The Phoenix Suns won this game on effort and defense. Kris Habbas of SB Nation Arizona says those two things go hand in hand.
Defense is not anything new to the conversation of, "How can the Suns get back on track?" It is the conversation and it starts with a sense of urgency on the court. Typically the bench plays like it is game seven of the NBA Finals every night, but now they are getting that out of the starters.
The Player of the Game is a toss up between the Garbage Man and the Junkyard Dog. We met the Garbage Man this summer and fell in love with him from the first time he took the court.
P.J. Tucker was a force of nature out there: 10 points, 4 rebounds, a block, steal and assist in only 15 minutes of play. Wow. You wonder why he didn't play more minutes?
The reborn Junkyard Dog was his own force of nature out there. In 43 huge minutes, he scored 22 points on 9/12 shooting, had 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Boom!
"To be successful, we have to be aggressive," Jared Dudley said after the game. "We have to scrap, and hopefully we can keep doing that."
The Suns beat a Utah team that came to win. Utah tried to be physical with the Suns, to body them up and force the Suns out of their rhythm. It didn't work.
"It was their style of game," Corbin said of the Suns. "Not ours. We cut it to 4 twice but we just could never get over the hump."
After allowing double-digit deficits in 19 of their first 23 games (and 10 of 11 at home), the Suns fought their way to a big lead. Utah did not lead for a single second in this game.
"It's much easier to play with a lead," Goran Dragic said. "Everyone starts to relax."
One player who got his personal monkey off his back was Marcin Gortat. I will post a story on Gortat this weekend, so for now I'll just leave you with this quote:
"I had a lot of energy today and came ready to play," he said. "It was a good game and we won, but we have to keep working hard."
For this weekend, the Suns and their fans should be happy with the team. They just won consecutive games against winning teams for the first time this season, the first time since March 2012 and only the SECOND time in two seasons.
The Suns held consecutive opponents to less than 90 points for the second time all year and only the fourth time holding two straight opponents under 90 in the last two seasons. Phoenix is 5-1 this season when holding any opponent under 90 points.
Revel in it, kids.
And look for a plethora of takes on these last two games coming up this weekend on BSotS. There are so many story lines to discuss!