The Phoenix Suns made only 2 of 18 three pointers and shot only 31% through three quarters of play, but found a way to overcome the San Antonio Spurs behind a breakout game from Alex Len and the hyper-active play of the Hydra - Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas.
We lead off the locker room report with Alex Len (above), who contributed 10 points, 11 rebounds, a block and an assist in 31 minutes of play. But Len's game was even better than the stat sheet.
"Well he's long," coach Hornacek said after the game. "He makes guys adjust shots and they had to shoot over them. Boris (Diaw) got it over him a few times, but that's a pretty tough shot. It's the same thing they have with (Tim) Duncan. He's really long and we didn't make a lot of inside shots either. What, we were 27-for-46? You know when you miss 19 shots in the paint, there's a reason. A lot of it's Duncan and a lot of the reason they miss at the end is because of Alex."
High praise from a (probably) giddy coach after a win that looked unlikely in the first quarter as the Suns started the game in a 24-9 hole. You knew the Suns would begin to score better, but you thought it would have to be on three pointers because the lane was so clogged to stop driving lanes.
"We just played to our strengths," Isaiah Thomas said afterward. "We got stops, pushed the ball and us three [Hydra] made plays. Hopefully we see a lot more of that...I mean the first half we got the shots we wanted. A lot of guys missed little chippies, layups and the mid-range shots that we usually make. Coach just said ‘keep shooting. You guys look like you don't want to shoot no more. Keep shooting with confidence.' And guys stayed at it. I mean it's a long game and shots started to fall."
Speaking of Isaiah Thomas, he has now scored 46 points in 49 minutes of play this season. He also dished 4 assists on Friday night.
Sorry about the crappy production value on these videos. Evan wasn't available, so it was left to me and I'm no good at editing. Or anything. I even uploaded them in SD instead of HD even though I recorded in HD. Oh well. Enough about me.
Eric Bledsoe had a tough night, missing 12 of 15 shots mostly near the rim, but contributed 9 rebounds and 3 assists and helped the Suns play really tough defense all night long and especially in the final quarter.
"Well they're scrappers," Hornacek said of the Hydra's defense. "Goran (Dragic) has decent size. There's not a lot of the huge three-men in the league - the 6'8", 6'9" guys that can drop down in the post. It's a smaller league, so you can get away with it. Sometimes it's the game of chicken if they want to do that, then that same person has to guard our guy. Eric (Bledsoe) with his size and strength can go on anybody in the one, two or three so it gives us options to mix and match there at the end."
The Dragon himself, Goran Dragic, had a quiet night as Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green appeared to want to make sure it wasn't the clever Slovenian (Pop's words) who beat them on Friday night. Dragic had only 10 points (4-10 shooting) and one assist in 36 minutes.
I would have video of Markieff Morris, who put up a steady 20 and 11, but he wasn't available in the locker room.