PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns’ win streak continues.
Devin Booker led the Suns to a 112-104 victory Friday night over the Dallas Mavericks, who were without Luka Doncic for the second consecutive game after he tweaked his left ankle and knee on Monday. It marks the Suns’ longest win streak since the 2006-07 team ripped off winning streaks of 15 and 17 games.
But if you ask coach Monty Williams, it’s not in his “DNA to get caught up in that.”
“I’m not unaware of what’s going on but my mindset is to keep getting better and keep focusing on the things that are going to allow for us to have sustained success,” he said after the Suns’ win. “I want our players to enjoy it. I want the fans to enjoy it.”
Chris Paul said the team is definitely enjoying the run: “It’s been a lot of fun because regardless strength of schedule or not, it’s hard to win one game in this league. What makes it nice this year is the experience we went through last year. Our guys don’t take this for granted.”
The Suns’ 11th straight win was reminiscent of their 10th win against the Mavs.
The Mavs entered the fourth quarter with a five-point lead, the same advantage they had going into the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Suns. And much like Wednesday, the Mavs struggled to close the game. The Suns went on a 15-2 run to start the fourth quarter, taking a 94-86 lead with 7:27 left.
The Suns never looked back. Booker got it done on both sides of the floor: He blocked Jalen Brunson’s layup with 4:20 left and nailed a 25-foot three with 4:14 left to put the Suns up 103-90, the largest lead in the game.
“Our defense has been able to sustain its energy, especially in the fourth quarter when we need not just stops but consecutive stops,” Williams said. “That allows for us to get a lot of momentum.”
The rocking sold-out crowd at Phoenix’s Footprint Center, the first of the season, started heading toward the exits after Mikal Bridges hit Deandre Ayton for an easy layup with 2:00 left.
Bridges had a perfect game, scoring 19 points on 7-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from the 3-point line. But, Booker said that should be the last time Bridges has one: “He better not have a perfect game again… At least be 7-8. Shoot the next one from half court… I’m going to talk to him about that.”
Williams agreed. “We are going to keep pushing (Bridges) to shoot,” he said. “His heart is to just make the right play, but for me, taking the shot is the right play when he’s open.”
Bridges said the solution is simple. Booker and Paul should have given him the ball more: “The ball is out of my hands… Them boys be getting them up. They have the ball the whole time.”
Paul, who ended the night with 18 points and 14 assists, added that Bridges “better be on the all-defensive team this year.”
All we can wonder is what would have happened if Doncic played. Without their best player, the Mavs played a closely contested game that featured 19 lead changes and five ties. But Doncic’s absence was felt in the Mavs’ inability to close out the game.
Doncic was ruled out ahead of Friday’s matchup after he injured his left ankle and left knee during the final seconds of the Mavs’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
The Suns improve to 12-3 with the victory, while the Mavs fall to 9-6. The Suns and Mavs face off again at Phoenix’s Footprint Center on Friday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Phoenix Suns defeat Dallas Mavericks again to run win streak to 11