Through a whole team effort, Phoenix overcame a season-high 21-point deficit as they beat the Nuggets 103-99, as they move to 15-10 on the year.
The first half was just abysmal for Phoenix with sloppy play, and pretty horrible. The shooting generally was pretty dismal, they just couldn’t hit anything. It was 24 minutes to forget.
Coming out of halftime everything changed. These 24 minutes should be remembered and called to memory as an example to the squad they can overcome anything. The high altitude causing fatigue making it hard to execute the offense, making it hard to even care to contest shots on defense. But the Suns fought through and made a run early in the third quarter. For a while the deficit was around 14, but that wouldn’t do it. Got to make another push.
In the final minutes of the third, the Suns got it going. Gerald Green made slew of threes. Other than a Markieff Morris free throw, Green made 12 straight Suns points, all from deep.
Hornacek made a couple key rotation changes that were critical in the Phoenix victory. He brought in Ish Smith to give Bledsoe a massive breather. With the altitude and Bledsoe’s lack of playing time other than this season, he needed it. Smith played well in his seven minutes, scoring a couple points, dishing out three dimes, and grabbing three boards. His only offensive rebound went straight to a Green three-pointer that shifted the momentum. Smith also didn’t commit a turnover, which is key for a point guard. Bledsoe got plenty of rest and was fresh for the end of the game.
The Morris twins really poured it on the first 3:30 into the fourth, and the game was subsequently tied on Smith’s only bucket.
Then the Suns just churned out a victory on the road against a playoff team.
The Suns scored sixty-four points off the bench compared to only 39 points from the starters. That is incredible. Markieff led the way again with 25 points in 30 minutes and really filled up the stat sheep. He tallied six rebounds, a couple assists, three steals and three blocks in the comeback victory. He was a +20 plus/minus. His twin Marcus scored 14 off the bench and had a plus/minus of +25. That’s good. That’s how the Suns will win games, especially when the starters Channing Frye, P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee, as well as Bledsoe and Dragic, have better shooting nights.
Green shot 50 percent on the night. He made one of two from the charity stripe and only shot threes from the field, going 6-12 from deep. Dragic’s 17 points and Bledsoe’s ten were the only other double-digit performances from Phoenix.
The Nuggets offense was pretty balanced, with six players in double-figures. Wilson Chandler led the way with 15 points, followed by Randy Frye’s 14, Ty Lawson and J.J. Hickson’s 13 points. Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur both added ten points in the loss.
Phoenix failed to keep Denver out of the paint as the Nuggets scored 52 of their 99 points (over half!) of their points in the paint.
This was a good win for Phoenix. They battled through bad shooting and fatigue due to high altitude to gut out the win on the road.
With Dallas losing at home to the 10-14 Toronto Raptors in overtime and the Suns victory over the Nuggets, Phoenix takes over the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Suns get a chance to increase that lead as both teams travel to the valley of the Sun for a matchup tomorrow.