Brooklyn started the match the best, but Phoenix quickly regained control. It was enough for Monty Williams’ troops, always without Chris Paul and Devin Booker, to force the Nets defense to make its rotations to end up in profitable duels under the circle for Deandre Ayton , which benefits from it very well.
The gap begins to climb and reaches +24 (81-57) in the third quarter. It should be said that Ben Simmons was ejected shortly after returning from the locker room. Although the match was already complicated for him, he was just whistled for his fifth foul (in 18 minutes) on a poor screen placement, and he followed two strategies that sent him directly to the locker room. A blow of anger that didn’t help the Nets who lost Kevin Durant…
We thought then that the mass was said, but Kyrie Irving will put the first boost, assisted by Joe Harris and Seth Curry, to get back to 12 points (81-69). In the result, however, the Suns will react to their double Lee (Saben and Damion) and increase the gap to +20 (84-64) at the end of the third quarter.
The problem is that this Phoenix team is clearly insecure, especially without its two leaders, and the explosive awakening of Kyrie Irving (21 points in the last quarter!) will give Arizona fans. The Nets were sure to get back to one possession in the final seconds, but a smart foul on Nic Claxton, who missed his first free throw and couldn’t touch the circle in the second to play the offensive rebound, finally gave- way to Phoenix to avoid the worst (117-112) and revive.
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER
– The return of Cam Johnson. The winger has made a great comeback for Phoenix. Coming off the bench, he brought welcome offensive pep with 19 points in 22 minutes. Although he did not solve all the problems himself.
– Two failed quarters from Brooklyn. With a sluggish Kyrie Irving, a sent-off Ben Simmons and a rebounding problem, the Nets found water in the second and third quarters. It was enough to be too late, even in front of a Phoenix team in full doubt, and that was still close to disaster.
– Kyrie Irving’s late awakening. 3/16 shooting and -17 +/- in the first three quarters. In the absence of Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn point guard completely lacked his fight, before waking up in the last quarter (21 points on 8/11 and +15 on +/-) to attempt hold-up finally impossible.
THE NEW OWNER AT THE EDGE OF THE PITCH
Although the sale is not yet finalized, the Suns find their new owner, Mat Ishbia, on the sidelines. The businessman, who bought the club (along with Mercury) for $4 billion, was treated to suspense in his first pitchside game as club boss. And some fears too…
✅ Damion and Saben Lee. In the absence of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, Monty Williams relied on the impressive duo of Lee to bring his attack back. And the two men respond to be there, even if the last quarter illustrates how unaccustomed they are to play this role …
✅ The Deandre Ayton – Nic Claxton duel. The first (24 points, 14 rebounds) imposed his power and his approach near the circle while the second (20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) showed his mobility. We can forget his 3-point ending airball in “money-time” or his last missed free throws.
✅ Mikal Bridges. In a bloodless attack, he searched and found his spots to finish as the top scorer of his team (28 points), but also as the best passer (9 assists).
✅⛔️ Kyrie Irving As explained, his first three quarters were as terrible as his last quarter was incredible. Even if he gets tired at the end, leaving shots that should come back to him.
⛔️ Ben Simmons. Disappointment, mistakes and dismissal. A completely disappointing night.
Phoenix (22-24): Suns will try to chain against Pacers, Saturday night (3:00 am)
Brooklyn (27-17): complex back-to-back in Salt Lake City (03:00)