The Phoenix Suns flexed their muscles in Game 1 of the NBA season. The team’s top three scorers (Booker – 22, Oubre Jr – 21, Ayton – 18) led an impressive second-half performance scoring 32 and 38 points, respectively. But more notable was the Suns’ ball movement. Starting point guard Ricky Rubio finished the game with 11 points and 11 assists, all while wearing number 11. The Phoenix offense had a flow, poise, and dare say…life.
Young Core vs Young Core
I know it’s early, REALLY early. But this was a statement game for the Phoenix Suns. No, not a “we’re going 62-20” statement. But an “our young core is better than yours” statement. Many around the league expected Sacramento to show a large improvement from last year, but the Suns had other plans. The combination of Booker, Ayton, Oubre Jr, and Rubio has shown that they want to contest all of the “young cores” around the league. If they can continue attacking the rim (68 points in the paint) as well as creating turnovers (9 blocks, 13 steals), look for the Suns to be competitive in the West.
What was most surprising was the Suns’ ability to create turnovers. Rubio led the team with 4 steals, and Ayton leading with 4 blocks. Many were looking at this Suns roster and seeing a defensive sieve. On paper, it was hard to refute that. But head coach Monty Williams has found a way to have his defense playing with active hands in the passing lanes. 27 total turnovers were created, leading to 35 points on the board for the Phoenix Suns. Monty may have just found the recipe for success.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
What a relief for Suns fans to know that Kelly Oubre Jr., leader of the “Valley Boyz”, is staying in purple and orange. A rough night behind the arc (1-6), Oubre Jr. found ways to stay engaged in the game. Netting 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. The Suns finally have a “high energy” player that is contagious for this team. It appeared that Kelly started the second half on a mission to force the Kings to call a timeout whenever he would score. Oubre Jr. was relentless last night, frequently attacking the rim no matter who was in front of it.
Suns fans, still a long season to go but it is safe to say that your team is finally rising.