If the Suns are going to avoid football season from starting tonight in Phoenix, its going to require a total team effort. Below, I've outlined what I think it will take from all 8 members of the Suns rotation to get this series back to downtown Phoenix, where it belongs.
- 40 minutes or more on the floor. Paul needs to get to 25/15 levels for points and assists to not only lead this team to a Game 6 win but to offset some of the clunkers he has had this Finals. When Paul averaged 5 turnovers a game from games 2-4, the Suns offense stumbled and hasn't fully recovered.
- If you think Booker can help solve the Suns ball movement problems instead of contributing to them, there are some nice bets to make in the sports books. Bookers over/under for rebounds in Game 6 is 4.5 and his over/under for assists is 3.5. I'd happily take the over on both as I would like to see Devin Booker with a 28/8/7 stat line instead of 42/1/2 from Game 4.
- The Suns superstar role player has to be a superstar role player. It feels like Ayton has been on the verge of dominating for long stretches only to disappear due to foul trouble or the Suns offense. He quietly put up 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game 5 loss but tonight, Ayton needs to have a loud 20 and 10. Its a lot to ask the only capable big on the Suns roster but for the Suns to survive and advance, Ayton may need to be the Game 6 MVP.
- Crowder electrified the home crowd with 8 first quarter points during Game 5 and then only scored two points the rest of the way. Crowder has shot 53% from 3 point land over the last 5 games. Crowder making 3 or more three pointers in this game will be critical to the Suns winning.
- Bridges has often demonstrated the power of being likable. His struggles have directly coincided with the Suns postseason struggles, but he's largely avoided blame because everyone loves Mikal Bridges. His job in Game 6 is a defensive one. He needs to be the kind of stopper on defense that Jrue Holiday has been for the Bucks. If Bridges can frustrate either Middleton or Holiday into an off night, he will have done his job and anything offensively will be icing on the cake.
- Johnson has to be able to pick up good buddy Mikal Bridges offensively. We've seen Johnson punish teams from long range and his dunk on PJ Tucker is somehow only the third most badass play of the series from these two teams. His playoff high this season is 14 points and Johnson needs to get there or beyond to help the Suns win.
- Champagne Cam Payne has been like can of Coke Cam Payne. Since scoring 29 points in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Payne has averaged a paltry 5.8 ppg. He recently spoke of the team's need to play with a smile on their face and hopefully he was standing in front of the mirror when he said that. The Suns desperately need Payne to be a scoring threat off the bench to prevent Devin Booker's rest time from turning into a the season resting in peace. Payne scoring 12 or more is the only way the Suns can win Game 6.
- Don't do anything dumb. Take an open three or two, harass Giannis and spill any leftover secrets he may have from his time spent in Milwaukee earlier this year.