The feeling in the locker room was one of relief, that despite losing a 25-point first half lead the Suns were able to hold on to beat the Portland Trail Blazers with a 13-3 game-ending run.
"We let them back in the game," Bledsoe said after scoring a career high 33 points in the win. "And they made it a game and we just kept our composure and finished the game strong...these games are starting to fall in our favor, whereas a couple early on, those games down to two minutes or something, we'd lose."
Coach Hornacek was relieved in the post game locker room.
"It's tough when you get up by that many," coach Hornacek said after the game. "And all of a sudden, they're without one of their stars and then they just start coming down and say, ‘What do we have to lose? We don't have our guy, we're down 25.' They basically just started jacking up threes, penetrating and then they just started making all kinds of them."
This marks three of the last four games where the opponent got down big in the second or third quarter, and the Suns allowed them to come (most or) all the way back before closing out the game. The lead was 19 over the Cleveland Cavaliers, before the Suns were down two in the mid fourth after a J.R. Smith three-point barrage. Then it nearly 20 again over the Lakers before the lead was down to a handful of points after a Nick Young three-point barrage. Even Minnesota had a mini-comeback before the Suns closed it out. This time it was Nic Batum and the Blazers who came all the way back for a five-point lead before the Suns closed it out.
"You know how it happens," coach Hornacek said. "You get to the point where...I thought we let them back in the game in the first half. We got up by , then all of a sudden we gambled for a steal and they get a three. Now we start taking some quick shots instead of waiting for a really good one - penetrate, kick out where you're sitting on it - we tried to make our own plays."
But hey, a win's a win. And the homestand is now 4-0, and the Suns are 26-18 with a three-game lead for the 8th spot still.
"Again, to our guy's credit, they still pulled it out," Hornacek said with relief.
On one of the rare occasions of a post game Gerald Green interview, the swingman summed it up perfectly how the Suns have won 14 of their last 18 games, including 7 straight at home.
"I think everybody sees the prize," Gerald Green said of finding a way to win the game after blowing the big lead. "I think we're playing for something. That's how we're playing. We're not going to try and take anything for granted...we can learn from these mistakes. We don't want to play this all of the time but it's good that we learned from it today and hopefully we can improve for the next game."
The guys weren't satisfied, with a couple of them mentioning they get scared (just like the rest of us) whenever the lead gets to 20 because they know a run by the other team is coming back with a flurry and they haven't been able to handle them until the it's a game again.
"We need to stop doing that," Goran Dragic, a new twitter follower of Bright Side, said. "Come up 20 and then they come back and take the lead but we were focused enough in the fourth quarter to make big plays and it’s a huge win for us.
"We were lucky. They had some open shots they didn’t hit and we need to do a better job, especially when we’re up 20, try to be more aggressive like at least five or six possessions more on defense and try to put it up 25 or 30 points and then it would probably be over."
Dragic had another ultra-efficient game, with no score bigger than the three-pointer he made when the Suns found themselves down by five with three minutes left after a 30' Nic Batum three-pointer.
Isaiah Thomas, who is saying all the right things these days, was relieved with the win as well.
And finally P.J. Tucker had some words.
"No doubt about it," he said of losing the lead. "That's definitely a sign of youth."
There you go Suns fans.
Here's some nuggets to chew on, courtesy of Suns stats:
- Phoenix improves to 8-2 at home against the West (4-1 against the playoff seeds)
- Suns won their seventh consecutive home game against the Blazers, 3rd overall.
- Bledsoe is just the second NBA player this year to have a stat line of 33 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in a game (Russell Westbrook, who also did it against the Blazers)
- Suns shot 51.1%, their fourth straight 50+% game
And now check out our brother site Blazer's Edge for their take on the game. That's a great group of folks over there who have accepted their fate as Suns fodder better than most would. Please, do me a favor and don't troll them. They don't troll us, so let's stay buds.