The Suns snapped a two-game losing streak last night against the Washington Wizards, and have improved to 5-2 on their eight game home stand. This win guaranteed they would end their home stay with an winning record, regardless of the outcome of Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls.
This is no small feat, as the Suns have played some of the toughest teams in the Western and Eastern Conference during this span. In fact, every single team they played against is currently slotted to be a playoff team.
But back to this game. It was essentially a tale of two halves...with the Suns owning the first half, and the Wizards getting the better of the second.
Of course, that only tells part of the story. The Suns built up a lead that was 22 points at it's largest, and ended the first half up 17. The Wizards outscored the Suns by three in the third quarter, bringing the Suns lead down to 14, and then outscored Phoenix again in the fourth quarter by six, bringing the final deficit to eight at the end of the game.
While the Suns weren't able to build upon the lead they built in the first half, they were careful not to completely lose it all either...though things did get tense a couple of times in the fourth quarter when they cut the lead to just four, on two separate occasions.
But still, the Suns played well enough to win against a team that was 31-15 heading into tonight...in the end, that's all that mattered.
Here's what the players had to say about the win after the game (Thanks for editing the videos Evan!)
Eric talked about the advantage of playing the Wizards on a back-to-back, and how the Suns were able to capitalize on it...at least in the first half. He also mentioned trying to win as many games heading into the All-Star break to hopefully give themselves a bit of a cushion over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Pelicans who aren't far behind.
Not surprisingly, PJ talked about hustling and grabbing big rebounds at the end of the game. And once again, P.J. was huge down the stretch...grabbing 6 rebounds in the last 6 minutes of the game. He walks the talk, and definitely leads by example. Another gritty game from Tucker where he registered a double-double...scoring 12 points, and leading the team in rebounds with 10.
Goran talked about how building big leads only to lose them has been a common theme this season, but he was also happy they came out with the win in the end. He also talked about the importance of getting these big wins against very good teams at home. To be 5-2 through these first seven games is impressive, no doubt about it...but they aren't done yet.
The Suns play the Chicago Bulls next up on Friday, in what is sure to be another very tough game. Fortunately for Phoenix, they will have a day of rest in between, whereas the Bulls will be playing a back-to-back on the road, since they are playing the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Hopefully, the Suns can once again use their energy as an advantage to jump out to another early lead...and hopefully sustain it as well.