Phoenix Suns: 3 Adjustments to Make for NBA Finals Game 4

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Game 4 Adjustment: Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges

While Booker returning to form would be huge, it might not be enough to swing the game completely back over for Phoenix. He would likely still need some help from the two other members of the starting unit also venturing through their first playoff run.

With Ayton, the big thing for him in Game 4 is going to be how long he plays. His 24 minutes in Game 3 due to foul trouble were the least he has played in this year’s playoffs, and a big reason why the game was a blowout. The blame does not fall entirely on him though.

While there were probably a few times where Ayton was a little out of control rotating and picking up fouls, it is hard to improve on that besides telling him to make smarter decisions, which I am still confident he will. The more important part though are the situations which those around him were putting him in. Falling into that category was his coach, Monty Williams.

Williams has had a tremendous playoff run as a whole, but his handling of Ayton’s foul situation in Game 3 was one area he could have done better. Ayton sat for the final 10:25 of the third period after picking up his fourth foul, yet he finished the game with only five fouls, meaning that Williams essentially fouled him out while the game was still up for grabs.

That resulted in early Frank Kaminsky minutes, where he was a -13 in just under five minutes played through the first three quarters. Ayton needs to play close to 40 minutes for the Suns to have a chance, and the decision by Williams, coupled with some outlandish defensive decisions by multiple parties made it impossible.

On the offensive end is where Mikal Bridges needs to make the biggest adjustment going forward. His four shots taken in Game 3 were the lowest amount he has put up this postseason. He also had no free-throw attempts.

While Bridges is sometimes a good, and quick decision-maker, he does struggle on occasion when choosing to either take a corner shot or put the ball on the floor and move to the elbow.

This postseason, the Suns are 7-0 when Bridges attempts six 3-pointers. He has only shot above 40.0 percent from deep in two of those games, but the most important part is that he stays active and engaged in the offense.

Part of it in Game 3 was the defense from the Bucks, and the Suns being taken out of their offensive rhythm with foul trouble. But Bridges still needs to have more impactful games attacking with the ball, that is if the Suns hope to have success.