The Suns beat the Magic 105-100 after surviving another round of ugly late game management. Brandon Knight decided to go for a 2 for 1 when the team was winning and there was much more than that when they were up 9 with two minutes to go.
Regardless, a win is a win. Brandon Knight had his best Suns performance yet, finishing with 28 points and 7 assists. Markieff Morris also had 23 points and all of P.J. Tucker's 19 points came in the second half.
This game to me was a way for the Suns to prove that they are not an inexperienced and inconsistent team like the Magic are. The first half was not a good example of that.
The Suns came out to another lethargic start of holding their opponent's hands as they score over and over again in the paint and continue to give up offensive rebounds. Whether it's a lack of effort or a lack of cohesiveness, it sucks.
I'm not sure if Hornacek was making the lineup moves he was because of this or trying to go younger, but we saw Archie Goodwin in the game over Gerald Green. On some possessions Archie looked like he was in Bakersfield still, as a PUJIT is the last thing I want to see him do. Still, this time in the game is learning from that for the future and that's why it's always a good thing to see him out there. You could say the same for Alex Len who did not have a good night.
That would continue with Marcus Morris seeing time at power forward and then actually checking out of the game before T.J. Warren, giving Warren some extra time on the floor. I thought the effort from the Morrii was not that great in the first half so it could have been that from Hornacek, but I'd like to think he's letting the kids get some more run.
The good news about the first half and the rest of this game was that Brandon Knight finally looked comfortable and aggressive. Once again, it might be because he got a practice in, got healthy, or just got settled in. Whatever it was I'm glad it's over because he's a lot of fun to watch when he's like this. It's always fun to see who the new guys (most specifically ball handlers) gel with first on the floor and Knight had some cool plays with Keef in this game.
It was 52-43 at the end of the first half and the Suns allowed 32 points in the paint. This is rather unsettling when you look at the quotes Hornacek had after last game and it seems like the motivation evaded them.
However, the motivation would turn back around and the Suns would make a 27-7 run in the third quarter to take the game back. I thought this was the Suns feeling disrespected and making a statement that a 19 win team in the East cannot compete with them.
That was a fun thought to have because the Magic would continue to stick around in the game because of more horrible defense and turnovers. It's important to note that the Magic did not play well in this game. You can shove statistics in my face that say otherwise, but they did not look like they were playing great basketball. The Suns just continued to let them stay in the game with dumb mistakes.
Two individual performances on offense won the Suns this game. It was Knight's play throughout supplemented by all of P.J. Tucker's 19 points in the second half. He's had two big games in Florida. Also Clutch Keef showed up once more as he continues to be great at that role late.
The bottom line after this game was that it was more of the same. This site has had a couple of postings in the past week about frustration and effort. It looks like those storylines aren't going away anytime soon and it will only get worse with the Suns upcoming schedule.
I'll try to stick with the bright side here though and will say that it was great to the Suns hold on in a close game. The same stuff was there, but at least they got a win out of it.