The Suns got a much-needed road win to break a two-game losing streak and get back to .500, beating the Pacers 113-111 last night. All five starters scored in double figures, and Michael Redd, Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick made strong contributions off the bench.
- Grant Hill scored a season-high 22 points, just as he scored a season-high 34 last year in Indianapolis. Something in the water there is agreeable to Hill? Playing Danny Granger fires him up?
- My favorite part of Jared Dudley's game, even more than his prodigious dunking skills, is his smarts. Dudley's good decisions on the offensive end contribute to his high FG% as he rarely takes bad shots, and make him a good team defender despite his lack of great athleticism. Last night, Dudley made the smart plays of committing non-shooting fouls with the Suns clinging to a 3-point lead with under 20 seconds to go, giving the Pacers only 2 FT attempts instead of a shot at a 3.
- It's quite a luxury to have Robin Lopez as a backup center, and his size and skills were better suited to defend Roy Hibbert than Gortat, who struggled early against Hibbert. Lopez continues to make strong contributions and had 5 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes last night in addition to his excellent post defense.
- When Michael Redd came to Phoenix, I figured his spot up 3-point shooting would be his best and nearly only valuable skill, but it hasn't gone that way. Redd scored 10 points in 14 minutes last night, but went 0-3 from behind the arc and his season average from 3 is now an anemic 29%. The good news is that the crafty veteran is finding other ways to score, showing surprising playmaking skills.
- Hakim Warrick is like a scratch-off lottery ticket. On most occasions, nothing, but every once in a while, "hey, I won five bucks!" With Markieff Morris in foul trouble last night, Warrick had a chance to shine and took it to the hole like he does, drawing a couple of fouls and scoring 9 points in 14 minutes.
- There's nothing wrong with Marcin Gortat, and his 23 point, 8 rebound performance vs. All-Star Hibbert showed that. Gortat will struggle defensively against bigger centers, and we saw that last night, but his quickness helps him exploit bigger players on the other end as well. He hit 7-11 FTs last night, which is a positive sign after his recent struggles from the line.
- As much as the Suns have talked about improved defense, winning high-scoring games like this one is still the best hope for success. After the slow start, the Suns are now up to 13th in offensive efficiency and 8th in pace, as they're pushing tempo like the Suns team we all know and love.