Phoenix Suns wrap up five-game homestand by handling Charlotte Hornets

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Phoenix Suns wrap up five-game homestand by handling Charlotte Hornets

Post by admin » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:49 am

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton added 18 points and nine rebounds in leading the Phoenix Suns to a 100-92 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday before 14,751 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The Suns (16-23) concluded their five-game homestand 3-2, with consecutive wins over Orlando on Friday and Charlotte (15-27) Sunday. They held both teams under 100 points.

Devin Booker added 12 points on just 3-of-12 shooting, but scored 10 in the fourth quarter. Phoenix overcame 18 turnovers as they closed out the game on an 11-5 run.

The Suns scored 64 points in the paint, had 17 fast-break points and 16 second-chance points in sweeping the home-away series over the Hornets.

Dwayne Bacon paced Charlotte with 24 points off the bench as the Hornets shot 8-of-35 (22.9%) from 3.

The Suns begin at three-game road trip Tuesday at Atlanta.

Final score

Suns 100, Hornets 92 (Talking Stick Resort Arena, 14,751)
Player of the game: Kelly Oubre Jr.

This could easily go to Ayton, who had one of his better games of the season, but Oubre hit big shots, played a complete offensive game and shifted momentum multiple times.

Then when you add 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, Oubre played a major role on both ends.
Key moments

Fourth quarter: Phoenix led by as many as eight in the fourth, 85-77, after opening the quarter on a 14-6 run. Charlotte cut the lead to 85-84 before Ayton and Booker had consecutive buckets to push the lead to 89-84 with 2:17 left.

Then after Bacon had a 3-point play to make the difference two, Ayton scored again and Oubre followed with a steal and dunk after a mad scramble for the ball, giving Phoenix a 93-87 lead with 45.2 seconds left.

The Suns finished the game with the same lineup they closed out Orlando in Friday's win: Booker, Rubio, Oubre, Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

Third quarter: Phoenix led by as many as seven before yielding a 13-6 run to go into the fourth quarter tied at 71-71.

The Hornets scored eight of those 13 in the paint and had 38 through three quarters, eight less than Phoenix in the same vicinity.

First half: The Suns led 46-45 at halftime as Ayton scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Oubre and Rubio each had 10 as Phoenix led despite Booker managing just two points on 1-of-4 shooting.

Trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, Phoenix closed the half on a 24-9 run as Oubre had eight of his 10 in the run.

What we learned about the Suns tonight?

Ayton looked more aggressive and comfortable on the offensive end. Didn't shoot the fades. Moves were toward the basket, which one time enabled him to follow with a dunk.

He's going to have lulls, which shouldn't happen, but Ayton has shown to have stretches of when he doesn't touch the ball or looks like he's trying to find his place. Then he'll get an offensive putback as he did in the fourth quarter.

He had more positive defensive plays than negative ones Sunday night, too.

Elie Okobo has quietly become the backup point guard. When decisive, he can make plays, but he can tend to over-dribble. Tyler Johnson is playing the backup two for Booker right now.

We'll see how those two continue to play in the rotation, which seems to have a more consistent pattern, but it'll change once Ayton returns to the starting lineup.

Oubre is shooting a career-high 35.9% from 3. He can start really hot or cold from deep and then go the complete opposite on one shot. However, with where he's positioned in the corner, Oubre is doing a lot of catch-and-shoot.

He's hit some clutch ones, but has more in his offensive game.

Finally, this may prove to be Phoenix's closing lineup: Booker, Rubio, Oubre, Ayton and Bridges. This is the one Monty Williams has gone to the last two games that have ended in wins for the Suns.

Would he ever start the game with that group?

Postgame quotes

"Two games in a row we hold an opponent under 100 points, (that’s) really hard to do in the NBA and a team that shoots that many threes – I think they’re (attempting) like 35 per night – and they got up 35, but they shot a low percentage. I thought the last play where we got the steal and Kelly got the dunk, that’s who we are right now. Sometimes the effort and will of our players trumps the scheme and those guys just made plays at the end and we just did enough to win the game and had a good homestand.” -- Suns coach Monty Williams.

“A lot of positives tonight. I thought we played hard, great effort, guys competed. I think our defense gave us a great shot to win this game tonight. I give our guys a ton of credit for a great effort tonight. We had three starters go 3 for 22, most nights that’s not going to get you and NBA win so we stick together, heads up and move forward.” -- Hornets coach James Borrego.

“It is something new. The team needs me to bring energy coming off of the bench. I do feel like a secret weapon where I can take over the game in my own way and bring a different momentum to the game as well.” -- Suns center Deandre Ayton.

“We kind of struggled offensively in the second half but I felt defensively we just kept making the right plays late and we were still in the game and just giving ourselves a chance. We kept saying this is where we want to be but they made more plays late in the game.” -- Hornets guard Devonte' Graham.

“No matter what, we have to control what we can control on the court. We can’t control whether we make shots, but we can control the effort and the energy that we give on this court, so we have to continue to do that and I think we will be alright.” - Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr..

“I had two bad turnovers in that span (in the fourth quarter). That’s part of the problem. I have to take care of the ball more. We felt like we played good defense. We were there. We rebound on one of the plays where we could cut it to like three I think and we rebound on that miss and go down and set up our offense we might have had a better chance of getting that bucket. Me, just being so careless with the ball, not taking care of the ball, I think we would have had a better chance.” -- Hornets forward Dwayne Bacon.

“There are nights like this. There are 82 games in a season. I just try not to have me making or missing shots affect the rest of my game. That is what they teach you when you are young. It is kind of hard when you are in the moment to not get frustrated. That is how you let your team down. I just try to pick it up on the other parts of my game – getting people involved and guarding. I think we did a good job of guarding tonight especially in the fourth." -- Suns guard Devin Booker.

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