It's never easy to win the second end of a back to back on the road, even when the opponent is shorthanded, but the Suns did just that tonight in winning their fourth straight game behind a supernova performance from former Pacer Gerald Green. He scored 23, making 5 three-point shots in the process, performing like the best player on either team in his time on the floor.
He's become a bit of a bellwether for this Suns team, and Green made his presence felt in the first half with 18 points and 2 assists on 6-9 shooting (4-7 from 3) in only 9 minutes in the half.
The Pacers lost their leading scorer Roy Hibbert to injury midway through the first quarter, as Hibbert twisted and sprained his left ankle. Hibbert went back to the locker room with 6:40 to go in the first, came back for a bit but was clearly hobbled, then didn't return.
Phoenix just had too much for the Pacers tonight, and Green would not be denied. After an early 3-point barrage, the Pacers lacked the firepower to keep up once it became a shootout. Isaiah Thomas chipped in 16 points, and Markieff Morris 13 as the Suns routed the Pacers.
This wasn't much of a contest after a tightly contested first quarter featured the Pacers making 3s and crashing the offensive boards. Indiana made only 36% of their FGs, and 30% from 3, while the Suns converted at 45% and 39%. The game was played at the Suns pace, and more possessions favors Phoenix.
Dragic had a ho-hum night with 11, as Green and IT combined for 39, and the Suns bench provided the difference yet again. A 9-5 record feels good to me. Nothing like playing poor Eastern Conference opponents to get yourself right.
Player of the Game
We all want to feel loved and appreciated. Nobody likes being rejected, and Green is no different. The Pacers gave up on Green, letting the Suns have him in the Scola trade. I can't get inside Green's head to know whether he feels extra motivation playing against Indy, but he sure played like it tonight.
He did so much more than score, with his 3 rebounds, 2 assists and countless hustle plays to go along with his prolific scoring. If there was a point he was proving, he proved it. The Suns were +24 when Green was on the floor tonight.
The next game will be much more difficult, Monday night vs. the 10-2 Toronto Raptors. For now, let's just enjoy this winning streak. When Green plays like a superstar, as he did tonight, the Suns will play with anyone in the league, and beat most.