The Suns extended their winning streak to 16 with a 113-107 victory over the Nets
New York – A chance to match franchise history and take a place on top of the NBA awaits the Phoenix Suns.
They have higher aspirations than these, but they want them anyway.
“Obviously everyone knows the ultimate goal is the chance to win a championship,” Chris Paul said. “But if you don’t enjoy the little victories throughout the regular season, what the hell are you doing?”
Devin Booker scored 30 points and Paul 22, and the Suns continued their winning streak to 16 games, with a 113-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
Impressively overshadowing the Eastern Conference leaders early on, Phoenix never lags behind and leads by 22 as it moves within a victory to match the longest winning streak in franchise history.
The Suns will attempt to do so Tuesday night at home against the Golden State Warriors (17-2) in a game between the two biggest teams in the NBA.
“I’m looking forward to it, man,” Booker said. “Obviously it’s not a game, break it, it’s not a playoff, but we know it’s going to be high energy, two best NBA records. It’s going to a fun high intensity game.”
Phoenix improved to 17-3, his best record in 20 games since he had the same mark in 2004-05. The Western Conference champions haven’t lost in a month since Sacramento lost them to 1-3.
Paul added eight rebounds and five assists, becoming the first player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points, 10,000 assists, and 5,000 rebounds.
Michael Bridges scored 13 points and scored seven times in his career for the Suns. They won 17 games in a row during the 2006-07 season, and also won 15 games in a row earlier that season.
Kevin Durant scored 39 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Their winning streak has been cut short in four games.
“For us, handing the ball over in the first half the way we did, you’re not going to beat a good team like this,” Durant said.
James Harden had a sloppy hat-trick in the Nets’ first game since Thanksgiving, with 14 assists, 13 rebounds and 12 points. But he shot 4 for 15 from the field, missed all three of his three-pointers and made seven breakouts. He was booed when he lost a ball beyond his foot in the second half.
Playing on the second consecutive night to end a four-game wild ride, Booker was at double digits before Durant even scored and Phoenix fired for a 21-8 lead. Suns comfortably led until the middle of the second quarter, when the Bull3 Index made it 51-31.
He suddenly broke the net 15-0, cutting it to 51-46 on DeAndre Bembry in a heist and arresting DeAndre Bembry. Paul Suns settled the next five points by beating the end of the first half bell to make the score 56-46.
Booker took only one shot in the second quarter without goals but came back with 10 points in the third. He went to the bench with a fourth foul but Paul and Cameron Payne scored 3 seconds in a row late in the period to put the lead back to 20 and it was 90-72 after three.
The Nets put in a late push that allowed them to make a respectable final score on a night in which they hit 20 turnovers, leading to 20 points.
Suns: Booker had his third straight game with 30 or more points. …Phoenix is 9-1 on the road. … JaVale McGee scored 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Nets: Pembry scored 18 points and nine rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge also scored 18 points. …. The Nets have won the last three meetings. They were the only team that swept Phoenix last season.
Nets coach Steve Nash played for the Suns during the 2006-07 season and said there are some things that go into a month-long winning streak.
“I think, one, you have to be a really good team. Like, you can’t be hot for 15 games,” Nash said. And this team has great balance, depth and options, and they are a very good coach.”
Suns coach Monty Williams worked with and against Nets goalkeeper Patty Mills when he was in the Western Conference and said whether he liked the Australian’s energy depends on which side he is on.
“Like, if you’re on the other side, you want to break his neck. But if you’re with him, you’re like, ‘Man, I love that guy.’” When I was competing against Tottenham and he was there waving that towel, I just wanted to deal with him.”
Suns: Host Golden State on Tuesday night.
NETS: New York hosts Tuesday night.
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