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Mikal Bridges

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Mikal Bridges' leap as a playmaker will pay dividends for the Phoenix Suns in the long run.

Whenever Mikal Bridges is asked about a high-scoring night, a career-best season or almost any other type of on-court success, his response typically starts with a go-to phrase: “Just being aggressive.” As one of the more cliche phrases in the NBA, Bridges’ trademark answer is usually accompanied by giving credit to his coaches and teammates for trusting him, and it doesn’t always make for the most colorful or revealing quote. But in this particular case, Bridges’ favorite response is actually just blunt honesty: Staying aggressive has long been his biggest obstacle to a true breakthrough, and the Phoenix Suns need him to be aggressive now more than ever. Fortunately, he’s been up to the task over the last few weeks.…

Here are 5 observations from the Phoenix Suns' win over the Brooklyn Nets in the first game back for Cam Johnson.

Cam Johnson returned to the court Thursday night, and not so coincidentally, the Phoenix Suns felt more like the Phoenix Suns again. While Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Cam Payne were still sidelined, Johnson’s first bit of action in 37 games fueled the Suns’ 117-112 win over the Brooklyn Nets. It was closer than it should’ve been thanks to Kyrie Irving’s last-ditch efforts in the fourth quarter, but Phoenix did what it needed to down the stretch to eke out a precious win and help make up ground in the Western Conference standings. The Suns still have work to do at 22-24, but after spending 20 of the last 27 days on the road and watching guys go down left…

Here's how the Phoenix Suns are mentally approaching their ongoing skid at the make-or-break point of their season.

The Phoenix Suns have reached the potential breaking point of their season. Coming off a 2021 NBA Finals run and a 64-win campaign that ended far sooner than anyone expected, the next few weeks could determine whether this group’s immediate title window remains propped open or is abruptly slammed shut. Lately, it’s appearing more like the latter. After starting with a 15-6 record that was good for first place in the Western Conference and third-best in the NBA overall, the Suns have gone 5-14, plummeting back down to .500 territory. Suffice it to say these are uncharted waters for most of the guys on the roster. “We’re not used to losing so much, so it’s different for us,” Torrey Craig…

What should the Phoenix Suns expect from Mikal Bridges moving forward?

Expectations are the damndest thing. In relation to draft position, Mikal Bridges was never expected to live up to the production of Deandre Ayton, his fellow 2018 NBA draftee who was selected nine spots earlier as the No. 1 overall pick. But in relation to skill-set, it was only a few months ago that Bridges’ ability to handle the rock hinted at a higher offensive ceiling in a pace-and-space league compared to Ayton, an elite play finisher who still had to rely on others to create most of his opportunities. Now, after an extended stretch of disappointment where the Phoenix Suns badly needed someone to step up as a legitimate No. 1 option in place of an injured Devin Booker…

Josh Okogie has become a highlight machine and legitimate X-factor for the Phoenix Suns.

December hasn’t been kind to the Phoenix Suns, but amidst their 5-9 record and mounting injury woes, Josh Okogie sure has been. In fact, he’s been nothing short of an X-factor handily exceeding his contract value during one of the team’s most trying stretches of the season. Landing in Phoenix on a veteran minimum deal, Okogie’s first brush with free...

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The Phoenix Suns lost a brutal game in overtime to the Denver Nuggets on Christmas, with Devin Booker going down with a groin injury.

Christmas Day provided Arizona sports fans with not one, but two overtime losses, as the Phoenix Suns followed in the Cardinals’ footsteps during the NBA’s late-night game. In Sunday’s 128-125 road loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Suns fell to 19-15 on the season. The loss was twofold, as Devin Booker’s return from a groin injury only lasted about four minutes before he had to be pulled for the rest of the night. Nikola Jokic slapped up a 41-point, 15-rebound, 15-assist stat line against Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul missed half his free throws, and once again, the Suns wasted a career night from Landry Shamet. It’s not all bad news, but in a high-profile game where so much happened, here…

Monty Williams and Deandre Ayton explained their heated exchange in the huddle near the end of the Phoenix Suns' loss to the Washington Wizards.

There were a number of basketball-related takeaways that could be found in the Phoenix Suns’ 113-110 loss to the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. The main focus could’ve been Phoenix’s continued slippage on the defensive end, since the Suns gave up 25 points in the final 5:35 of game time and have ranked 24th in defensive rating in the month of December. There were conversations to be had about Landry Shamet’s career-high 31 points, Chris Paul’s injury scare, or how Deandre Ayton has looked in the last two games as more of an offensive hub while Devin Booker remains sidelined. But instead, all anyone wanted to talk about was yet another heated exchange between Ayton and coach Monty Williams in the…

The Phoenix Suns have lost 5 straight games, proving Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton aren't second options at this point.

As currently constructed, the Phoenix Suns don’t feel like title contenders. “Feel” can be a tricky thing to get a proper handle on when so many key pieces have been in and out of the lineup. This is not an excuse for the Suns’ current five-game losing streak or their ongoing slide down the Western Conference standings, nor is it a denial of the fact that something drastic needs to change with this roster’s genetic makeup if they want to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2023. But perhaps the most frustrating part is how good this shorthanded stretch is for evaluating certain players on the roster…and how terrible it is for doing so with the lump sum of Phoenix’s…

The Phoenix Suns can take some tough-love lessons and some positives from their loss to the Miami Heat.

Thanks to Monday night’s 113-112 defeat, the Phoenix Suns have now lost three of their last four games and four of their last six. Technically speaking, they’re currently in a skid. Injuries (and one non-injury absence) have undoubtedly played a role in the Suns struggling to establish their identity, but their most recent loss painted a pretty clear picture — for better and for worse — of where they are right now. Following a game that came down to the final possession, and really shouldn’t have, let’s take a look at a few tough love lessons for the Suns, as well as a few undeniable positives. Tough Love Lesson No. 1: The free-throw disparity continues In a one-point game that…

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