The Suns went into Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first game of a road stretch with only 10 players available to play. Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Ronnie Price and Alex Len all sat this one out, which made a loss against one of the Eastern Conference's better teams seem inevitable.
Sure enough, the Suns managed to keep their road losing streak alive, stretching it to 8 consecutive games.
But that isn't a knock on the team's effort. They played about as well as one could reasonably expect from a team starting Archie Goodwin at point guard. And though the final score wasn't particularly pretty, the Suns surged back after a putrid start and kept the game close up until the second half of the fourth quarter.
Among the bright spots was Devin Booker, who continues to torch opposing defenses with his pretty shot. Booker dropped 19 on the Pacers in just 29 minutes, shooting 8-of-12 from the field. In the nine games since Bledsoe went down, Booker has averaged 14.7 points per game. He's been even better in his last five, averaging 16.6 points on 49 percent shooting from the field.
Archie Goodwin was another bright spot, finishing with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, a steal, two blocks and only one turnover as the starting point guard. He still struggles a lot at the free-throw line but his slashing ability seems stronger than ever. One has to wonder where he fits into the Suns' future plans if Warren and Booker continue to be prioritized in the rotation. Did tonight's performance increase his trade value?
We should also recognize that Markieff Morris showed up to play tonight. His shot was a bit flat, as he bricked four threes and shot just 7-of-18 from the field on the night. However, he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench. It was the most he has played in a game since December 4th, and also the most he has scored since that 28-point outing against the Spurs in November.
In other news, the lack of available point guards tonight allowed 10-day contract signee Lorenzo Brown to appear in a Suns uniform for the first time. Brown came off the bench in the first quarter and immediately dished out a couple of pretty assists to Markieff. He finished with seven points and five assists in 20 minutes, but he also committed five turnovers. He didn't control the offense especially efficiently but he wasn't invisible either (looking at you, Jerel McNeal), so he deserves another look in the coming games against Boston and Minnesota.
With the T-Wolves and and Pelicans slacking off as of late, this loss was important for tanking purposes. As of tonight the Suns would go into the draft lottery with the 6th best odds at the first pick. Silver linings are important, people.