Is this what being on the other side of that is like?
The Phoenix Suns’ 109-90 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday was elementary, with the Suns needing to shift up to second or third geat for only a few stretches during a fairly easy rout.
That was mainly because the Magic only had eight available players. Their star Nikola Vucevic was in, but outside of that, it was only Michael Carter-Williams and Terrence Ross left in terms of being reliable rotation players.
The terrible start for Orlando sure didn’t help matters.
The Magic (10-18) made only one of its first 13 shots. A handful of those were decent looks, but they just looked like a team that was already mentally out of it, blowing defensive rotations a Steve Clifford team wouldn’t dare to mess up.
Meanwhile, the Suns’ Devin Booker scored 17 points in the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, it was Booker 17, Magic 16.
There is a certain level of urgency a professional sports team needs to have to win. We’ve all seen what it looks like when that’s missing.
It’s not like the Suns’ was at 100% by any means, either, but it was enough to get the job done and cruise.
There was an 8-0 Magic run in the second quarter to cut Phoenix’s lead down to 15. But after a timeout by head coach Monty Williams, the Suns’ advantage never really lost any stability from there.
At halftime, the Magic had four points in the paint and zero fastbreak points.
Phoenix (17-9) kept the lead above 15 throughout. Booker finished with 27 points, Mikal Bridges added 21 and Chris Paul had 12 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Orlando shot 37.1% from the field.
While there shouldn’t have been much doubt the Suns could take care of business Sunday, there was some trepidation from the fanbase given the team’s losses. They include a blowout defeat in Washington, a no-show at home versus Oklahoma City and a rough performance at Detroit.
Entering Sunday, the Suns were 9-6 against teams below .500 and 7-3 against the rest. They had 79 clutch minutes, the most in the NBA, so another decisive win or two not being on the record yet was slightly abnormal given their success. That’s not a concern nor a complaint about a team that’s now won nine of its last 10 games. Just a fact about the way they’re progressing through this season.
Not every victory can be like Saturday’s against the Philadelphia 76ers, the win of the season thus far.
Winning like they did against the Magic is something great teams do, and Suns fans should know that by now with how many did it in Phoenix the past couple of years. On the second game of a back-to-back, the execution was nice to see.
“More than anything, we did what we had to do to win the game,” Williams said. “We’ve had some really emotional games in this building. And to win the way that we’ve won the last few games — we didn’t even want to talk about a letdown because we’re not the kind of team that can look at anybody in any kind of way other than (to) respect them.
“So to come in and handle our business is huge for us.”