The Phoenix Suns continued their winning streak, upping it to four consecutive games, following a victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night. The Suns led by as many as 30 points, going up early following a dynamic start by Cameron Johnson. He single-handedly scored more than the Hornets in the first quarter, 16 to 15.
Phoenix shot the ball well from beyond the arc in the game, hitting 22 of their 40 attempts. The team was led in scoring by Cameron Johnson’s 24 points, and Dario Saric contributed 19 points and 8 boards off of the bench.
The win pushes the Suns over .500 for the first time since the team was 20-19 on January 4. They are 25-24 after going 4-0 on their home stand.
The night began with a flurry of three-point makes by Cameron Johnson. It’s not only good to see him back playing, it’s good to see him not missing a beat and sniping shots from being on the arc. He scored 14 of the Suns’ first 16 points to start the game, 12 of which came on 4-of-4 shooting from deep.
Phoenix pieced together a 14-0 run midway through the first quarter as they had no issue finding and making open shots. An inside hook shot by Bizzy. A transition lay up by Cam Johnson. A middy from Mikal. The team came out firing on all cylinders, shooting 60% from the field in the first quarter.
Jaden McDaniels, who has been linked in trade rumors to the Phoenix Suns, was the only offensive force that Charlotte had early on that was semi-consistent. Perhaps he’s auditioning? An alley-oop dunk, a made three pointer; the long and lengthy forward was a bright spot on an offense that had a hard time hitting any shot. McDaniels was 3-of-6 for 7 points in the first.
Charlotte shot 26.1% from the field in the opening quarter, the Suns outrebounded them 16-7, and Phoenix ended the first with a 36-15 lead. Cam Johnson outscored the entire Hornets’ squad.
Jock Landale hit a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter, and you knew it was going to be a good night. Entering the night, Jock was 14-of-56 (25%) from deep. He’d hit 2 three’s in just two games this season. Landale scored 10 points in the first half.
The bench unit carried the momentum into the second quarter, topping the Hornets’ bench production 21-10 in the first half, and extended the Suns’ lead to 30 points with 7:01 left in the half.
Is any lead ever safe in the NBA? No. Never.
The Hornets outscored the Suns 27-8 for the remainder of the second quarter, doing so on 56.5% shooting. Terry Rozier, who started 1-of-7 from the field, was 3-of-6 for 7 points in the second.
The Suns shot 33.3% from the field in the second, and the battle on the boards evened out as both teams grabbed 12 in the period. Bismack Biyombo had 5 blocks in the first half.
Phoenix led at the half by 11, 58-47.
Hornets have 5 three-point plays in the last four minutes, plus another pair of makes.
Suns lead down to 11 at halftime after a high of 30.
— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) January 25, 2023
Chris Paul, who primarily played the role of facilitator in the first half, opened up the third quarter, seeking to make his own shot. He scored five points in an 8-0 run for the Suns as they re-took momentum from Charlotte in the game.
Cameron Johnson continued his hot shooting night, doing so with a swollen right face following an elbow to the cheek late in the second quarter. An aggressive dunk followed by a three-pointer over Mason Plumlee forced a timeout from Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford.
For the first time in his career, Jock Landale hit three three-pointers in a game. He then collected his fourth and fifth fouls and exited the game.
The Hornets continued attacking the paint, drawing fouls while making their and-1’s. It felt that foul trouble on the interior could play a factor in this one.
Chris Paul continued to flex his scoring might, scoring 12 points in the quarter. Phoenix outscored Charlotte 40-30 in the third, and pushed their lead back to 21, leading 98-77 heading into the fourth.
Dario Saric had his second consecutive solid scoring night, scoring 19 points after scoring 14 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. He’s put in the work. It shows on the court.
Nice seeing Dario Saric back to being Dario Saric lately
— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) January 25, 2023
Saben Lee contributed quality backup point guard minutes. I mentioned in the preview that it would be interesting to see how Monty Williams navigated the backup point guard position in this game. Would we see Saben? Or would we see Duane Washington, Jr.? DWJ is more of a scorer, and Monty opted to go with the facilitator that Lee is. He had 6 assists in 21 minutes played.
Again, I liked what I saw from Jaden McDaniels. If Phoenix does attempt to make a trade with Charlotte for the fourth-year forward out of USC, I wouldn’t be mad. He possesses athleticism and length. He’d be a solid contributor. The petty part of me would love to see Jae Crowder in a Hornets uniform.
Phoenix ultimately took care of us in the fourth quarter, never allowing Charlotte to construct a significant run that threatened their lead. The bench played elegantly and pushed the lead back over 30 points in the fourth.
We even got a highlight dunk from Ish Wainwright.
Suns win, 128-97.
The Suns host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. You know what that means. City Edition night!
See you then.