Even with history looming as it approached a franchise record win streak, Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said he tried not to bring it up to his team.
But after a 114-103 victory Thursday night over the visiting Detroit Pistons set a franchise mark with 18 consecutive wins, Williams allowed himself time to reflect.
“But it is really cool to be a part of something like that,” Williams said. “To win like this, the way we’ve won, guys out of the rotation, losing [Devin Booker to injury], the relentless attitude of our team, the way we stick together, it makes it really cool.
“Obviously it’s hard to win in this league. But we’re not satisfied. We talk about stretching it out but it takes the right things to do that. So we’ve taken it one game at a time.”
The 18th win topped the previous franchise mark of 17 set by the 2006-07 Suns, who went on to finish 61-21. The streak also ties the 2019 Bucks for the longest of any NBA team in the last five seasons. The longest streak in NBA history belongs to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 straight games.
Suns players tried to downplay how much they thought about the streak on a day-to-day basis.
“It feels good but at the same time, I don’t know, I guess it feels good but we got another tomorrow,” Cameron Payne said. “We have to keep going. It’s 1-0 today. That’s how I feel.”
Suns point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 12 points and 12 assists, said it was a nice piece of history for the team, but the focus remains on the bigger picture.
“But for us I think it’s always about the feeling of making sure we’re playing the game the right way,” Paul said. “We always talk about we have a standard. We say this every night and a win is a win but we feel like we could have played better.”
Phoenix was without their leading scorer in Booker, who missed the game with a hamstring injury. Without him, Phoenix focused on a more balanced scoring effort with seven players in double figures. Payne and reserve forward Cameron Johnson led the way with 19 points each off the bench.
“We have guys that can score the ball across all the lineups,” Johnson said. “Book puts a lot of points up on the board every night. We’re a team that we’re going to find buckets other ways when we need to and that’s what we did tonight.”
Phoenix, who picked up win No. 17 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, play the Warriors again Friday (10 p.m., ESPN) — a matchup Johnson is looking forward to.
“A team that we just played and beat at home, we get to go to their place, a division game. It’s a lot on the line,” Johnson said. “This is what playing in the NBA is about. Going into these environments with these implications. Granted it’s a December game, but it means a lot. It means a lot to us to continue this streak. It’s gonna be a fun one.”