NEW YORK, N.Y. — Moments after winning their 16th straight game, the Phoenix Suns could be heard clapping and shouting in celebration of their latest victory on their way into the visitor’s locker room at Barclays Center.
“We run New York!” one member of the Suns team could be heard shouting in the hallway.
The Suns (17-3) completed a road sweep of the New York teams on back-to-back nights and moved within one win of matching their franchise’s longest winning streak with a 113-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. This win came one night after the Suns beat the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Now Phoenix will try to match the franchise’s record 17-game winning streak, set in 2006-07, when it hosts Golden State on Tuesday. The Warriors (17-2) currently own the best record in the league.
“I am looking forward to it,” said Suns guard Devin Booker, who scored 30 points. “Obviously [it is] not a make it or break it game. Not a playoff game. But we know it will be a high-energy game. Two best records in the NBA. It is going to be a high intensity fun game.”
The Suns led by as much as 22 points against the Nets, who entered this season with championship expectations. The Nets (14-6) managed to get within seven with 2:31 remaining but Brooklyn missed three straight shots to allow Phoenix to leave with the win.
Kevin Durant scored 39 points and James Harden had a triple-double with 12 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds. But Phoenix’s defensive standout Mikal Bridges helped hold the Nets’ point guard to 4-for-15 shooting, including 0-for-6 shooting from behind the 3-point arc, to go with seven turnovers.
Harden credited Bridges’ physical defense but also admitted that he is still trying to find the balance of when to be more of a scorer and distributor with Kyrie Irving not with the Nets.
“Honestly, I’m trying to figure all that out right now,” Harden said. “I’m trying to figure out when to score, when to be a playmaker, when to run offense, when to do a little bit of everything.
“It’s been a little difficult especially since — from whatever — but it’s been a little difficult but I’m just trying to figure it out.”
It’s early but the Suns look like a team that has figured out how to take the next step after making it to the NBA Finals last postseason.
“It would be nice,” Suns point guard Chris Paul said of matching the franchise’s longest winning streak on Tuesday. “Obviously everybody knows the ultimate goal is to win a championship but if you don’t enjoy the small victories throughout the regular season then what are you doing? We are having fun… We are going to keep taking it one game at a time and enjoy the moments.”