Phoenix Suns come out smokin’ and have a real good night

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns are able to make up for deficiencies in one or two parts of their overall game with big performances in other parts, causing opponents all kinds of trouble.

Sometimes, too, the areas beyond the Suns’ control break the right way and bring Phoenix fans to the edge of their seats. The Knicks beat the Lakers, the Washington Wizards closed out the Utah Jazz and then the Golden State Warriors knocked off the Denver Nuggets.

And there was more potentially devastating news for Denver as its star guard Jamal Murray had to be helped from the court because of an apparent knee injury.

The Phoenix Suns set team records — and an NBA record — in beating the Houston Rockets on Monday, and gained ground on their Western Conference rivals.

Among the key points included in the Suns’ hot-shooting effort are several that recall a happy time in the Suns’ history, and inspire excitement over what is to come. It’s hard to maintain a level head if you’re a Suns fan these days, having slogged through a decade of troubled times.

But …

The Suns, led by Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Jae Crowder on Monday, ran their record to 38-15 on the year, the team’s best start through the first 53 games of a season since going 40-13 during the 2006-07 season. Phoenix is 30-7 over its past 37 games since Jan. 28, the NBA’s best record over such span. ∙

  • Shooting, shooting, shooting. The Suns hit a franchise-record 25 3s on 45 attempts (previous franchise  record was 24 on Feb. 20, 2021 at Memphis).
  • Phoenix made 18 first-half 3-pointers, tying the NBA record for most 3-point makes in a half. That matched the record by Utah on April 3, 2021 against Orlando. The 18 successful 3s crushed the Suns’ previous franchise high of 13 (twice).
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Suns set an NBA record by making 12 3-pointers in the second quarter. They surpassed the previous record of 11.
  • Phoenix scored 81 points in the first half tonight, their most points in a half since scoring 81 in the first half vs. the Los Angeles Clippers  on Feb.17, 2009.
  • And the Rockets caught some fire, too, helping to draw within one 3-pointer of the NBA record for combined 3-pointers. The Suns (25) and Rockets (17) hit 42 3-pointers.

The aforementioned losses by Denver, Utah and the Lakers were big, since clearly the Suns can flat-out shoot it at home. And home-court advantage will be important — especially if the Suns can hold it through the first two rounds, and maybe come away with the No. 1 seed in the West.

The Suns, led by Coach of the Year candidate Monty Williams, face a tough test in the second of a back-to-back Tuesday night when the Miami Heat come to Phoenix.

Buckle your seatbelts.

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