Phoenix Suns 124, Philadelphia 76ers 113 – The Green and Goran Show

The ever-surprising Phoenix Suns just eclipsed their win total from last season – in late January. Their hard fought 124-113 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers was their second road win in two nights and a pretty perfect allegory for their season thus far. The Suns started fast, struggled in the middle, and put their foot back on the gas at the end to secure a win.

Phoenix dropped 40 points in the first quarter, stunning the home team. The Suns shot 77% from the floor, threw down four dunks, and set the tone early for what would be a very dominant performance with just a few minor lapses thrown in for spice. While Philly scrapped in the middle periods trying to make a game of it, the Suns, with the help of Goran Dragic and Gerald Green, slammed the door shut on any comeback hopes in the fourth.

Green and Dragic were lights out in this game. The Dragon had 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Not to be outdone, Green poured in 30 points, making this the eighth straight time Phoenix has come out victorious when Green goes for 20 points of more. The pair were a perfect 10-for-10 in that electric first quarter. Green’s first miss was actually a blown dunk in transition that would have melted down the building and been a serious contender for Dunk of the Year had it gone through the net. For the game, Goran and Gerald combined to shoot 7-of-9 from downtown and dished out nine assists between them. Dragic picked up three steals while Green had three of Phoenix’s season-high 12 blocks.

Phoenix’s defense was stellar in the early parts of this game, and good enough down the stretch to get a win. The Suns protected the rim extremely well and were physical at every position each time the 76ers penetrated. This forced Philly to settle for jumpers and helped the Suns build a double-digit lead. They played solid transition defense, holding the Sixers to just seven fast break points in the first half. While the starters played with an admirable amount of energy, the bench seemed a bit more tired, and their defensive lapses allowed Philly to stay in the game.

It’s possible the homecoming pressure got to the Morris twins. Marcus had just four points in 23 minutes. Markieff had a quality night with 13 points, three assists, three rebounds, and four blocks. But he could have had much bigger night. His defensive woes got him in foul trouble and forced him to sit more than usual of the second half.

Overall, the Suns stifled and frustrated their opponents who shot just 41% from the field in the first three quarters and were whistled for three technical fouls over the course of the night. Phoenix led from wire-to-wire. The 76ers finished the game with 19 turnovers. If not for their unbelievable performance at the line (24-of-25) Philadelphia might have gotten embarrassed in this one. For more analysis, let’s answer our three preview questions.

Can the Suns win the third quarter?

Yes but it was the opposite of a moral victory. The third period was U-G-L-Y. It had absolutely no alibi. After a physical first half, the officials whistled 22 personal fouls in the third which led to 31 free throws between the two teams. Philly turned the ball over nine times, while the Suns coughed up five of their own. Overall, the twelve-minute quarter took over 40 minutes of real time to play. It was a slog-fest, but the Suns kept their wits about them and increased their lead to 13 points heading into the final period. The key for the Suns was defensive rebounding. The Sixers grabbed 10 offensive boards in the first half, but were held to just one in the third. The steadying force for the Suns in the quarter was P.J. Tucker who put up nine points, got to the free throw line six times, and was an absolute force in transition. The Suns scored 13 of their 24 fast break points in the third. Tucker finished the night with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Can the Suns limit the Philadelphia to just one big night?

Last time out against the Suns, Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young combined for more than 50 points. This time around, Phoenix held them in check relatively speaking. The pair had only 13 points in the first half, though Phoenix’s lax defense down the stretch allowed them to finish the game with 43 points combined. Phoenix did a much better job forcing Young out of the paint in this game. The Suns frontcourt players limited Young to just two rebounds on the night. While MCW had 11 assists and finished with a double-double, he was just 7-of-19 from the floor. He and Young padded their stats a bit in the fourth after Gerald Green caught fire with eight straight points to put the game out of reach.

Will Goran Dragic have a noise-making performance?

After starting 6-of-6 for 15 points, it certainly looked like the Dragon was ready to take flight, but Coach Hornacek smartly limited him to just 32 minutes not wanting to put too much strain on his star point guard in the middle of another four games in five nights stretch. Dragic would have had a double-double in this one, but at least five times the recipient of his pass was fouled while shooting a layup, sending them to the line, but withholding a dime everyone’s favorite Slovenian. Dragic’s performance won’t make Sportscenter’s Top 10 tonight, but it’s yet another in a long line of stellar nights he can add to his All Star credentials. There are few point guards in the NBA who are playing as efficiently both in the paint and beyond the arc as Dragic is this year. He is putting up real numbers on a contending team, and he deserves more than a passing look for a reserve spot in New Orleans.

And 1

  1. Alex Len showed some impressive footwork in this one. He ran the pick and roll effectively, and had a nifty up-and-under post move for an emphatic dunk. He can still do more to be in the right position on defense and take better care of the ball, but he has shown some real improvement since returning from injury.
  2. Miles Plumlee also had a terrific game offensively. He posted another double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Plumlee’s only offensive woes came when he was left all alone with the ball at the top of the key. Every one of those possessions yielded either an ugly turnover or a badly missed jumper. Defensively, Plumlee left Spencer Hawes open a few too many times and recorded no blocks. He did, however, step to the line and make both free throws for the first time in what feels like a month.
  3. Ish Smith had two phenomenal blocked shots. I had no idea he had those kind of hops.


Tags: Gerald Green Goran Dragic Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns Recap

  • foreveris2long

    I missed the game so I sure enjoyed the summary Ryan.

  • BCrayZ

    Good recap Ryan.

    With Miles being shut out, it was a wonder that the rest of the team accounted for all 12 blocks, a season high.

    Block party for sure, led by 4 for Mark. Only 2 of our starters had blocks but 4 out of 5 reserves (with the exception of Marc) had blocks this game. Even Ish & Barbosa. When Philly tried to get back in the game in the 2nd half, there was a sequence when the trio of Frye, Gogi & our Blur put the game away. This trio should get more together playing time. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Bandwagon Fan
  • BCrayZ

    Good news Bandwagon Fan.

    Hope that he signs up again for next year.

    Over/ under? This was the 18th time in a row that our Suns won the game, when scoring 110 points or more. They are likely to do this more often with Barbosa getting more playing time. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • http://none Go Phx

    glad to see Len and Barbosa get more playing time. Great LB was signed for the year. Now let’s go pound Milwaukee.

  • ShanMan

    Good to see Sugar Plum getting back into offensive flow. Somtimes I think he cares more about his hair than practicing his hookshot.

    Ryan McD should be in shackles for stealing Bledsoe, Green and Plumlee (+ a pick). I like Scola’s ugly mug, but he’s not worth what the Pacers gave up for him in hindsight.

  • BCrayZ

    With you on all of that GoPhx.

    Jeff must be happy that our Suns were making their freebies from the foul line.

    Must kill him when they miss. Five Suns were were perfect from the foul line. Frye (who could not find his deep shot) led the pack at 4-for-4, but he was joined by both twins, Alex & our Blur. “Blur” needs more playing time with Frye & especially with Gogi. Even made a trey in tonight’s game. Will be even more dangerous when he gets the confidence back in his deep shot. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Animan

    BCrayZ you annoy the hell out of me and I love it

  • JK

    Gerald Green is slowly becoming my favorite player on the Suns. Hopefully McMiracle can sign him to a reasonable extension so we can keep him here for the long term. Gotta love the improvement by Len too. Looks like he is slowly coming along. Tonight was an excellent game, and I’m hoping for more of the same. Maybe if we start streaking we can nab the division from the Clippers!

  • BCrayZ

    @ Animan – Thank you very much.

    MUST apologize for my annoyance.

    Please understand that annoyance may be a necessary side effect to driving home that same point over & over. Why do I do this? Very simple. Hope that the real decision maker (Jeff or Ryan) either reads this or is told about my idea by someone else who does. By repeating this message (like advertising) I increase the odds. I may have been successful in pushing Ryan to consider signing LB, although I’m not sure. Stop there? There are more issues & steps toward making the Suns a successful team. Rather than diffuse my message, I’m taking this one issue & one step at a time. When Jeff moves LB into the starting line up, I will move on to the next. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Lance

    Great once again, Gogi, No_1 on level of constancy.
    This matters.

  • Robert Sarver

    I must let it be known that it was my idea to keep Barbosa around for the remainder of the season.

    Here at the Suns, we feel that reconnecting with the fans is a vital step to facilitating growth for our younger players. We want to win now, and for the future. Having veteran leadership meets that goal for us.

    Tanking was not in our vocabulary to start the season. I looked at our ticket sales last season, and the vibe about our product in the city and I felt major changes were needed. We are still a work in progress but I feel we’re heading back to the promised land.

    All the best,

    Robert Sarver

  • Voqar

    Great game to watch.

    No clue why they ever have Plumlee at the top of the key OR why they let him touch the ball up there – I watch every game and nothing good has ever come of this and more often something terrible happens.

    Also no clue why they never play Goodwin. I think the kid has serious potential. They play Len, who’s a walking turnover, and let him stay in even when he’s helping the other team as much as anyone, but Goodwin can’t get any minutes and usually gets yanked for any mistake. Bleh.

    Unfortunately due to his position there just aren’t many minutes to be had. Green has got more consistent and less emo with extended PT. Ish is playing better and better. Goodwin just can’t get on the court.

    I do like that we’re playing a lot of different players including young players and that the coach has confidence in the bench to go up against starters for other teams – very often they hold their own and/or put games away.

    It’s kind of funny, maybe even sad, that this team projected to do so little is one of the more solid teams we’ve had in years, even going back thru a lot of Nash-lead teams. The defense is better, the effort is more consistent even on low energy nights, the team rarely gives up. Need to get a bit more killer instinct and stomp on teams when we get them down but even that is coming along – this team already holds on to leads moreso than many of our teams of recent years.

    Good stuff.

  • Voqar

    “Ryan McD should be in shackles for stealing Bledsoe, Green and Plumlee (+ a pick). I like Scola’s ugly mug, but he’s not worth what the Pacers gave up for him in hindsight.”

    Eh, it worked out for both teams, I think. The pacers didn’t need yet another wing – they’re loaded. They’re pretty set for centers too. A crafty PF who can shoot reliably or post to backup west fits them better.

  • Suns Fan in Portland

    Well Bob… I really appreciate McD’s views on not chasing ping pong balls and would normally agree with him 100%. I definitely have faith in GM Opie and his vision for the team, and love the moves he’s made so far. However, this is the one season I think a pretty good argument could be made for trying to get our pick as high as possible and giving serious minutes to Archie and Len. (Sounds like a comic book…) It would be nice to get a lottery pick and still have at least one more good pick left in this draft…

  • john

    @Portland, I can pretty much guarantee the Suns won’t be using four picks this season all by themselves. I think it’s likely the Suns will package those picks for a top 10 pick. If not this year, then next (when the Suns will also own the Lakers’ pick).

    Good stuff from the Suns last night. Dragic’s development has been nothing short of amazing to me. I thought his absolute highest ceiling was a middle-of-the-pack NBA PG, but he has proven me wrong. He’s playing like a top 5 PG and a top 30 overall player this season.

  • BCrayZ

    @Robert – Thank you VERY MUCH!

    What I was campaigning for was to sign him back before he even started playing back in Brazil.

    Good to know that you read this blog. When someone posts with your name , I have never known whether it was you or just a hoax. What you don’t know is that we have met more than once, back in Alvin’s & Steve Kerr’s days. Used to be one of your season’s ticket holders court side, year after year, across from the visitor’s bench & the vocal Spike Lee type. Even showed you my signature move. Told me that you liked the move but that I have no future in the NBA. Just because I’m 61 (now), you should have had more of an open mind. Suns could use me at practices & you could market me as a home grown product that defies what most think of someone my age to get more fans curious to come out to the game. Will not embarrass the team. Only will help us get more wins. My game is razor sharp & keeps getting better, like Satchel Page. Gogi, LB & Frye all know me, as you would, if you saw my face. Have even danced for you at half time. Most important is not my own fantasies (even though I truly make the Harlem Globe Trotters look like the Washington Generals) but what is best for the team. In that respect, I will keep pushing Jeff to start our Brazilian Blur. Want to know an interesting fact? With the exception of 1 game (when Terry Porter was our coach & nothing would help), each & every game that Barbosa has started the Suns have won each & every time. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • vtsunrise

    I loved what I saw of P.J. Tucker in this game. Hustle and muscle.

  • Foreveris2long

    On a slightly different note, I was reading last night that the Pistons are dysfunctional in their front court. They feel they need better perimeter shooting. Some of the alleged poor play is falling on the shoulders of Greg Monroe. There was also mention I think in the same article that Okafur’s contract, most of it is now being paid by an insurance policy, making him an extremely attractive trade commodity (expiring contract & insurance). This was a Hoops article from yesterday.

    I strongly suspect McD already is working on trade possibilities for Monroe especially since Pistons need shooting (Frye). Okafur, Frye and a 1st round pick might get that done. Should something similar to that take place and Bledsoe comes back, no one will want to face the Suns in the playoffs. Even without Bledsoe the Suns would not be a walk in the park.

    Handle your business McD just like you have been doing.

  • BCrayZ

    Greg is too slow.

    Frye is too good to move.

    Suns would not only lose but lose huge. This trade would not only hurt our game but also in the locker room. The chemistry of our team would take a major blow. Frye needs to play with Gogi & our Brazilian Blur. Move Barbosa into the starting line up in Eric’s spot. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Foreveris2long

    Too slow? Too slow to guard the low post? Too slow to get easy buckets in the paint? Since when does a power forward have to be fast? Does Monroe have character flaws you wish to share? Help me understand your logic BCrayZ.

  • SarverHater22

    When its contract time for Plumlee and Green , forget it , old Sarver will show both the door rather than pay up , its 2005 all over again then . lol

  • john


    Perhaps because neither player has shown they’re worth a great sum of money…

    Green has a 15.1 PER and a WS/48 of 0.120. Extremely average.

    Plumlee is at 15.2 and 0.104. Extremely average.

    If you pay average players more than a few million a year, you’re wasting money and limiting your opportunity to pick up a guy like LeBron James, who is worth FAR more than the max salary (and I’m in no way saying I think LeBron James is coming to Phoenix, I’m just saying this for the sake of the argument).

    Paying guys who are a dime a dozen what they think they’re worth is an excellent way to build a terrible team (See: Childress, Josh, Warrick, Hakim, and Tukoglu, Hedo).

  • Solarion

    Philadelphia has really mailed it in, I can’t believe fans are even showing up for that team. Great win for the SUNS regardless, and on the back end of a back-to-back as well. This SUNS team has a lot of heart, grit and fire, I give the credit to Hornacek, but in also the players that they chose to be on this team.

  • Foreveris2long

    John I love Green’s game as well especially since he has started looking for shots inside the 3 point line. He even sees the floor better in getting some assists. Great acquisition by McD but Coach Horny has the guys buying into his concept of shooting open threes but balancing that with getting into the lane for easier buckets or fouls. Markief has bought into the concept 100%. The team IMO is no longer obsessed with the 3 point line. You have to love these guys if you are a true Suns fan.

  • Al

    Mr. Robert Sarver,

    I am going to ask a VERY silly question. Will Phoenix be going after LBJ during Free Agency?

  • BCrayZ

    Love these guys.

    Jeff wants a team that will run.

    Greg, from what I have been told, will not fit that mold. Will tell you who will give us boards plus D down at the low post. Louis will do all of that. Plus he will run. Plus he will bond with Gogi, Frye (good buddies) & our Blur. Plus he is a free agent. Plus his intensity (like Birdman of the Heat) is contagious both to the other players on the floor & the home fans. Will not have to give up anything to sign him (just like the deal with our “Blur”.) Only need to open a roster spot. A 2-for-1 trade (Okafur’s insured deal plus ? for a proven young star) would open that spot). Make it so Ryan.

    MUST reunite that “killer bench unit.” Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • john

    I like those players too. I like them at what they’re currently paid. I don’t like them at ~$6M. Green is a great story, as is Plumlee, but they’re giving returns that are expected from their pay level. Average play gets less than average pay.

  • Luka

    BCrayZ is bragging about hanging out with Sarver? He also wants Frye around? Obamacare must have made his meds unaffordable. Sorry bro.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    I think Monroe could run. Why wouldn’t he? He is very young and athletic. Frye is great to have on your team as long as his shot goes in. Other than that, he doesn’t rebound consistently, and he gets abused defensively because he is not strong or quick enough to guard anybody in the post. It is incredible how hr is playing with his heart problem, but I would trade him for Monroe any day, especially since Monroe is like 10 years younger. I don’t think you would have to worry about chemistry issues when you are getting a young, athletic 4 in return. A few alley oops would fix that right up.

  • DZ

    Plumlee will be playing under his very affordable rookie contract through the 2016-2017 season. That gives the Suns plenty of time before they have to worry about his next contract. Green is only under contract through next season and unless he makes a leap forward in his consistency, I doubt that he will be expecting a big pay increase nor should he get one.

    I doubt that the Suns will give Kravstov a qualifying offer during the off season and Smith and Christmas probably won’t be back either (although Smith has a fairly good chance of returning). Even with resigning Bledsoe to a max contract, the Suns will still have a lot of cap space next season unless they pull off a trade that adds more long-term salary.

  • DZ

    Monroe will probably be traded somewhere before the deadline. Detroit made a mistake signing Smith and trying to make him into a SF. Because of the size of his contract, they are stuck with him and Monroe is likely the odd man out. Since he will be a RFA at the end of the season I’m not sure he would be a good trade target for the Suns, especially if they are determined to keep Bledsoe.

  • BCrayZ

    Luka had the nerve to use his real name?

    That fool will never realize just how dumb he us.

    What the Suns need is more real fans & less drunken wise guys. We should be thankful we have Frye on our team. Same goes for Barbosa. Gogi & Frye & Barbosa need to play at the same time. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Hey Forever are you considering a sign and trade for Monroe? If not, if you send only Frye the Pistons would need to package a 2nd player with Monroe to make it work.

    What does work without including Okafor’s contract is adding former Duke Blue Devil SF Kyle Singler who happened to be a teammate with all three Plumlee brothers.

    Maybe toss in a couple 1st rd picks and maybe Dumars bites?

    Suns simply save Okafor’s contract for their own cap space to extend Bledsoe and Monroe this summer.

    What a great trade, acquire two players that fill needs and finally dump the Suns last bad contract (Frye’s).

  • foreveris2long

    EBJM, you are absolutely correct if Pistons are at or over the cap. I admit to not knowing their contract issues but with J. Smith and B. Jennings it could be significant. If my recollection is correct, salaries only have to be I think within 25% of who you trade away if the Pistons are I think, at or over the cap. Too lazy to look at the CBA (seems like work).

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Forever I ran it through the infamous trade machine and Frye made just a tad bit too much, hence throw in Miles former teammate.

    From Celtic fans through SB Nation they favor 82% to 18% a trade that sends Jeff Green to Phoenix for Okafor and a 1st rd pick.

    Green earns $9 million through the summer of ’16. Not a good contract for the Suns. Is he really worth that much with the way Tucker, Marcus and Green are playing?

    Funny how the Suns F.O. didn’t leak out the insurance covering Okafor’s contract until Len came back and about three weeks before the trade deadline.

    You just know McD is going to swap Okafor and at least two picks for somebody.

  • Al

    Suns don’t have to trade Okafor for Jeff Green. Check this out:

    The new CBA allows teams to still trade up to 3 million cash. Phoenix can trade just Kravstov plus $2 million cash (Used Marcus contract as if it was cash) and acquire Green. Okafor’s contract can be saved for a BIGGER FISH!!!

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Al good job researching the CBA BUT do you want to eat up about $7 million dollars of the Suns cap space for this summer by doing that trade in addition to adding around $9 million per for the following two seasons?

    Do you believe Jeff is that “piecing piece” that can make a significant difference for Phoenix?

  • SarverHater22

    @John , Sarver will even refuse to pay Green and Plumlee what HE thinks they’re worth lol , and with Bledsoe proving to be quite injury-prone , heheh , Sarver got his out right where he wants it .

  • ellensburgbballfan

    Had to change my name to Ellensburgbballfan from Azbballfan now that I have permanently moved from Phoenix AZ to Ellensburg, WA

    I think Len should get more playing time

    His per 36 numbers are nearly identical to Plumlees

    The Suns have a long term hole at the 3, I don’t think I want Jeff green there in a trade

    I would rather draft or trade for a player in a draft night deal

    I love the Suns but I don’t see us getting any farther than the 2nd round of the playoffs and that’s if everything happens perfectly

    Play the young guys, we don’t want to be stuck in a mediocre borderline playoff team mode forever

    Either commit to grabbing a real star, or playing the young guys because just barely squeezing into the playoffs for the next few years should not be OK with anyone unless of course you make the moves the rockets and warriors have

  • SarverHater22

    Frye has been great for this team’s chemistry , I used to dislike Frye’s new deal back in 2010 , felt he didnt deserve it and still is ,but Frye dedicated himself to be a better defender after Amare left , we need Frye at least for this year..however , if we net a Monroe for Frye and other goodies , awesome …LeBron to Phoenix , even more awesome . But Sarver’s rep precedes him.

  • john


    And when Bledsoe’s RFA sheet gets match by the Suns, I’m sure you’ll be first in line to say how wrong you were, right?

    Haters will always be haters. There’s no reasoning with clowns.

  • john

    And btw, the chances of LeBron coming to Phoenix being so bad have nothing to do with Sarver and everything to do with the fact that LeBron is larger than life right now, and there are only four places that could potentially be a good fit for his level of fame (outside of Miami): LA, New York, Chicago, and Boston (in that order).

    It has absolutely nothing to do with ownership or the front office and everything to do with the fact that LeBron is bigger than Phoenix. And btw, why would LeBron want to come to Phoenix when it’s full of awful fans like you? Going from Miami to Phoenix would be a DOWNGRADE in the fan department, and that’s saying something because Miami’s fans are terrible.

  • BCrayZ

    John -

    Agree with you about our fans.

    This is why I became like the Knicks’ Spike, out of pure & desperate need. Have a link you may like to see:–nba.html

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • ellensburgbballfan

    BTW Archie Goodwin tore up the d league in his brief stint good for him!

  • SarverHater22

    @John , I am a Sarverhater cuz Sarver ruined Steve Nash’s run all those years ,and to Nash’ credit , he never bashed Sarver year after year that Sarvie let one talent leave after the other and , and as for Lebron to the Valley ? I didnt bring that up , Of course thats pie-in-the-sky , but hey, its not like we are gonna expect Sarver to sell James on coming here in the first place eh ?

  • SarverHater22

    and about Bledsoe ,why would Sarver want him now that EB has proven to be injury prone , Sarver will just low-ball him like how Sarver low balled Grant Hill . and Hill was healthy ! heheh