Suns back at it against Magic

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Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams wants his team’s current four-game road trip to be about bonding as well as winning. So during the first stop in Charlotte, he solicited his players’ advice on … Instagram?

“Trying to figure out if I should let my 12-year old get on Instagram,” Williams told Fox Sports Arizona before the Suns opened the trip with a 109-104 comeback victory over the Hornets on Monday.

“So I heard all kinds of opinions about that, and I’m still saying no.”

Williams also said he hoped his players would use the trip to build on their chemistry, suggesting meeting over a beverage, as they prepare for the second game in a six-day span in Orlando on Wednesday.

The Magic have won three of four after a 127-120 victory at Washington on Tuesday, when guards Evan Fournier and Markelle Fultz stepped up again.

Fournier had 31 points and six 3-pointers against the Wizards after a career-high 32 points and another six 3-pointers in a victory over Golden State on Sunday. Fultz had 20 points and six assists against the Wizards in a return to his home area. He has 34 assists in his last six games.

“He has an exceptional ability to drive the ball, whether it is a pick-and-roll or attacking closeouts, in transition,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “We score when he drives the ball.”

Orlando is likely to be without center Nikola Vucevic, who has missed the last six games with a sprained right ankle.

The Suns overcame the loss of centers Aron Baynes (calf) and Cheick Diallo (illness) to beat Charlotte in a roller-coaster game when they led by 20 in the first half only to fall behind 104-97 in the final minute before being rescued by Kelly Oubre Jr.

Oubre hit two 3-pointers in the final 55.2 seconds, helped create two turnovers and had a blocked shot when the Suns finished on a 12-0 run to snap a three-game losing streak.

“We came out with the right energy, the right attitude,” Oubre said. “We lost it along the way, but it came back to us toward the end. We are trying to play for something way bigger than today, so we just have to continue to get better. I think this momentum will help carry us through this road trip.”

Without big men Baynes and Diallo, Williams made creative use of his roster. Oubre, a small forward, defended Hornets point guard and former Kansas teammate Devonte’ Graham much of the second half. Small forward Mikal Bridges had 12 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes while playing mostly at power forward.

The Suns’ second first-round draft choice, point guard Ty Jerome, had four points, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in 12 minutes in his first game of the season after suffering an ankle injury in training camp.

“He didn’t allow the defense to rattle him,” Oubre said. “It’s about him getting his feet under him, his wind under him. I think he is going to be a find.

“He doesn’t get sped up, and that’s one thing we need when we are getting riled up. We have a lot of guys who go a hundred miles an hour.”

–Field Level Media

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