Over the past six games, all wins, the Phoenix Suns offense has become the best in the league.
Five of those games have been on the road, with the only home game a date with the dangerous Dallas Mavericks. But the Suns have prevailed in all of them, and now sit in 8th place in the playoff standings at 18-14, two games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans and three games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (the Suns next two opponents, by the way).
The three-headed monster of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas have all been playing well and the rest of the supporting cast has found it's moorings. Each of the point guards is averaging at least 27.7 minutes per game with at least 16.5 points and 4.2 assists, with a plus/minus in the positive.
On offense, the team is smoking hot. Over the past six games, the Suns are first in overall field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage (which gives extra credit to three-pointers) and second in overall scoring and true shooting percentage (which factors in threes and free throws).
There hasn't been any change in the scheme. The offense still centers around the score-first point guards. Goran Dragic is still more of a shooting guard than a point guard. Gerald Green still shoots from anywhere, and Markieff Morris still is money on isolations in the post.
It's just that the Suns have started hitting more shots and playing with more aggression. The combination of those two is not a coincidence. And when the Suns were at their best last year, their offense was unstoppable.
During the streak, the defense has been passable. While the team has the league's 16th rated defense overall on the season (in terms of points per possession allowed), their D during this 6-game run only ranks 18th. But the Suns have made some gains in one important area: free throws allowed. All season, the Suns have given up 21 points per game on free throws while allowing FT attempts on 25% of opponent possessions. During this 6-game streak, the Suns have cut that to 17 and 20%, respectively. The 4-point reduction puts them right in the middle of the NBA pack.
The Suns are now 15-7 when the three point guards are in the lineup together. The three have now shared the court for 82 minutes this season, including the last five fourth quarter crunch times. Their net rating as a threesome is +12.8 (per 48 minutes) and Hornacek has put enough beef out there with them to come out even on the boards.
The Suns are finally scratching the surface of their potential as a mismatch nightmare for opponents. Very few, if any, opponents can match the Suns three-headed attack and none are prepared to face it during an 82-game season against 29 teams of varying schemes and strengths.
This team is built to win 50+ games because they won't play like anyone else and they're pretty good at what they do well. Now, their confidence in the scheme is growing and they see success is right there with enough effort and focus.
Coming up next are two tough opponents on the road: New Orleans Pelicans (against whom the Suns were 4-0 last season) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (against whom the Suns are 2-3 over the past 5 meetings).
These road games will tell us a lot about how far this team has come since their drubbing in OKC two weeks ago.