Beating a rival team is always fun, especially if that rival is one of the best teams in the league. The Suns hosted their nemesis the Spurs on Friday night. While they were without PG Tony Parker, it still looked to be a tough game for the Suns. However, the Suns ended up crushing the Spurs 106-85. it was the first time the Suns have beat the Spurs at home since 2011, and the first time by 20+ since 1999;. It was also the Suns first win in their alternate sleeve jerseys.
It was the Suns first sellout of the year, and the Suns gave fans a great show. The Suns shot 51% and held San Antonio to 35%. The Spurs also shot 2-21 from behind the arc. Ultimately, the Suns energy and athleticism overmatched the experienced but aging Spurs squad. The Suns played excellent defense, forcing 18 San Antonio turnovers and trailing by a maximum of six points. The Suns got the momentum when they went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter that brought them from down six to up eleven.
There were questions about whether or not the Suns could keep their foot on the gas consistently, because the Spurs aren’t so easily beaten simply by having big halftime deficits. But the Suns never let up.
Channing Frye had a nice game, contributing 17 points and eight rebounds. However, a huge portion of the credit for this win goes to the Suns bench. Leandro Barbosa was out with a sprained toe, so Ish Smith had backup guard duties pretty much to himself. He made the most of that time, finishing with a career high 15 points on 7-9 shooting, seven boards, and four assists. Much of that came in the second quarter, and at halftime, Ish was the player of the game.
Markieff Morris also had a great night, putting up 21 points on 8-10 shooting with five rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The Suns have only one loss when he or brother Marcus, who added 13 points, scores 20+. Archie Goodwin even got in on the action, putting up nine points and three rebounds. He showcased his excellent inside work.
This is when the Suns go from good to scary good: When the bench steps up. When an opposing team has to worry about Ish or the twins and not just Dragic or Green or Frye, the Suns offense becomes a constant wave of speed and pressure that overwhelms most teams. That is something the upper class of the Western Conference, such as the Spurs, should be wary of.
The Suns improve to 33-21 with this win, increasingly gaining on Portland for the 5th seed in the West and even LAC for the division title. The SUns will host James Harder and the Rockets on Sunday, where they hope to prove themselves against another formidable Western foe.