The Phoenix Suns won their 20th game of the season tonight, and their third straight home game...their longest home winning streak of the season...that may be surprising for a team who already had a six game winning streak, but they haven't been that great at home until now...but perhaps things are changing.
With this win, the Suns continue to hold onto their 8th spot in the ridiculously tough Western Conference. But more importantly, they are continuing to demonstrate a more cohesive, team approach to playing, in contrast to earlier in the season when they often looked disjointed and unsure of their roles.
The Suns have now won eight of their last 10 games, and are doing so with a very even distribution of scoring, rebounding, passing, and defending...in which they are getting significant contributions from multiple players.
Take tonight's game for instance. Seven players reached double figures, including four off the bench. And that doesn't even count the 9 points a piece by both P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee. The Suns are finding different players every night who can step in and provide a spark, and help fill in when other players are having an off night.
Here's what the coach and some of the players had to say about their impressive win tonight, and their growth as a team (Credit to Evan Wendt for shooting the awesome video and editing it for us last night)
Coach Jeff Hornacek
Hornacek talked about the Suns not giving up the lead tonight like they had done in the past, after going up by 17 at halftime. He also talked about the increased continuity of the team from one game to the next, and how players are beginning to play more consistently. Definitely a big reason for the Suns winning ways over the past 10 games.
Bledsoe was noticeably happy with the win, and seemed especially proud of Archie's play. The fellow Kentucky alumnus seems to have taken on the mentor role for Archie, and seemed genuinely happy for him tonight...especially the dunk, which he graded as an "A+". I agree.
Speaking of happy, Goran was all smiles in the locker room tonight after the game. I can say with certainty this was the happiest I've ever seen him, and he's always very friendly and easy to talk to. But tonight, he disn't even wait to get fully dressed before talking with the media. He seemed just as happy to talk to everyone who asked him a question as the media members who were doing the asking. Goran obviously appears to be in great spirits, and that's important for this team now, and in the future as well.
Alex was wearing an awesome Suns tie after dressing up in a suit after the game....and he was happy to show it off to Aaron Nelson who made a cameo in the locker room as well. As for his play, Alex explained that he is still learning how to avoid fouls, but I thought it was encouraging that he seemed to know what he was doing wrong (coming down with his hands), and seemed to be intent on fixing it. Len's progression and his potential are one of the most exciting things about this team, and it's awesome getting to seem him continue to get better with each game.
The Suns now sit at 20-16 on the season thus far, but they are looking at a tough four-game road trip ahead which will end with games against the San Antonio Spurs, and the Memphis Grizzlies, so they'll need to continue playing their best.
Time will tell if they've turned the corner, but for now, they certainly seem to be on the right track. Let's hope it continues.