Suns underwhelm on defense again, allow 128 points to Magic in loss
It took the Orlando Magic eight games to score 100 points in a game this season.
They have only scored 100 in 10 of their 20 games and 115-plus in four, to bad teams like Cleveland, Memphis and Washington.
That made it ominous for the Phoenix Suns’ defense when they gave up 128 to Orlando in a 128-114 loss.
The Magic scored 65 points in the first half, but 21 points from Frank Kaminsky and a few threes going down kept the Suns in the game.
It got worse in the second half. Orlando (10-11) extended the lead to 17 with 8:22 left in the third quarter, putting the Suns (9-11) in a position where they offensively have to find small pockets of time to chip away at the deficit.
They got one a few minutes later, cutting it down to 12 at the 6:38 mark. But they just couldn’t get stops and the Magic kept hitting shots, scoring a game-high 38 in the third and effectively ending the game up 17.
The Magic shot 57.6% from the field and 56% from three-point range, all after playing in Washington last night. Aaron Gordon scored 32 points and made all five of his three-pointers.
No one had it going for Phoenix besides Kaminsky, who had 23 in the game, especially the star man.
It’s officially time to say that Devin Booker is in a rut. He was 7-of-16 in this game for 17 points, three rebounds and five assists. When Booker clearly needs to start scoring more, it rarely looks natural when he seeks out his shot and appears more as if he’s forcing it. Booker hasn’t been able to find his rhythm as a scorer in the past couple of games, something that has come naturally to the 23-year-old in his young NBA career.
When the Suns were down 12 with 4:30 to go in the third and Booker got a three-pointer to go down after a slow start, that was a bucket he needed to build off. Instead, he scored one point the rest of the quarter and didn’t play in the fourth.
As he continues to try to play within Monty Williams’ system, Booker has scored under 20 points in three of his last four games. He only had once such streak last season, and that was when he was playing his way back from a lingering hamstring injury most of the year.
Ricky Rubio could not create space while being defended by Markelle Fultz, shooting 2-for-9, while Dario Saric (3-of-7) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (3-for-8) didn’t add much offense, either.
Cheick Diallo (13 points), Cam Johnson (12) and Mikal Bridges (14) gave the Suns something off the bench scoring-wise.
The question, however, is going to continue about the defense. The Suns have been a bottom-five defense in the past two weeks, per Cleaning the Glass, and that was before this showing against the porous Magic.
While the return of Aron Baynes from injury and Deandre Ayton from suspension will help some, a run losing seven out of nine gives the Suns less wiggle room to click back into place what made them so successful to start the season and still contend for a playoff spot.