Jamal Murray shoots arrows into the Phoenix Suns all night in Suns loss

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns fell to the Denver Nuggets Saturday night in a game that Deandre Ayton dominated, but unfortunately for the Suns, not as much as Jamal Murray.

Jamal Murray shot imaginary arrows into the crowd all night at Talking Stick Resort Arena Saturday night en route to his team’s 117-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns. The former Kentuckian, affectionately known as the Blue Arrow, outshot the Suns’ former Kentucky sharp-shooter, Devin Booker, on a night where the Suns simply couldn’t hang on to a lead.

While Booker had a below-his-average-but-still-pretty-good 21 points and nine assists on the night, Murray poured in 36 points on 14-17 shooting (6-8 from deep) to go along with five assists. It was just one of those nights where the opponent’s star was a star, a night that seems to happen a lot against the Phoenix Suns.

While the Suns may have lost the battle of two-guards on this day, it was a different story in the war in the paint where Deandre Ayton outshined All-Star Nikola Jokic. Although at times Ayton looked reluctant to stuff the ball, as usual, he stuffed the stat sheet with 28 points and 19 rebounds in a game that will undoubtedly re-up one of Suns fans’ favorite mantras, “Why doesn’t he do this every game?”

But with periods and clap emojis between each word.

Ayton saw more minutes than any other time this season (42) largely in part to the lack of big-man depth for the Phoenix Suns right now. Baynes, Saric, and Kaminsky are still out with injuries and the five minutes Cheick Diallo played in this game were memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Diallo fouled Murray on a 3-point play, something the Suns have really excelled in this season, and then fouled again after he gave up the rebound on Murray’s missed free throw attempt, sending the Nuggets back to the line again.

Bench scoring, or lack thereof, continued to be the detriment of the Suns. The subs only scored 15 total points and 11 of those came from Cameron Johnson, who Suns fans are glad to see get back into a rhythm after missing 10 consecutive games with an injury of his own and looking a bit lost in the Suns’ victory over the Rockets Friday night.

After that great blowout win over one of the league’s best teams, James Jones got some slack for his lack of adding any kind of bench help to this team, slack that is now short-lived after this loss.

The lack of a bench production really showcases itself in back-to-backs like this and Jones’ decision to sit back and do nothing at the trade deadline, while in the long-term may be the right move, certainly is frustrating in the short-term.

On a random, positive note, the Suns didn’t miss a free-throw all night (23-23), marking the first time all season they shot 100% from the charity stripe. So there’s that.

Next. Ok, so what's the plan to save the Phoenix Suns?. dark

With only two games left before a much-needed All-Star break, the Suns have to just keep battling. They take on the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night.