The Phoenix Suns took control in the second half against the Indiana Pacers, to ensure a much needed win last night, before embarking on a three game road trip against some tough Western Conference competition.
Goran Dragic scored 34 points, and Eric Bledsoe scored 27. The Slash Brothers combined for a total of 61 points in their best game of the season. When you also add in Gerald Green and his 15 points on 5/11 shooting, the Suns back court scored a total of 76 points last night from the guard position. And they did it without the help of Isaiah Thomas who was still out with a bruised ankle.
After allowing the Pacers to shoot 58% in the first quarter, and 61% in the second quarter to take a 56-54 lead going into the half, the Suns allowed only 43 points in the second half, dropping the Pacers' field goal percentage to only 40% in the third quarter, and just 33% in the fourth.
That was the biggest difference in the game. Not only because of the points, but because the Suns were able to get out and run much more on Indiana's missed baskets than they did in the first half, which helped them to execute their transition offense as well...which is when the Suns are at their best.
Here's what the Suns' coach and the players had to say about the win (and a big thanks to our awesome video guy Evan Wendt for editing these videos late last night!).
Suns Coach, Jeff Hornacek
Hornacek mentioned that he didn't think the Suns necessarily played bad defense in the first half, but that Indiana was executing very well, and making some tough shots, which I agree with. The Pacers not only made a ton of tough shots in the first half, they also made more than their fair share of lucky ones. Fortunately, their shot percentages regressed to the mean in the second half, and the Suns were able to take advantage of it.
The normally lively and out-spoken Gerald Green was a man of few words tonight. He didn't seem upset or unhappy whatsoever, he just wasn't in the mood to do a lot of talking for whatever reason...which is fine. Green was another key part of last night's win, hitting some big threes and timely shots when the Pacers started to scratch their way back in it. Green helped the Suns keep them at bay, and pull out a big victory in the fourth quarter with enough time to let the rookies play.
Bledsoe humbly credited Goran, saying that he "had it going" tonight, and he and the rest of the team just helped him out. However, Bledsoe had a great night himself, not only with his 27 points, but leading the team in assists with 7, getting his hands on 4 steals, and grabbing 3 rebounds as well. Great all around game tonight from the Suns' $70 million dollar man.
Goran talked at length tonight answering many questions in the huge media scrum surrounding him in the locker room after his best performance of the season, and the third highest scoring game of his career. Dragic talked about how much more effective the guards are when both he and Bledsoe have a good game, because the defense can't focus on just stopping one of them. He also talked about the importance of pushing the ball, and that he thinks they weren't in as good of condition early in the season, which may have slowed them down and made them less effective.
Dragic also mentioned that the players held a meeting yesterday after practice to discuss their goals as a team, and each write something down on the locker room board that they thought was important for everyone to do, in order to achieve their goals this season. I thought this was a good sign that the players seem to be on the same page together, and working hard to help each other to be successful this season, as a team.
It's working so far. Let's hope the Suns can keep it going on the coming road trip, starting Friday.