Suns Notes: Slump, Jones, Paul, Mazzulla

The Suns‘ philosophy following a bad loss is to “flush it,” but that’s harder to do when those bad losses come in consecutive games, writes Gerald Bourguet of Having entered the week as the Western Conference’s top seed, the Suns were blown out in Dallas on Monday, then returned home and were thrashed by the Celtics on Wednesday. At one point in that second game, Phoenix trailed Boston by 45 points.

As Bourguet writes, the Suns are still 16-9 and deserve the benefit of the doubt for now, especially with Chris Paul just returning and Cameron Johnson still sidelined. But the lack of a reliable No. 2 scorer behind Devin Booker could become an issue, and the ongoing absence of former starting forward Jae Crowder, who is waiting to be traded, has been a problem as the team deals with injuries.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • After losing their top spot in the West to the Pelicans, the Suns have two big games on tap in New Orleans on Friday and Sunday. Those games will give the team a good opportunity to show that its recent swoon was just temporary, says Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic. However, if the slump continues, president of basketball operations James Jones may face increasing pressure to make a roster move well before February’s trade deadline, Moore argues.
  • Although Wednesday’s loss to Boston was a disaster, Chris Paul‘s return provided a silver lining, especially given his postgame comments, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Paul said he “felt good” in his first appearance after a 14-game absence. “He looked good and talking to him after the game he felt good, most importantly,” Devin Booker said of his backcourt mate. “Coming off any injury no matter how much time you take off, you’re going to be a little hesitant getting back into it. He said he was pain-free, didn’t feel anything and he’s ready to go, so that’s good news.”
  • Monty Williams isn’t surprised by the success Joe Mazzulla is having in Boston, telling reporters this week that he tried to get the Celtics‘ current head coach to join his coaching staff near the start of his time in Phoenix. “He was a guy that was smart enough to not come here with us,” Williams said, according to Rankin. “I had heard about him through a number of people, and I talked to my representation about talking to him, but (the Celtics) thought so highly of him there, you couldn’t even talk to him.”
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