Monday High 5: The Bubble-Cinderella Suns

Matthew JohnsonAugust 10, 2020
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It’s been a while, hasn’t it? We’ve waited 10 years for the Phoenix Suns to be relevant and they finally are this summer inside the NBA bubble in Orlando. The last five of those years, star guard Devin Booker has been working and waiting to show off to the world the type of player he is. The Suns are making the most of their opportunity and tops our look at the biggest takeaways from the weekend in sports.

Suns stay perfect, still alive for playoff chance.

The Phoenix Suns trailed by 14 points at the end of the first quarter Monday against Oklahoma City. No big deal for the hottest team in the bubble! Behind Devin Booker’s 35-point onslaught, the Suns dominated the rest of the way to a 128-101 win. The victory means the Suns remain perfect in Orlando – improving to 6-0 – and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Phoenix has two more games they need to win (Tuesday vs. 76ers, Thursday vs. Mavericks) along with a loss or two from Memphis or Portland in their remaining games to earn a spot in the play-in series to decide the 8th seed in the playoffs. That would mean a first round series against the Lakers.

Big Takeaway: There’s no better feeling for Valley sports fans than being excited for a good Suns basketball team. This run comes during a weird year, inside a weird bubble, with games being played in the morning and afternoon in August. And while some opponents may not be playing their best players at 100 percent capacity, this gives Suns fans some hope for the future, especially when Booker hits shots like this.

Coyotes ride hot goaltending into Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dominant play from a goalie can often carry a hockey team to the Stanley Cup. The Coyotes may have that brick wall in net in the form of Darcy Kuemper. In the qualifying series win over Nashville, Kuemper made 49 saves in the deciding Game 4. He faced more than 40 shots in three of the four games and made 152 saves. By comparison, the Coyotes offense only had 123 shots on goal on the other end of the ice.

Big takeaway: Kuemper is the best player on the ice for Arizona and his play will extend the Coyotes run in the playoffs. Next up, a series against Colorado that begins Wednesday. Here’s the schedule for the best-of-7 series.

D-Backs fans “mad” about Bumgarner.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ prized off-season acquisition has been anything but the ace we all thought the team was getting. Madison Bumgarner allowed four home runs in two innings before getting pulled from an ugly loss Sunday at the Padres. He’s 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA in four starts (the D-Backs have lost all four of those games) and his fastball is averaging in the mid-80s, which is close to serving up batting practice. The team reportedly sent Bumgarner back to Phoenix for evaluation on his back pain while they remain on the road this week at Colorado.

Big Takeaway: the team has sunk $85 million into this left-handed starter to be their ace, so now it’s time to protect that investment and sit him down for a few starts. Give Alex Young an opportunity for join the rotation. It can’t be any worse than watching this.

Saturdays are for college football?

There is growing speculation across college football that many of the Power 5 conferences are going to postpone or cancel the upcoming season. An official announcement would likely come after their regular scheduled meeting with school presidents on Tuesday, despite a growing pushback from prominent players using the #WeWantToPlay message across social media.

Big takeaway: If this happens and there’s no college football in the fall, hopefully the NFL can pivot its schedule and steps up to fill in the TV time slots that will be vacant. Otherwise, it’s pumpkin patch season.

The tee shot that won the PGA Championship.

Collin Morikawa has given us some memorable moments in the PGA season restart. He lipped out a putt on a playoff hole to lose the Charles Schwab Challenge back in June (the first PGA Tour event since March). This weekend, he made up for that loss by hitting the shot of his life, a 294-yard drive on the reachable par-4 16th hole that landed seven feet from the cup.

He went on to make eagle and pulled away from a tightly packed top of the leaderboard.

Big Takeaway: It pays to have the guts to hit a shot like that in a major when you’re bunched at the top with the best players in the world. The only mistake Morikawa made on Sunday, was when he went to hoist the Wannamaker trophy.

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