclusively with his dominant left hand. If a right-handed player did that he wouldn’t make his High School varsity team, but south paws are a unique bunch and can get away with things like that.
The overall takeaway from this game is the Suns got a win while playing poorly. They have racked up so many losses when playing well, it had to feel good to make the inverse true.
The Phoenix Suns have now won two straight games as they travel to Atlanta to where they face a Hawks team with the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the league. Let the winning continue.