The Suns beat the Bucks last night and that's cool. But it wasn't just that they beat the Bucks, they're now 4-1 against Milwaukee in their last five meetings including a sweep of the Bucks in 2018-19 when the Suns finished with just 19 wins to the Bucks NBA leading 60 that year, it was HOW they beat the Bucks.
The took Milwaukee's best punch with Giannis bullying the Suns down low, giving Deandre Ayton an up close and personal view of what dunking a basketball looks like. Meanwhile, the Bucks were draining three's from everywhere all the time and the Bucks were cruising.
The Suns didn't flinch.
The Suns started the fourth quarter with their own deep ball barrage, scoring nine straight points to take a fourth quarter lead that they would extend to eight with 2:30 left on the clock. And then the Suns 4th quarter ghosts started to haunt them. The Bucks went on a late 8-0 run to tie the game with less than a minute left.
Devin Booker made one free throw, missed the other and after a Suns steal would miss another jumper giving the Bucks the ball back with one final chance at a win. Giannis clanked an open jumper and the Suns survived.
And then Booker, he of zero MVP's, one injury replacement All Star berth, zero postseason appearances and zero seasons above .500, felt comfortable publicly disrespecting the two time league MVP and leader of the winningest regular season NBA team of the last two seasons Giannis Antetokounmpo for missing a wide open game winner.
You love to see it.
Combine this with Booker's ESPN photo shoot dressed in ridiculous clothes from earlier in the day and it may be the surest sign yet Booker is ready to become a superstar.
But here's the truth: Booker hasn't played his best basketball this season. Like he did Wednesday night, Booker has gone from a stone cold killer in the final minutes of games to barely an accomplice for most of the season. He's missed way more clutch shots than i can remember him missing on less talented versions of the Suns. He's played passively, preferring to fall in love with his jump shot to making love to the paint. He has rarely popped off the screen as the superstar surrounded by teammates that has defined most of his Suns career.
But it doesn't matter.
This team, this season, this version of Devin Booker doesn't watch its confidence and fate sink or swim with any one shot, performance or game.
They know they are good. They know they are deep. And Devin Booker know's he will eventually figure it out with CP3 to become the next level star many of still believe he will become.
This Suns team is shedding the skin of ten years of embarrassment and failure in front of our very eyes. Emerging is a team capable of heights Suns teams of the previous decade couldn't even dream of becoming.
They even caused me to temporarily lose my mind for the first time since The Bubble.
The Suns are experiencing the greatest, most sought after gift in the NBA: organic team chemistry. It's what fueled the Warriors dynasty and while the Suns are not the next incarnation of the Warriors, they are closer to Golden State's heaven than their own purgatory of the previous decade.
Homegrown draft picks reaching their potential combined with a homegrown star and a few perfectly placed veterans, the Suns formula is a recipe for long term success. After the Lakers and Clippers, the Suns are as dangerous as any team in the West with a real chance to keep getting better as the season wears on.
Are they an NBA Title contender? No. Are they a Western Conference Finalist? It's possible.
The Suns are good. This is no mirage or fluke. They are deep, talented and fearless. And they know it.