Nigerian forward Chimezie Metu made the most of his first start of the season for the Phoenix Suns, scoring 14 points and helping the team to a nail-biting 119-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Metu, who is also the captain of the Nigerian national team, D’Tigers, had previously come off the bench in all of his 12 appearances for the Suns this season. However, his recent strong performances, including a 10-point outing against the Kings, earned him the opportunity to start against the Warriors.
And Metu didn’t disappoint. He not only scored 14 points but also grabbed five rebounds and stole the ball once. His compatriot Josh Okogie also contributed 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists to the win.
Suns’ star player Devin Booker led the scoring with 32 points, while Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and Bradley Beal chipped in with 16 points. Steph Curry had a team-high 24 points for the Warriors, Brandin Podziemski had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Jonathan Kuminga dropped 16 points.
Metu struggled from three-point range early on, missing his first three attempts. However, he found his rhythm in the second half, knocking down three of his last five attempts from beyond the arc. He credited head coach Frank Vogel for encouraging him to keep shooting.
“He (Vogel) told me to keep playing, to keep shooting, so, that was exactly what I did,” Metu said after the game. “Overall, I felt I did an okay job, it could have been better.”