Role Players Shine When Suns Needed Them Most

The Phoenix Suns relied on three role players in their win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Apr 3, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Royce O'Neale (00) shoots over Cleveland
Apr 3, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Royce O'Neale (00) shoots over Cleveland / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns were able to notch another win under their belt in last night's victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game that saw them win their sixth matchup out of their last eight outings.

It was a star-studded performance led by Devin Booker's 40 points while Kevin Durant chipped in 32 of his own, though the team highlighted other efforts that led to the win during their post-game pressers:

“He was outstanding. I think he, Bol (Bol) and Eric (Gordon) all stepped up with Grayson’s (Allen) absence, but Royce (O’Neale) knocking down five threes, playing great defense, bringing energy to our offense with his movement, was just really good," Suns coach Frank Vogel said afterwards.

Allen was ruled out ahead of game time with hip soreness, which plugged O'Neale into the starting lineup for just the seventh time since arriving to Phoenix. His 17 points was the most in nearly 20 games.

Strong efforts from Bol and Gordon helped fill Allen's void in the rotation, too.

"Obviously, Bol and Eric contributed as well; Eric only got three shots, but he was a plus-26 for the game. His gravity means something for us, he gives us a defensive disposition with his on-ball  defense where he is a tough defender with great hands and he is one of our best contest guys. Bol’s length and uniqueness shows up in a game like this where they got a bigger team. It is a good matchup for him out there and he made a number of solid defensive plays, loose ball plays, knock down a few threes, made some offensive plays on the break. I think all three of those guys really stepped up in Grayson’s absence.”

Booker when specifically asked about O'Neale's impact on the floor:

“It is hard to narrow it down to one thing because he just does a little bit of everything while he is out there. Defensively, taking on his matchup, just being ready, not even knowing he was starting until right before the game. He is just a great piece where he is running up, slipping out, moving the ball, and then knocking down open shots," said Booker.

Phoenix will need all their pieces to contribute once the postseason rolls around. If Wednesday night was any indication, the Suns could be quite the daunting matchup.

Donnie Druin