PHOENIX — The Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic backcourt tandem is working out better than anyone could have hoped through the season’s first 22 games. Last night, the duo combined for 57 points in the Phoenix Suns’ 116-107 win over the Sacramento Kings.
At 13-9, the Suns now sit just a game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for first place in the Pacific Division. The point guard duo has certainly made things click during the current four-game winning streak.
Bledsoe has sparked the Suns with a return to the starting lineup. After he missed six games and came off the bench for two more because of a left shin injury, the Suns have gone 4-1 since his return, and the point guard duo has averaged 40 points per game. Against the Kings, Bledsoe scored a career high 28 points and Dragic scored 29, one point shy of having consecutive 30 point games.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek ranks the combined performance as one of their better games.
“They have had a lot of good ones,” Hornacek said. “I think the first game (against Portland) was pretty good.
“They are learning how to be out there together still and at the same time are playing great,” he added. “It can be a tough thing because both have to sacrifice a little of their game and it is working out very well for us.”
Bledsoe was not hesitant when asked about Friday’s game being one of their best.
“By far one of our best games,” Bledsoe said. “Both of us played well and we just played off each other.”
The Suns are a below-mediocre 5-6 when the two guards do not finish the game together. Dragic has missed three games and left two early to injury, while Bledsoe missed the six with his aforementioned shin injury. Phoenix is 8-3 when the two play the entire game and come out on the healthy side of things.
Bledsoe thinks the chemistry has developed so quickly due to their competitive nature.
“We just come out and play hard every night and whatever happens will happen,” he said.
With their rising success comes the comparison to other back-courts around the NBA. Some people have said they are on of the top-5 in the league already. While it’s is too early to say where this tandem is in terms of ranking, they no doubt have the potential to be among the league’s best should the Suns front office keep them together.
“You guys can judge that,” Bledsoe said when asked if they are a top-5 backcourt. “As I said, we just go out and compete, our job is to play as hard as we can.
“We are not judging that.”
Warriors on deck
Tomorrow night’s game against the Golden State Warriors will be a good early season measuring stick for Bledsoe and Dragic as they face what is arguably the NBA’s most dynamic offensive back-court in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“They are a great team with playoff experience and great shooters,” Hornacek said. “You can’t outscore that team if you don’t play any defense.”
Both teams average close to 103 points per game, but Bledsoe isn’t expecting to slow down for them.
“We can run, they will probably have to run with us,” Bledsoe said. “I know for a fact they will go small because we have stretch big’s that can beat people off the dribble.”