Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Booker leads surging Suns against Thunder

Field Level Media
10 Aug 2020, 08:19 GMT+10

There's no question the Phoenix Suns are the biggest surprise of the NBA bubble as the only undefeated team at 5-0.

The Suns get a chance to continue to shock the basketball world when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday afternoon near Orlando.

Phoenix (31-39) can keep its postseasonhopes alive with another win. It's likely the Suns will need to win their three remaining games in the bubble and get help through losses by the Memphis Grizzlies or Portland Trail Blazers to make a play-in game, but there's no shortage of belief among the Suns.

All-Star guard Devin Booker, who scored 35 points in Saturday's 119-112 win over the Miami Heat, said he's excited to see the team thrilling fans back in Arizona with its play. The Suns haven't been to the postseason since the 2009-10 campaign.

"Since I've been in Phoenix, we haven't had the win success, but the support has been there," Booker told the Arizona Republic. "This is what we owe to the fans, we owe it to the organization. It's been a long time for us and I think this bubble opportunity was big for us and we're taking advantage of it."

It won't be easy. Starting with the Thunder, the Suns play three games in four days to round out the seeding round.

But the Suns are doing things now they never came close to doing before the league shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Phoenix never won more than three games in a row all season, and it's getting production from role players Dario Saric, Jevon Carter, Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne.

Booker, the team's leader and top scorer, is turning heads with his play, which includes a buzzer-beater to send the Suns to a win over the Los Angeles Clippers last week.

The Thunder (43-26) are chasing the Houston Rockets for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. They're 3-2 in the bubble, with wins over the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards and losses to the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies.

Oklahoma City is playing the second of back-to-back games after its 121-103 win over the Wizards on Sunday afternoon. The Thunder never trailed in the game and got a career high 23 points from rookie Darius Bazley off the bench.

"When the ball gets in my hands it's all about just making the right play," a confident Bazley told Fox Sports Oklahoma after the game. "What's the right basketball play? Whether it's shooting that shot or taking the drive or making the pass, whatever it is."

The Thunder played without starting center Steven Adams (bruised lower leg) as well as Andre Roberson (foot soreness), Nerlens Noel (ankle) and NBA Sixth Man of the Year finalist Dennis Schroder, who is away from the team for personal reasons. But Oklahoma City went outside without Adams and Noel, matching a season high with 18 3-pointers.

--Field Level Media

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