Phoenix Suns find better energy for clinical win over Spurs

Mar 23, 2024, 7:17 PM | Updated: 9:26 pm

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives in front of Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs i...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives in front of Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs in the first half at Frost Bank Center on March 23, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns were overdue for a win like Saturday’s 131-106 final over the San Antonio Spurs, taking care of business early against an inferior opponent.

Phoenix has struggled to find consistent effort and focus on both ends over the course of these games and especially at the start of them. That’s when it can deny a team the chance at some confidence, giving them the feeling they are very beatable. Great teams win clinically through consistency on a regular basis and Phoenix hasn’t been able to do that this season.

The Suns, however, put together a much improved first quarter compared to its two starts earlier in the week for similar matchups, a sign they were heading in the right direction before expanding their lead to 17 in the mid-second quarter. Their defense was solid and avoided some of the mind-numbing mistakes that have turned into a pattern over March.

The advantage ballooned to 25 two minutes into the third quarter. When it jumped to 26 at 8:28 remaining in that period, Phoenix had 22 assists and just two turnovers. It finished at 38 and 10, plus there were no extracurriculars in the fourth quarter, an improvement given how expected they are no matter the state of the game.

One of Phoenix’s issues as of late has been winning through its stars. The Suns should be a 50-win team solely off having the Big 3 it does, riding that trio in a well-sized chunk of those victories simply off its talent. Injuries have gotten in the way of that some but recent shooting funks for both Devin Booker and Kevin Durant have not allowed that to come into the fold recently.

Both were in their scoring flows. Durant shot 12-of-16 for 25 points with three steals and Booker looked back to himself for the first time in the seven games he’s played since sitting for an ankle sprain. He finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Bradley Beal, meanwhile, brought constant paint touches to open up the Suns’ drive-and-kick game that was money all night. His season-high 12 assists came with 13 points. He and Booker had one turnover apiece while Durant had zero.

Head coach Frank Vogel was able to keep Durant at only 31 minutes, his lowest total since Feb. 14 and in the top-5 for the least he’s had to log this season. Ditto for Booker’s 30.

If Phoenix can double up on this type of outing against San Antonio again on Monday, it would be some solid momentum before the difficult closing stretch of the season, something Phoenix hasn’t had since the All-Star break.

Empire of the Suns

Bradley Beal #3 of the Phoenix Suns brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during t...

Kellan Olson

Bradley Beal leads big-time Suns response in ugly win vs. Kings

For as much as the last two games looked like the Suns calling it a day on the 2023-24 season, they had at least one more fight left in them.

21 hours ago

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts as he walks past Kevin Durant #35 during the first half ...

Kellan Olson

Suns show same bad vibes, do barely enough to beat depleted Clippers

The Phoenix Suns were gifted a depleted Los Angeles Clippers squad on Wednesday the night after a terrible loss to L.A.

3 days ago

Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

Kellan Olson

Suns continue to show fractures in embarrassing loss to Clippers

The Phoenix Suns continue to show on the court they are not a fully connected group and Tuesday was the latest terrible loss to reflect that.

4 days ago

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (Jeremy Schnell/...

Kellan Olson

Zion Williamson steps up to moment, Suns lose crucial game to Pelicans

In the biggest game of the regular season for both the Pelicans and Suns, it was Zion Williamson that dominated the key moments.

6 days ago

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

Kellan Olson

Suns hit first, jumble up Timberwolves in 3rd straight win

The Phoenix Suns used one of their best defensive performances of the season to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves.

8 days ago

(Photo courtesy of the Phoenix Suns)...

Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns’ new Player 15 Group HQ gives staff upgraded working space

The Player 15 Group unveiled its headquarters on Thursday, a big-time upgrade of working space for Suns, Mercury and arena staff members.

9 days ago

Phoenix Suns find better energy for clinical win over Spurs