PHOENIX — The electricity is still in the air around the Phoenix Suns after a dream season last year, which saw their first trip to the NBA Finals in nearly 30 years.
While some national pundits contend the Suns' championship window has closed, they're proving to be right back in the conversation. Phoenix tied a franchise-record 17-game win streak Tuesday night with a win over the Golden State Warriors, who came into the game with the best record in the NBA.
Even as Devin Booker played just 15 minutes due to hamstring soreness, the Suns were able to pick up the 104-96 win.
After Golden State got out to a 35-31 lead after the first quarter, the Suns held them under 20 points in the second and fourth quarters, and kept one of the NBA's top offenses under 100 points for the first time this season.
On Wednesday's Locked On Suns podcast, host Brendon Kleen broke down what he saw in the game from Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Ayton and Steph Curry, as well as Devin Booker's injury and what that means for Phoenix going forward.
SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Suns podcast, your show for all things Suns available on all platforms including YouTube. Host Brendon Kleen has covered the Phoenix Suns as a credentialed media member for the past five years.
Breaking down Phoenix's 17-game win streak
- Tied franchise record set in 2006-2007 season at 17-straight wins.
- Only 16 teams in NBA history have had longer winning streaks than the Suns' current 17-game win streak.
- This is Chris Paul's third-career 17-game win streak. He did it with the Rockets in the 2017-18 season and with the Clippers in the 2012-13 season. He's never surpassed 17 games in a row, however.
- The Suns held opponents under 100 points in eight of those 17 games.
- Devin Booker has led scorers, averaging nearly 24 points per game during the win streak and has had 30+ points four times during the streak.
- The Suns have won almost an equal amount of games during the streak at home at the Footprint Center (9) as they have on the road (8).
- The streak has included four wins over current NBA division leaders (Mavericks twice, Nets and Warriors).
- During the streak the Suns have ranked third in the NBA in defensive rating and seventh in offensive rating, making them one of just four teams to rank in the top 10 on both sides this season.
- The Suns have defeated opponents during the win streak by an average of nearly 10 points per game.
- Only five NBA teams have ever won 20+ games in a row in a single season, most recently the Golden State Warriors in the 2015-16 season (24).
- The longest single-season win streak in NBA history is owned by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 games).
- To get to 20-straight wins, the Suns will need to defeat the Detroit Pistons at home (12/2) and then the Warriors again the next day (12/3) in San Francisco, and then the Spurs at home (12/6).
Kleen said Tuesday night's game was going to at least teach us how well the Suns matched up against the Warriors, one of the top teams in the NBA, a team the Suns play twice in December and a team they could be competing for a conference title against.
"First and foremost, they did a hell of a job against Steph Curry. I mean, that's that's the headline here, right? Steph Curry was four of 21 from the field, three of 14 from deep, two assists, three rebounds didn't get to the free throw line much," Kleen said. "That's really what what what made the Warriors the losers (Tuesday) and that was a team effort...Mikal Bridges obviously got the bulk of that task. He deserves a huge amount of credit for the way that that stuff was kept in check."
While Bridges was a lockdown defender, it was also DeAndre Ayton who has continued to take more steps as an elite player during this win streak, and especially on Tuesday night.
"What he did is executed his role, smashed the offensive glass, rolled to the basket, sealed into the paint, took advantage of switches, ran the floor, all of that, and he was rewarded for it," Kleen said on Locked On Suns. "24 (points) and 11 (rebounds) for DeAndre, 11 of 19 from the field...Since they traded for Chris Paul, this is the first time that Ayton has led the team in shot attempts. So all around good."
We don't yet know if Booker will play the rest of the week with his hamstring injury, so the Suns may need to rely on Bridges and Ayton stepping up again.
The Suns can make it 18 on Thursday at home against the Pistons. They then travel to San Francisco to play the Warriors on a back-to-back on Friday. If they come out with wins in both of those games, they can join elite company at 20-straight wins if they can defeat the Spurs at home next Sunday.
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