The Phoenix Suns outscored the Philadelphia Sixers 55-37 in the second half to win the game at US Airways Center going away, with a 112-96 final score. The first half was even though, so the Suns could not empty the bench until late in the fourth quarter when the Suns lead stretched to 16.
That's when the game got memorable, especially for two brothers from Slovenia.
Prior to Friday night, no team in NBA history had sported two sets of brothers in the same lineup at the same time. The Phoenix Suns have now made NBA history by playing brothers Goran Dragic and Zoran Dragic and twins Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris together for just under a minute against Philadelphia.
The lineup could have played longer together, but in that minute rookie Zoran Dragic took (and missed) his first three-pointer ("I thought he was going to make it!" Goran said afterward), boxed out like a mofo, grabbed a rebound, initiated a fast break and fed his Goran for a layup to put the Suns up by 16 points with two minutes left in the game.
"I would pass it to anybody, we are a team," Zoran said later, downplaying the significance a bit. "I looked up to see who was out on the fast break and it was my brother and I passed it to him. I'm just glad that we win this game, and I hope that we have many, many wins in 2015."
The crowd went absolutely bonkers and Philadelphia took the obligatory timeout (or maybe it was the officials) to ostensibly allow the Suns to celebrate. In that timeout, Hornacek decided to clear the bench and the Dragic brothers were joined by Shavlik Randolph, Archie Goodwin and T.J. Warren for the remainder.
Leaving Goran out there allowed the brothers to team up again in the final minute, this time to get Zoran his first NBA points.
Zoran completed the and-one just like he's always done overseas.
"I was looking for him in that fastbreak as soon as I got it," Dragic admitted.
Asked if he still has the upper hand on his brother, given that he was the one who set up Zoran for the score, Goran laughed and nodded then shrugged it off because Zoran had set him up first. "I'm just happy that he got an opportunity."
"We had that feeling we had when we played together for the (Slovenian) national team," Goran Dragic said after the game, with a big smile. "It's always nice to have him on the floor and share the jersey."
Watch Zoran, and then Goran talk about the game. Clearly, Zoran isn't ready yet to be as open as Goran.
So that's how the game ended.
But let's not forget how the game started, with Alex Len playing against his draft class mate Nerlens Noel. In the first five minutes, Len had 3 rebounds and 3 blocks before collecting his second foul on a denial in the paint.
One of those blocks was a real crowd-pleaser...
At this stage, neither player has reached his peak between Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, but Suns fans can rest comfortably knowing that Len has at least justified his draft status. Who knows who will have the better NBA career, but Len has shown so far he's got a ceiling just as high as Noel and possibly even a bit higher.
Let's listen to Alex discuss the game.
Len finished with a career high six blocked shots and five rebounds in 16 minutes of play. After that opening flurry, he sat most of the rest of the half with foul trouble, and then Miles Plumlee played so well (per coach Hornacek) that Len sat much of the second half. Between Plumlee and Len, the Suns had a center out there for 40 of the 48 game minutes.
Plumlee finished with 4 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks of his own and was active all night long in 24 minutes of play. Nerlens Noel finished with 4 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 22 minutes of play.
Both teams went small in the second half as the Suns wanted to up the pace and the Sixers tried to match it. The Suns outscored the Sixers 55-37 in the second half.
The Suns came out sluggish, but turned on the jets in the second half so let's enjoy the win and celebrate the NBA history that was made on Friday night!