While most people were out trick or treating last night on Halloween, the Phoenix Suns were at their own house looking to get a treat of their own, but boy was that spoiled. Despite at one point in the game having a 20 point lead and the Suns playing incredibly well in the first half, putting up 63 points and shooting 52.2% from the field, that momentum completely fell apart in the second half after San Antonio drilled 7 3-pointers in the third quarter. The Suns seem to have lost touch in the fourth committing unnecessary fouls and not being able to hit shots.
Although this was a Suns home game, all eyes were on the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft Victor Wembanyama who, despite not playing the most smooth game of his early NBA career, helped get the Spurs down by 1 over the Suns with about 6 seconds left in the game.
Head Coach Frank Vogel would decide not to call a timeout on the Suns inbound and would instead pass it out to Kevin Durant who would get the ball stolen by Keldon Johnson who would go up to the rim and lay it in to push the Spurs over the Suns 115-114 as San Antonio would win after Durant missed a fade away jumper with 1.2 seconds left in the game.
“A good early season lesson”. That’s what Head Coach Frank Vogel told the media after the heartbreaking ending.
The Suns were without Devin Booker (Left Ankle Sprain) and Bradley Beal (Low Back Spasms) who both remain OUT due to their injuries but that was no problem early as Kevin Durant and Eric Gordan took over for the Suns in the first quarter. The two combined for 13 points in the first along with a strong 5 points from Yuta Watanabe, a guy who is going to be a huge part of the Suns’ run to an NBA Championship this season. Durant hit a beautiful fade away floater over Wembanyama to end the quarter to put the Suns up 9, 27-18, at the end of the first.
The Suns bench entered into the second quarter giving the Suns a big boost offensively with the Suns going on a 10-3 run to open up the first 3:31 in the quarter. Eric Gordon quickly racked up more points finding open shots from 3 to help boost the Suns lead to 16 when the Suns took a timeout with 6:30 left in the 2nd quarter. Although it’s not the normal Suns big 3, by the end of the second quarter Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, and Eric Gordon combined for 44 of the Suns’ 63 points at the half in which the Suns led 63-45. Grayson Allen finished with 16 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds to lead the Suns stat margin.
Suns did a fantastic job of slowing down the very talented NBA rookie Victor Wembenyama all the way up until the 2023 #1 overall pick slammed it down right before the end of the first half. Lots of credit goes to the Suns perimeter defense as the Spurs shot 37.8% from the field while the Suns were making more than half their shots.
Eric Gordon continued to be one of the unexpected playmakers for the Suns so far this year early on in the third quarter. Gordon had a really fantastic offseason playing with the Bohemia national team, helping them win the Olympic Qualifying Tournament alongside the Suns former #1 overall pick, Deandre Ayton, and has looked great so far early on in the season for the Suns.
Gordon was another Suns player who sent a ball flaring over Wembenyama, this time cashing in for a 3 pointer to increase the Suns lead to 20, their largest of the game at that point, 76-56 with 7:33 left in the third quarter. Although the Spurs started to get some shots to fall, including Keldon Johnson who had a coming out party in the third quarter scoring 12 points, the Suns responded every single time including Yuta Watanabe, who continues to rise as Suns fans new favorite player, and drained a three point shot with under two minutes left in the quarter to push the Suns lead to 12. At the end of the third quarter the Suns lead the Spurs 95-82.
Shortly into the fourth quarter the Suns started to fall apart on both sides of the ball as Wembanyama finally got his first big moment of the game being put in an And-1 situation after making a crazy reverse layup down 9 but did not make the free throw.
The Spurs slowly started to climb back into the lead, down only 5 with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter. San Antonio was even within 3 with under four minutes remaining in the game. Jusuf Nurkic, although he was trying to get things going offensively scoring 8 points in the quarter, was making unnecessary fouls defensively, hurting the Suns odds of closing out the game. The Spurs remained poised and stayed in the game only down 3 points with 39 seconds left in the game. It was at that point in time the Suns would make mistakes and throw the game away.
Phoenix’s next game is at home once again against San Antonio on Thursday where the Suns will hope to have their big 3 on the court for the first time this season.