Phoenix Suns get Bradley Beal back from injury, hold off Warriors

Dec 12, 2023, 11:01 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2023, 12:49 am

Bradley Beal...

Bradley Beal #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Footprint Center on December 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bradley Beal returned to the Phoenix Suns’ lineup after missing 12 games to a back injury and dropped 16 points in a 119-116 win over the Golden State Warriors Tuesday at Footprint Center.

Beal hit a pair of free throws to ice the game late for Phoenix’s (13-10) third win over Golden State this season. Devin Booker led the Suns in scoring with 32, while Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Beal’s highlight came on a tough fadeaway baseline jumper with a foul called on Warriors big Dario Saric at the end of the third period. Beal dapped up fans sitting under the hoop.

He hit a tough floater in the fourth quarter, as well as showed impressive off-ball movement.

The Suns kept him at 27 minutes, as head coach Frank Vogel told reporters pregame the staff would be smart with his minutes. Beal also provided three rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal while shooting 5-for-12 from the floor.

Beal got off to a quick start. On the first possession of the game, Beal came around a Nurkic screen and drilled an open 3 at the top of the key. Booker picked up the assist.

“I made my first shot of the game, it is just like riding a bike. I have been doing this for 12 years now. It is not going to be too much different from what you have seen in the past,” Beal told reporters postgame. “It is just getting my wind back now and you guys seeing me more.”

He only played four minutes and 50 seconds of the first quarter but checked in at the start of the second.

Beal’s next bucket came at the 7:35 mark of the second, finishing a layup through contact after Nurkic found him on a cut. He struggled to get looks with the second unit, one reeling with Grayson Allen and Nassir Little out. Chimezie Metu moved into the starting lineup with Bol Bol getting minutes off the bench.

Beal finished the first half with six points on four shots.

“He has seen a lot of junk coverages when he was out there,” booker said postgame. “I did too, but the times we are out there together, I think it is tougher on teams to junk up the game in the ways that they do. He is still getting his legs and his wind back, which I just went through the same thing. It is frustrating, the minute restriction, by the time you get your rhythm you turn around and you are subbed out. I just told him to ‘Stay levelheaded, but it is good to have you back out there.’”

He had missed the last 12 games with back pain so severe he had trouble sleeping or getting out of bed, according to the TNT broadcast. The veteran and offseason trade acquisition has played in four of Phoenix’s first 23 games due to back issues.

Tuesday was his first time playing with Booker in the regular season as NBA teammates.

“I think we are all very unselfish players,” Beal said. “We all have one goal in mind at the end of the day and that is to win the game. So, whatever it looks like and whatever it takes, everybody is kind of sacrificing and committed to doing their jobs.”

The Suns play again Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets at Footprint Center.

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