Nov 15, 2023 - News

Suns struggle through injuries and fourth quarter woes

The Suns' Bradley Beal drives against Chet Holmgren and Cason Wallace of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Photo: Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are off to a lackluster start this season, and their biggest nemeses haven't been the Golden State Warriors or the Denver Nuggets — instead it's injuries and the fourth quarter.

The big picture: The Suns are 4-6, a far cry from the start fans were hoping to see from a team with high hopes of winning its first NBA championship.

  • They're in 10th place in the Western Conference.

State of play: Injuries have plagued the team, sidelining star Devin Booker and offseason acquisition Bradley Beal for most of the first 10 games.

  • Booker played in the season-opening win against Golden State, missed the next three games with an ankle injury, and has been out since with a calf strain he suffered against San Antonio.
  • Beal missed the first seven games with a back injury, returning for a Nov. 8 win against the Chicago Bulls.

Zoom in: Beal and Booker's absences have been particularly noticeable in the fourth quarter, where the Suns have been outscored in seven of 10 games.

  • Oklahoma City outpaced Phoenix 31-13 in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss, and the Lakers beat the Suns 28-11 in an Oct. 26 loss.
  • The Suns are averaging 21.8 points per game in the fourth quarter this season, ranking them dead last in the NBA.

1 big star: Kevin Durant, last season's superstar trade acquisition, has been carrying the load offensively, putting up 30 points per game, along with 7.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

What's next: Booker is expected to return to action Wednesday when the Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Arizona Republic reported.

Why it matters: This will be the first time that Phoenix's big three of Beal, Booker and Durant play together.

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