The Phoenix Suns won a franchise record 18th consecutive game Thursday night as they topped the Detroit Pistons, 114-103, at Footprint Center.
The Suns (19-3) broke the previous record of 17 in a row set in 2006-07. That team also won 15 consecutive games.
"I haven't talked about streaks of any kind just because we've been so focused on improving, but it is really cool to be a part of something like that," Suns coach Monty Williams said after the game.
Whenever Monty Williams says something is "really cool," that means it's a big deal.
So while he takes it game-by-game, Williams is very happy about #Suns winning a franchise record 18th consecutive game Thursday vs. #Pistons pic.twitter.com/83imSSVSEf
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 3, 2021
Minus Devin Booker, Phoenix limited Detroit (4-18) to 18 points in the first quarter in building a double-digit lead. The two-time All-Star missed Thursday's game after suffering a left hamstring strain in Tuesday's win over Golden State.
"The way we've won," Williams later said, "Guys out of the rotation. Losing Book. The relentless attitude of our team. The way we stick together makes it really cool. Obviously it's hard to win in this league and we're not satisfied. We talked about stretching it out, but it takes doing the right things to do that. We've just taken it one game at a time."
Phoenix led 69-51 at halftime. Seven Suns reached double figures as Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson each scored a game-high 19 points off the bench.
"It's cool," Suns All-Star Chris Paul said. "I really wasn't thinking about it. Obviously that's a nice little piece of history here for the team, but I think for us it's always about that feeling of making sure we're playing the game the right way."
Landry Shamet, who got the start for Booker, scored 14 to match his jersey number. His fourth 3 gave Phoenix a 109-99 lead with 1:57 left in the game.
Jerami Grant paced Detroit with a game-high 34 points as the Pistons went on a 17-0 run to cut the lead to one, 80-79, late in thbefore Phoenix answered in closing out the game and making history.
"It was pretty cool, right," Johnson said. "It's a group that's come a long way and it's a group that's a lot of fun to play with. Coaches that are fun to play for. A city that's fun to play in front of. So just that shared, collective enjoyment of this process has been great."
As the game concluded, the Suns received a standing ovation from the fans.
"Big shoutout to the fans," Johnson continued. "Thursday night and they really showed up. Like tonight, the gym was rocking and it was a lot of fun and it's always fun to play in front of them."
On the same night Phoenix made team history, Memphis (12-10) won by the largest margin of victory in NBA history in obliterating Oklahoma City (6-16) by 73 points, 152-79, at home without injured Ja Morant (knee).
The previous record was 68 set by the Cavaliers in their 148-80 destruction of Miami on Dec. 17, 1991 in Cleveland.
The Suns and Warriors (18-3) will meet again Friday in San Francisco in the second of three games within 30 days.
So while Payne is happy about the streak, his mind is on the Warriors.
"It feels good, but at the same time, I don't know," said Payne about the streak. "I guess it feels good, but we've got another game tomorrow. Got to keep going. Just 1-0 today. That's how I feel for real."
Williams talked about how the Suns aren't "digging ditches" when asked about finding the energy to play the Warriors on a second of a back-to-back.
"It's basketball, OK," Williams said. "I think this generation has been taught how to be tired. I really do. That's all we talk about nowadays. Nobody practices. Practices are like a half hour, 45 minutes. I get what everybody is talking about. I'm aware of it, I do what I can to help guys, but we don't talk about it a lot. If you're going to win in this league, you're probably going to win tired and I think our guys understand that based on what we went through last year."
Johnson has no doubt Phoenix will find the energy for this rematch.
"It's no question on that," Johnson said. "A team that we just played and we beat at home. We get to go to their place. Division game. This is a lot on the line. This is what playing in the NBA is about. Going into these environments with these implications and granted it's a December game, but it means a lot. It means a lot to us and to continue this streak. It's going to be a fun one.
The third matchup between the NBA's top two teams is on Christmas Day in Phoenix.
Support local journalism. Start your online subscription.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Suns win franchise-record 18th consecutive game, Warriors rematch next