Encouraging stat emerges to begin Phoenix Suns' road trip

The Phoenix Suns have embarked on a crucial four-game East swing, and this emerging stat is a promising sign ahead of the postseason.
Charlotte Hornets v Phoenix Suns
Charlotte Hornets v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns began their four game Eastern Conference swing with a win on Monday, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-111. A game that will go down as the occasion when Devin Booker came back from an ankle sprain, in what it is hoped will be the last time this season he sits through injury.

The Suns will have more challenging games on this road trip in the form of the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, but the Cavaliers are a good team who are young and hungry, so pulling out the win despite missing Eric Gordon, Nassir Little and Josh Okogie through injury was important.

In the aftermath of the win, an encouraging stat has emerged for this team, and it is one that can carry them far in the playoffs.

That's because when Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal all score over 20 points in the same game - as they did against the Cavaliers - the Suns are 5-0. The only problem with this is that Beal has missed roughly half of the regular season through injury, while Booker has been forced to sit out a couple of times as well.

The fact that Durant has been the most durable member of their star trio at 35-years-old and having suffered a devastating achilles injury in the past is altogether more concerning, but this is a piece of welcome news for head coach Frank Vogel. Especially as all three are easily able to put up 20 on any given night.

Both Booker and Durant are putting up nearly 30 points per game each night - and although Beal sits at a lowly 18.6 in his 36 games played - that number shouldn't worry the team too much. Not only has he managed back-to-back seasons in the past where he put up over 30 a game himself, albeit as the primary option, Beal has transitioned well into being the third scorer for this group.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that - throughout his first five seasons in the league with the Wasington Wizards - Beal shot over 38 percent from deep. In three of those campaigns, that number went north of 40 percent. This season Beal sits at 37.7 percent from 3-point range, his best mark since the 2017-18 season, the first of three occasions when he was named an All-Star.

So the smart bet here is that as Beal plays more games consecutively, he will knock down more shots from deep. His 4.5 attempts are down on the 5.8 he has averaged throughout his career - and when you combine that with the open looks he continues to get next to Durant, Booker and Grayson Allen - there is no doubt Beal can break the 20 point per game barrier soon and for the rest of the year.

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Which when combined with the exploits of Booker and Durant, means the Suns are going to have all three score over 20 per game each night, and soon. That obviously doesn't guarantee success, but for a roster built on outscoring opponents like they did in the impressive win over the Denver Nuggets recently, it is a very encouraging sign.

The Suns sit 10th in offensive rating (117.0) so far this season, and there is no doubt this number is only going to increase with Booker now back on the court. The postseason will bring with it its own problems - but from now until then at least - this team is going to win most of the games it plays when their "Big 3" combines for 60 points on any given night.