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Phoenix Suns maintain title contending status amid injuries

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns managed to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (105-115) and climb to the top of the Western Conference.

Devin Booker and Malik Bridges combined for 50 points for the winners, scoring 25 each. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis had an impressive stat line of 37 points, 21 rebounds, five steals and five blocks.

This was the second straight victory for the Phoenix Suns, who improved to 11-6 in the standings and sit atop the West. At the same time, they have protected their home court once again, where they are 9-1 this season.

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''It was like, `Guys, let's just win the game.' Our guys got it back together,'' Suns coach Monty Williams said afterward. 'We got a few stops, and that allowed to get out in transition a little bit.''

DeAndre Ayton posted a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds for a Phoenix team that won consecutive games for the first time since a five-game winning streak that ended on November 4.

The win over the 17-time NBA champions was another sign that the Phoenix Suns are aiming for another chance to compete for the NBA championship.

Their season has been full of struggles so far. However, the franchise has managed to overcome them and make a statement.

Adelaide 36ers v Phoenix Suns
Adelaide 36ers v Phoenix Suns
“We go hard for him, play hard for this organization, and play hard for each other,” Ayton said on Tuesday, praising coach Williams for keeping the squad together. “Once we have a great group of guys that are ready to lock in and listen from youngest to oldest, it is hard to stop us.”

Cam Johnson has already missed 10 games and could miss a big part of the season with a meniscus injury. All-Star guard Chris Paul has been out for a seventh game in a row. Landry Shamet has been sidelined for six games so far.

All three have a key role in the Phoenix Suns' rotation, and their absence could hurt the team's title chances.

But Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton continue to play at an All-Star level. The same goes for Malik Bridges and the rest of the supporting cast, who have stepped up with three key players out injured.

“This team, we have been embarrassed the last two years, playing the best basketball we have ever played and never finishing it,” Ayton added. “So, if you think [Patrick Beverley’s push in the back] is where we stop it at, nah. You are not looking at the brighter picture. We are aiming for something way bigger than that. There are going to be a lot more games, and we just have to make sure we keep our head and play hard.”
Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns continue to show that their title window has not closed yet

The Phoenix Suns are coming off a couple of disappointing seasons where they dominated the West but failed to go all the way in the playoffs.

In 2021, they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals in six games (4-2), despite leading 2-0.

Last year, they finished the regular season with a franchise-best 64-18, but got eliminated in the Western Conference semi-finals after a heart-breaking home defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7.

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

Phoenix continues to show the basketball world that their title window is still open this season. They are capable of going all the way for the second time in three years.

So far, the Phoenix Suns are one of only three teams (the New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers are the other two) ranked in the Top 6 in both offense and defense. They also have the best net rating in the entire league.

What is clear is that their health status will determine how competitive they will be moving forward. If they stay healthy, then they have what it takes to go all the way.

For the time being, the Suns will seek to win their third straight and stay atop the West as they host the Detroit Pistons on Friday.

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Edited by Windy Goodloe
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