The Phoenix Suns beat the Charlotte Hornets 120-103 on Thursday night, posting their best shooting effort in four years (59.7%) with 30 assists on 46 made field goals.
The young second unit led the way with a 24-6 run in the 4th to blow the game open (from 96-95 Suns lead) that allowed the Suns to rest their starters the entire 4th quarter.
For the game, the Suns bench outscored the Hornets 53-23.
- Tyler Ulis 8 points, 8 assists
- Alan Williams 16 points, 12 rebounds
- Derrick Jones Jr. 8 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks
- Leandro Barbosa 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals
- Jared Dudley 5 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 1 block
Watson on how Tyler Ulis changed the game:
“The team effort was amazing. Tonight we came home and our second unit played phenomenal. Tyler Ullis changed the game. We talked about that backup point guard position and how you win in this league at the backup point guard position, and that’s picking up full court, that’s things that won’t show up in the box score, it’s nothing anyone would rave about except for coaches and general managers. It’s turning the point guard twice in the back court, running out their starting point guard. If we had to put Bled back into the game, Kemba was already grabbing his shorts, you could tell he (Kemba Walker) was fatigued, and that’s all because Tyler Ullis’ defensive pressure, and he took Roberts out of the game, just pressure, causing turnovers, no on their team was in the rhythm and when their point guards had chance to shoot jump shots it was always short.”
Ulis in his own words:
“I was just trying to get my man defensively, make it hard for him, wear him down. Offensively run the team, make shots when I’m open, get guys open and just do what I need to do.”
“I feel like I was big part of our win. We had 30 assists as a team. When you share the ball good things happen. When you talk defensively good things happen. I feel like that’s why we succeeded today.”
Eric Bledsoe on Ulis:
“I mean tremendous. He presses the ball. I think when Kemba missed some last couple shots because he was tired, Tyler was dogging him the whole game. Tyler did a great job of changing the game.”
You can see many of Ulis’ best plays in this highlights vid of the game.
Alan Williams posted yet another double-double, his fifth of the season. Big Sauce has put up a double-double in every game he’s played 23+ minutes this season. He just has such a knack for scoring with either hand, and for rebounding in traffic.
Here’s all of Sauce’s juicy scores on 7-9 shooting.
Watson on Williams:
“We’re just excited to have him grow and we’re very lucky. Some things just fall into your possession and he was that type of player. The opportunity we have with him, we’re lucky to have him on our team and we’re lucky his character is as high as it is. Very grateful for his presence.”
Bledsoe on Williams:
“Nothing we didn’t already know he was going to do. He just needed to play. Now he is playing, he is producing, especially playing consistent minutes now. I am excited for him. It is only going to get better from here.”
Marvin Williams on the Suns and coach Watson.
“They competed, man. I mean they’re well coached. They’re young and they’re learning how to win but the one thing I know about Earl is his guys are going to compete and that’s what they did. They competed harder than we did and that’s why they won.”
Williams and Watson played on the same Jazz team in 2012-13, a team that went 43-39 and made the playoffs. Their head coach was Tyrone Corbin, now one of Watson’s assistants in Phoenix.
Point guard Kemba Walker on the Suns’ effort
“They just played harder than us. In the fourth quarter, they made all the effort plays. They got the ball up the court fast and they scored.”
The Suns are now tied with the Lakers for 2nd place in the reverse NBA standings, with both teams sporting 19-42 records.
The next closest teams are the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers, both with 3 more wins and only about 20 games to go.
You can fret over the Suns losing their hold on the 2nd or 3rd most lotto balls, but that’s a very unlikely outcome. The Suns, playing 7 guys 24 or younger including 4 as starters, are unlikely to go on a winning streak necessary to allow the Magic or Sixers to overtake them.
- Nets(Celtics) 10-49
- Suns 19-42
- Lakers 19-42
- Magic 22-39
- Sixers 22-38
Have a good Friday!