Phoenix Suns 100, Boston Celtics 94 — Survival skills


PHOENIX — Perhaps it’s going to take a few games to knock off the rust. Or maybe it’s just the continuing trend of the Phoenix Suns struggling to get up for lesser opponents.

Whatever the case, the Suns are surviving poor performances and adding wins.

A night after looking rigid and sloppy against the Denver Nuggets, Jeff Hornacek’s team put together another mistake-riddled game at home against the Boston Celtics to improve to 32-21 on the year. On Wednesday, they needed a 20-1 run just to win 100-94 at U.S. Airways Center.

Phoenix turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and led 52-50 despite shooting 51.2 percent to the Celtics’ 35.3 percent from the floor. Boston scored 25 points on 18 Phoenix turnovers by the end of the game. The Suns’ bench unit, and namely the big men on it, struggled on the glass for the second night in a row. After the second stringers got beat up by J.J. Hickson and Timofey Mozgov on Tuesday night, they allowed rookie Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries to crash the offensive boards for Boston.

The second half began with the Suns looking a little flat, and the turnovers woes didn’t subside to start the third quarter. Hornacek’s squad soon found itself trailing 70-61 midway through the period.

A Goran Dragic three put an end to the Celtics’ run, and before the third quarter ended, Phoenix had gone on a 16-1 run to take a 76-71 lead – the burst continued on with threes and breakaways in the fourth quarter.

When it was all said and done, the Suns bench had rolled off a 20-1 run.

Dragic led Phoenix with 17 points and six assists, and the Morris twins combined to score 29 off the bench to make up somewhat for their lack of rebounding — they combined in that column for six boards in 51 minutes.

The Suns shot 43.9 percent from the floor, scored 44 points in the paint, and made up for lapses in focus.

On to the pregame questions.

Can Frye stroke it?

Frye hit a three-point shot on the Suns’ first play of the game, but from then on it did seem as if Boston was keeping solid tabs on him. He scored just two points over the next 36 minutes until a corner pocket three-ball off a pass from Tucker gave the Suns a 73-71 lead. After a stop, Marcus Morris advanced the ball to 28 feet or so and hit a three-pointer to cap the third on a massive run.

Frye added six more points in the fourth to finish with 15.

Can tired legs outrun fresh legs?

The Suns’ legs weren’t the problem. In fact, it’s plausible they’d be better off having heavy legs. Maybe it would stop them from forcing cross-court passes that are picked off by retreating defenders.

Phoenix needed to get hit in the face before the competitive juices got flowing, but in the end, the starting unit was too much for the Celtics and took it to the Green once they were faced with a bit of adversity.

Gerald Green’s encore?

It wasn’t quite the same thing as his career-high 36-point output on Tuesday, but Green teamed with Dragic as the Suns’ main offensive weapons against Boston.

He added 17 points and started 5-of-7 from the field but struggled down the stretch, hitting one of his final seven attempts.

  • sunsn7

    Keep it rolling, great team win…and good job Channing, beautiful to see that 2nd half passion, didnt go unnoticed. .same with Gerald Green/ PJ Tucker

    Keep it rolling

  • Eric

    Another great performance by Frye on defense tonight. What was with that drive when Marcus was in the paint and Rondo drove and he just turned an ran very troubling defense of late…

  • Anonymous

    Almost gave this game away as well. I need to pop a xanax everytime I watch them play late in the fourth.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Smovas

    Yeah, I really like Tucker….as I’ve said before, he is the tough guy/enforcer every team needs.

    If/When the Suns get to the point they are seriously contending for the NBA Title then Tucka will probably have to come off the bench but I would still keep him.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    EBJM

    kje boste moj prijatelj ?

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Forever

    You know I think Kyle Anderson (UCLA) would be a great pick-up for the Suns if they got him towards the bottom of the 1st round……but
    every time I see UCLA I am more impressed with Jordan Adams.
    He can fill it up from anywhere on the court and has to be the most underrated player in college basketball.

    ps….hope DBreezy is OK.

  • EBJM

    Mislil sem, da smo bili?

    Kaj se je zgodilo dbreezy?

  • EBJM

    Blake to Warriors. Lakers are looking to move Hill and Kaman and keep Pau.

    Too much competition for Hill, Suns will most likely pass.

    Kaman? Well in three games last week against the Bulls, Jazz and Thunder the former All-Star averaged:

    24 points/11 boards/ 4 dimes/ 2 blocks.

    He only makes $3.1 on an expiring contract. If the Lakers move Hill they would want to dump Kaman as well to get completely out of the tax.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    EBJM

    DBreezy (David1787) was on here about a month ago…mentioned something about a family problem/crisis ?
    Just hope everything is OK with him & his family.

  • EBJM

    Peter Vecsey reporting that Kevin Love has informed Flip Saunders that he will opt out next summer and wants to play elsewhere. Speculation is with Lakers.

    Phoenix is a very short flight away. Lets see if McD makes a run at him. Trades have to be approved by the NBA office so lets say 18 hours and counting!

  • Alberto

    I was very sad to hear Ryan McDonough’s interview during the game last night. He isn’t going after big names, I think Kevin Love could be had if he pushed enough. But it doesn’t look like he wants to do anything and stay in the lower half of the Western Conference playoff teams. No NBA team needs 4 first round picks. But McDonough doesn’t want to rock the boat but getting Kevin Love now would make the Suns instant contenders.

  • the real al

    @ebjm

    Then, Flip Saunders comes out with his own tweet denying the rumor – like any Executive should (to protect his team, job, and fan base). Sorry Flip, I do however believe the peter vecsey tweets are legit and got some backbone to them. Love will opt out. When that day comes you best believe McStunna and company will be in the mix.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawki, I agree with ya 100% about Adams, as he can get his shot off against anyone. I like his game a lot and think his value will increase during March Madness when the rest of the country will see him play. As for Anderson, you have to love his skill set for a guy his size who can handle the rock and score. I am a little concerned with his foot speed but he is so talented I think he would be a steal to get after the 25th pick. Because I think the draft is not as good as some predicted, I think Anderson will go in the top 22.

    Glad to see you continue to keep your eye on the ball. What do you think of Aaron Gordon at U of A? Is he a top ten pick if he comes out this summer?

    Alberto, man just my opinion but McD’s patience will prove to be a worthy asset. Our biggest problems are rebounding and defending the low post. Love would help us rebounding no doubt and he would continue to keep the floor spread on offense so I definitely get the interest. However if EBJM’s Vecsey reference is accurate, he may leave Phoenix for LA in 2015. I am not sure what I would offer for Love but I agree it is worth exploring because the Suns will be substantially better than both the Lakers and Wolves in the foreseeable future. I am not a huge Love fan but I agree McD has to look at it.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Forever

    The problem with Aaron Gordon is he can’t shoot.
    He is only shooting a paltry 41% from the FT line & 28% from 3 pt land….not near good enough for the NBA.
    Other than that there is a lot to like about the guy but IMO he needs another year in college to work on his outside game.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawki, In addition to not having a good low post game and being absolutely terrible from the free throw line I think he is 6’9 at best. If both were in the upcoming draft I would take the kid from Univ of Indiana over Gordon even though he too is raw offensively.

    Yeah I agree Gordon needs another year in college.

  • Smovich

    I have zero problems with the Suns NOT making any deals at the deadline!

  • Anonymous

    Same here. The big time deals are made in the post season anyways.

  • EBJM

    Forever, did you notice who picked up one of your “boys”? Yes, that is right, the Spurs quietly picked up Austin Daye to provide depth behind Kawhi Leonard.

    Rockets made a very peculiar trade, Aaron Brooks for the Nuggets Jordan Hamilton.

    Appears the Suns are not going to make any deals.

  • Foreveris2long

    Smovich I could not agree with ya more. Patience is a virtue.

    EBJM I saw that Daye went to the Spurs. Pop sees something in him. Like your boy Patti Mills who I remember you suggesting the Suns draft or pick up from St. Marys College. Mills is killing the league now in Parker’s absence. Watch tomorrow night when he comes to Phoenix. He recently torched both the Clippers and Trailblazers on their home courts. Not always but if Pop wants you there is normally something there that hasn’t been developed.

  • ellensburgbballfan

    Great patience by the Suns front office, its better to do nothing at all than make a short sighted deal and give up future assets

  • ellensburgbballfan

    Great patience by the Suns front office, its better to do nothing at all than make a short sighted deal and give up future assets