In what was supposed to be a rematch of an exciting playoff series from a year ago, the Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges, along with an improving bench, stole the show in the win over New Orleans.
Before the game started, we knew some big names would be out on the Pelicans side, with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram among those not suiting up for the game. However, getting only eight minutes from Deandre Ayton was not expected on the Suns side, nor was off nights for Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The All-Star backcourt combined for only 23 points and eight turnovers, underwhelming numbers given their production this season to date.
If you were expecting the Suns bench to come up big again, we won the prize because, on a night when the team sorely needed it, they and Mikal Bridges came up big in the Suns 124-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Bridges carried the Suns starting unit
Neither Paul nor Ayton hit double figures, and Booker was less than half his average with only 16 points. However, Bridges seized the moment for Phoenix and set the pace with 27 points. His efficiency was impressive on the evening, only missing three shots of his 13 shots, two of which were threes.
While Bridges showed he’s more than worth his contract, it was the Suns bench that was the game’s main story. Just as many bench players as starters hit double figures (three), with Torrey Craig (13), Bismack Biyombo (11) and Cam Payne(12) all scoring double-digits.
With the Pelicans already short-handed, the Suns took major advantage when it came to bench rotations. Damion Lee only scored three points in his 16 minutes off the pine but was +20 in plus-minus; the Suns bench was that dominant.
Maybe the best sign was that of Payne, who was superb in his 17 minutes with 12 points, five assists and just one turnover. Payne is looking more like the player of two seasons ago and less like last year’s, and Phoenix need that to continue being the case.
With 54 points, over 43% of the scoring for the Suns, the bench stole the show in the win over New Orleans. On a night when Ayton got hurt, Paul was not hitting his shots, and Booker was just off, it was exactly what Monty Williams and the Suns needed.