Dragic, Green Big in Suns Win over Sixers
Maybe it is all about getting off on the right foot.
The last time the Suns embarked on a long road trip, their flight was delayed by over 17 hours. They couldn't recover in the following five-games-in-seven-nights stretch, going 1-4.
This week's plane left on time, and the Suns in turn have left their first two destinations with victories, the latest a 124-113 win at Philadelphia.
The 2-0 start to their four-game road trip is thanks in large part to Phoenix's rediscovered ability to finish games. On Monday night, the Sixers cut a double-digit Suns lead to five in the second quarter, seven in the third and eight in the fourth.
Each time Phoenix responded behind a different game-changer, whether it was Goran Dragic (24 points), P.J. Tucker (15 points, eight rebounds) or Gerald Green (30 points).
It helps that the Suns have shed their shooting woes on the road. Phoenix shot 77 percent in a 40-point first quarter and went 9-of-20 (45 percent) from beyond the arc.
Sunday's comeback at Cleveland, inspired by a half-time calling-to-account from the Suns' coaching staff, has seemingly unearthed the Suns' inner beast on the defensive end. They came up with 12 blocks and 11 steals Monday night, with eight different players coming up with at least one of those stats.
A Sixers 7-0 run had cut the Suns' lead to eight with just over five minutes remaining. The Suns offense had gone stagnant, going 1-for-4 and committing two turnovers.
P.J. Tucker willed the Suns through the stretch, coming up with three consecutive rebounds, including two on the offensive glass. Each board led to a pair of Suns points, helping push the lead back to double-digits and the game out of reach.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
For yet another game, the Suns looked like a team with at least two All-Star weekend contestants.
Goran Dragic turned in the latest scintillating performance in what has been a career year, pouring in 24 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Green was his partner in crime in the backcourt, going off for a season-high 30 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He made yet another case for his presence in the three-point shootout, going 4-for-5 from distance. His three blocks on the other end weren't a bad addition, either.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
33 - the number of points Phoenix scored off of 21 Philadelphia turnovers. Many of them were created by the Suns' 11 steals, others simply by applying pressure and forcing the Sixers into self-committed miscues.