Suns enter All-Star break with 2nd best record in NBA

The Suns have been one of the best stories in the NBA over the course of the season’s first half. Via the Arizona Republic:

The Suns continue to have the winning fever as they’ll go into the NBA All-Star break on a four-game surge after beating Golden State, 120-98, Thursday night before 3,233 fans at Phoenix Suns Arena…

Winners of 16 of their last 19 games, Phoenix (24-11) has the NBA’s second-best record as it won at defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 114-104, on Tuesday before returning home to top the Warriors (19-18) for the second time this season.

The Suns will open the the second half of the season March 11 at Portland, a team they throttled by 32 points late last month.

Heading into NBA All-Star break, the Western conference seeds are 1) Jazz, 2) Suns, 3) Lakers and 4) Clippers. Leading the Suns in scoring this season are Devin Booker at 24.9 points per game, Chris Paul at 16.0 ppg, Deandre Ayton at 14.5 ppg, and Mikal Bridges at 13.7 ppg.

The team is doing it on both ends of the floor. The Suns boast the 8th best offense and 3rd best defense through Thursday’s games.

Suns off to their best NBA season start in many years

Some Phoenix Suns team game notes, as they face the Lakers tonight:

At 22-11, the Suns have their best 33-game start to a season since 2007-08 as they face the reigning champs for the first time in the regular season.

The Suns have won 4 straight on the road, the team’s longest road winning streak since December 2014.

The Suns have won 11 of their last 13 games overall, and they have won 13 straight when allowing fewer than 120 points.

Devin Booker was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for Feb. 22-28, his 2nd career P.O.W. honor with both coming in the last 3 weeks. He is the first Suns player to win Player of the Week twice in a 3-week span since Steve Nash in January 2007.

Booker scored a season-high 43 points on Sunday at Minnesota, his 99th career 30-point game as he closes in on No. 100.

Chris Paul has 15 assists in 2 straight, a first for him since March 2016.

Devin Booker picked as injury replacement for Anthony Davis on 2021 NBA All-Star team

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Booker has earned his second straight NBA All-Star selection. He is averaging a team-high 24.7 points (16th in the NBA), 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting a career-high 50.1 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 84.8 percent from the free throw line in 26 games this season.

Behind Booker and fellow NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Phoenix has posted the league’s fourth-best record (20-10) and produced its best start through 30 games of a season since 2007-08. With the selection of Booker and Paul, the Suns have multiple NBA All-Stars in a season for the first time since 2009-10 (Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire).

Davis will miss the NBA All-Star Game after sustaining a right calf strain against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 14. He was voted by NBA head coaches as an All-Star reserve, his eighth consecutive All-Star selection. Davis is averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.78 blocks in 23 games this season.

According to NBA rules, when a player selected to the All-Star Game is unable to participate, the Commissioner shall choose a replacement from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Davis and Booker both play for Western Conference teams.

The NBA All-Star Game rosters will be determined through the NBA All-Star Draft, where team captains Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and LeBron James of the Lakers will select from the pool of players named starters and reserves in each conference. TNT will air the NBA All-Star Draft on Thursday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

In the two-round NBA All-Star Draft, Booker will be selected with the All-Star Game reserves in the second round. The starters will be selected in the first round. Davis will be assigned to the same All-Star team that drafts Booker.

Saddiq Bey, Devin Booker named NBA Players of Week

The NBA announced today that Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booked named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played between February 8-14, 2021.

Bey is the second Pistons rookie to ever win the award, joining Kelly Tripucka (March 14, 1982) as the only first-year Pistons to earn NBA Player of the Week honors.

Bey helped lead the Pistons to a 3-1 week by averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals in 26.1 minutes per contest. Bey shot .714 (25-of-35) from the field and .696 (16-of-23) from 3-point range during the four-game stretch while scoring in double figures in each contest. He became the only rookie in team history with at least four 3-pointers made in back-to-back games (Feb. 12-14).

Bey set a Pistons rookie record with seven 3-pointers made and recorded career highs of 30 points (10-12 FG, 7-7 3FG) and 12 rebounds in a win at Boston on Feb. 12. Bey became the only rookie in NBA history to make seven triples in a game without a miss from 3-point range and became the fourth rookie in NBA history with at least 30 points and seven 3-pointers made in a double-double (Jason Kidd, Stephen Curry, Lauri Markkanen). He also became the fourth Pistons rookie to score at least 30 points in game over the last 35 seasons (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Grant Hill, Allan Houston).

The Villanova standout holds the Pistons rookie record for most 3-pointers made (49) through 25 career games and is shooting .422 from distance on the year, currently setting the highest 3-point percentage for any Pistons rookie among qualified players in team history.

Phoenix’s Devin Booker was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Per NBA.com/suns, “Booker averaged 32.3 points on 56.3% shooting from the field and 47.6% from three-point range, plus 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds in four games, helping the Suns extend their winning streak to six straight overall including wins over the Eastern Conference’s top two teams in Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Booker scored at least 27 points on over 50% from the field in all four games during the week, twice scoring his season high of 36 points.”

More from NBA.com/suns: “This marks Booker’s first career NBA Player of the Week honor and he is the first Suns player to be named Player of the Week since Goran Dragić on Feb. 3, 2014.”

Phoenix Suns will increase fan capacity for home games to 3,000

The Phoenix Suns are increasing capacity for fans at the transformed Phoenix Suns Arena beginning with the team’s matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

After hosting 1,500 fans during games this week in two-person and four-person, socially distanced pods, the organization has decided to increase capacity to 3,000 fans, adding more two-person and four-person pods in the upper level of the arena, along with a limited number of floor seat pods.

In addition, the Suns are offering Party Pods for groups of four to six fans. Located in the private luxury suites at Phoenix Suns Arena, the Party Pods offer a choice of food and beverage packages, one parking pass for the group, a dedicated restroom within the suite, and a private shopping experience exclusively for Party Pod fans. Party Pods within suites represent 25 percent of normal capacity.

Chris Paul scores big, but Suns lose to Thunder

Suns point guard Chris Paul had himself a big scoring night against his former Thunder team, scoring 32 points, but it was in a 102-97 losing effort. Via the Arizona Republic:

Blowing a 17-point lead, Phoenix succumbed to offensive fouls, a horrid stretch of 3-point shooting and Deandre Ayton scoring just five points in a 102-97 loss Wednesday night to Oklahoma City at Phoenix Suns Arena.

“Down the stretch, we had unbelievably poor finish,” said a frustrated and upset Suns coach Monty Williams. “We got open shots. We’re missing shots under the basket. It’s just poor. Poor execution and poor finishing. That’s it.”

The Suns (8-8) are 1-5 in their last six games…

Chris Paul scored a season-high 32 in his first game against the Thunder (8-9) since the trade that brought him and Abdel Nader to Phoenix, but lost to his former team that ended a five-game road trip with a stunning victory.

The Suns have been pretty good defensively this season, but surprisingly, their offense is merely average for the league so far this season.

Pacers vs. Suns game scheduled for January 16, 2021 is postponed

The NBA game scheduled for Saturday, January 16, 2021 between the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Suns, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

Former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal has passed away

STATEMENT FROM THE SUNS

The Phoenix Suns organization shares its thoughts and prayers with the Westphal family through this difficult time.

“Westy will forever be remembered as a prominent Valley sports legend both on and off the court,” said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. “He built an illustrious career as both a player and a coach. His legacy ranks among the most quintessential basketball icons of all time.”

Westphal left an indelible signature on the Phoenix Suns franchise with his All-NBA talent, his brilliant mind and his elite character. From guiding the team on the court in the 1976 NBA Finals to leading them from the sidelines in the 1993 NBA Finals, Westphal’s legacy in Phoenix crossed decades and his overall impact on the organization is virtually unmatched.

“Throughout the past 40 years, Westy has remained a great friend of the organization and as a trusted sounding board and confidant for me,” Sarver continued. “His number 44 will forever hold its place in our Ring of Honor, enshrined as one of the utmost deserving members.”…

Born on November 30, 1950, Westphal was a native of Torrance, CA, and spent 14 seasons with the Suns as a player and a coach.

The eventual Basketball Hall of Famer known as “Westy” was acquired by the Suns in a trade with the Boston Celtics in 1975 and spent six seasons as a player with Phoenix. He ultimately found his way back in the Valley a few years later on the Suns’ coaching staff from 1988-95. Due to his astounding career and impact across the NBA, Westphal was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 6, 2019…

Westphal became a five-time All-Star (four with the Suns) and garnered All-NBA recognition for four consecutive seasons, including three selections to the First Team. He sits as the eighth-leading scorer in Suns history, totaling 9,564 points and averaging 20.6 points per game, and was inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor on April 15, 1989.

STATEMENT FROM THE KINGS

“The Sacramento Kings organization is deeply heartbroken to learn of the passing of Paul Westphal. “Westy” created a storied legacy in the game of basketball as a Hall of Fame player, decorated coach and broadcast analyst. We are extremely grateful that a part of his incredible career was spent in Sacramento with the Kings.

“Along with the numerous accolades and achievements he earned on the court, he was a true gentleman who treated everyone he encountered with remarkable kindness, humility and candor, making an indelible impact on so many across our sport.

“The entire Kings family mourns the loss as we extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s wife Cindy, son Michael and daughter Victoria. The Westphal family remains in our hearts, thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.”

A glance at the Suns schedule for January

The Suns are a team to watch, after going 8-0 to wrap up last season and then trading for Chris Paul this offseason. Here’s the Arizona Republic with a glance at what’s on their plate in January of the new year:

The Suns play 16 games in 30 days in January as part of this NBA-shortened 72-game season with four back-to-backs.

Only seven games are on the road, but four are against playoffs teams from last season – Denver, Indiana, Houston and Dallas .

They play Toronto in Aron Baynes’ return to the valley Jan. 6 and are at Memphis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 3 p.m. on TNT.

The Suns are off to a nice 3-1 start. They’re enjoying some extremely balanced scoring, with seven players averaging double-digit points per game, and CP3 dishing 9.5 assists per game and committing just 1.8 turnovers per outing, which is even more impressive considering he and his new team are still getting to know each other.

Chris Paul Suns debut is a win

The NBA season tipped off Tuesday, and was packed with 12 games of action on Wednesday, not including a 13th game (Thunder vs. Rockets) that was postponed. And in his first regular season game as a member of the Phoenix Suns, veteran star point guard Chris Paul enjoyed victory. Via the Arizona Republic:

Chris Paul showed in the season opener why Phoenix traded four players and a future first-round pick for him.

Devin Booker showed the clutch gene he had on full display in the bubble.

The Suns showed they can close out a playoff team in a tight game as they used a 5-0 spurt to break a tie in a 106-102 victory Wednesday night over Dallas at the renovated Phoenix Suns Arena.

After Booker hit a free throw to put the Suns up a point, Paul connected on his patented fading jumper. Then Booker followed with a basket to put Phoenix up 105-100 with 40.6 seconds left.

Booker scored a team-high 22 points while Paul added eight points, five assists and four rebounds. Mikal Bridges chipped in 18 as Phoenix had six players score in double figures in shooting 48.1% from the field.

CP3 shot just 3-of-9 for eight points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals. He played under 28 minutes.

For the Mavs, Luka Doncic put up 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists, but on 26 FG attempts. And with Kristaps Porzingis starting the season on the injured list, no other Mav scored above 12 points.