Suns looks to bounce back from Warriors loss that snapped franchise record 18-game win streak

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  • Devin Booker
    Devin Booker
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Mikal Bridges
    Mikal Bridges
    American professional basketball player
  • Monty Williams
    American basketball coach
  • Jae Crowder
    Jae Crowder
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Abdel Nader
    Abdel Nader
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Devin Booker and Abdel Nader are still out.

Mikal Bridges' right pinky finger is still taped up.

And lead assistant Kevin Young remains out under health and safety protocols.

The Suns (19-4) are looking to overcome all of that and bounce back from Friday's loss at Golden State that snapped their franchise-record 18-game win streak as they play Monday against San Antonio (8-13), which beat the Warriors on Saturday.

"To be honest with you, I'm not too sold on the streak," Suns forward Jae Crowder said after Sunday's practice. "We're playing good basketball, but my goal and our team's goal is bigger than that, but it's good to be a part of it, to be part of such good basketball for such long stretches at a time."

More: San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns picks, predictions, odds: Who wins NBA game Monday?

Young has missed Phoenix's last three games as he tested positive for the virus, league sources informed The Republic.

"When we don't have guys, whether it's players or coaches, you just have to adjust accordingly," Suns coach Monty Williams said. "That's just about it. I don't know if you can do it any other way when you're dealing with health and safety protocols. You just have to keep it moving, but other guys take on a little bit more responsibility. Thankfully, when it comes to coaches, you have technology."

Williams said they've had Young on Facetime or Zoom, but takes into account the personal life of the player or coach.

"When guys are dealing with that, I don't want to put pressure on guys," Williams said. "The main thing is their health and safety and their families. So there are times when we have guys (on Zoom) and there's times we have an early meeting and I'm like, man, just rest."

May 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams (center), along with assistants Willie Green (left) and Kevin Young (right), watches game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center.
May 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams (center), along with assistants Willie Green (left) and Kevin Young (right), watches game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center.

Bridges was at practice Sunday after playing through injury he suffered in the first quarter of Friday's 118-96 loss to the Warriors.

"I was just so grateful," Williams said. "When he got up off the ground and the look on his face, I thought it was a lot worse than it was. I was trying to grab him, but Chris (Paul) was trying to get me back in the huddle and I was just like, holy smokes man."

Bridges checked back in Friday's game with 5:10 left in the first half.

"When they told me he was ready to go back in, I turned around he was standing there looking at me," Williams continued. "I'm like, thank you Lord."

Bridges scored seven points, but only took one shot in the second half as he had his two outside finger taped together.

"It was painful," said Bridges as he collided with Juan Toscano-Anderson and stuck his hands out to help brace the fall.

"It felt like just a regular jam until you kind of; you know when you jam your finger, but it felt a little bit different. So I kind of looked down and saw that it wasn't where it was supposed to be. It was just weird just having to sit there until they figure it out because they don't want to pop it back in if it's broken."

After Sunday's practice, Bridges showed he just had his pinky finger taped up.

"You play this game long enough, you're gonna have something like that with your hand or your fingers," Williams said. "It's just part of it.

In his fourth NBA season, Bridges has never missed a game.

Don't expect that streak of 250 games to end Monday over a finger.

"I don't miss games," Bridges said. "I'll only miss it if A, if something was broken, or I really can't get on the court. It's just how I was raised."

Booker hasn't played since straining his left hamstring in the first half of Tuesday's win over the Warriors at Footprint Center.

The Suns are 1-1 without the the All-Star.

"Just other guys making plays," Crowder said. "He's one of our playmakers. With one of our playmakers being down, it's next man up mentality. Next man up, make the play. Make the right play. We have enough in the room to win games still at a high level."

Injured Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker applauds from the bench during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Injured Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker applauds from the bench during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Nader has been sidelined for Phoenix's last eight straight games with "right knee injury management.

"They're just doing their best to get back healthy again," said Williams about Booker and Nader. "Treatments and strengthening. They just need time right now."

The injuries to Booker and Nader have led to two-way player Ish Wainright getting minutes in his first NBA season as he played a career-high nine Friday night.

"It's been a learning process, especially being on the court," Wainright said. "I could not stop shaking. I was so excited to be out there."

The Suns take all of that into a rematch with the Spurs, who pushed them to the wire before losing, 115-111, last month in San Antonio.

Winners of four straight, San Antonio is 4-1 since that loss to Phoenix.

"Derrick White has been a key for them," said Williams as White scored 25 points in San Antonio's win over Golden State. "Dejounte (Murray) has played well all year on both ends and his defense is a big key for them. Gets his hands on a lot of balls. He did it against us the last time."

Murphy posted a triple-double of 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds against Phoenix in their first matchup of the season. He also had a late steal on Chris Paul and scored on the other end to pull the Spurs within three points, 114-111, with 15.2 seconds left.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Suns looks to bounce back from Warriors loss that snapped franchise record 18-game win streak

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