The Suns needed a win to stop their slide down the playoff ladder on Wednesday night. On a three game skid and potentially without the leadership of Goran Dragic, it looked like it might extend to four. However, Dragic would suit up, and his career night would give the Suns a 116-104 win over the Pelicans
The first half was a competitive offensive showdown,. The Suns went into the beak with a 56-54 lead. Early in the third, NO went on a gig run to give the Suns a ten point deficit. The Suns then went on a 12-2 run, and held a fair margin of lead throughout the final quarter.
There wasn’t much defense to be found in this game. Both teams shot 50+% from the floor. The Suns once again faced trouble in transition. A few seconds in the third quarter, Hornacek called a timeout to discuss the lack of transition D on the first possession. That’s something the Suns have struggled with recently, and they need to try to shape up with it.
A big part of the Suns success was the 43 bench points. Ish Smith put up 10 points and six assists, even in relief of Dragic. Markieff Morris contributed 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists, and brother Marcus added 15 points and seven boards. The SUns are fifth in bench points, and when the bench plays like this, the Suns are tough to stop.
But tonight was undoubtedly the night of the Dragon. There wasn’t much optimism that he would be able to play, but he said he was good to go and the Suns staff trusted him. He did look to have a little hobble in his step at times, but his endless competitive spirit rendered that null. He followed up a 15 point first quarter by putting up a career high 40 points, shattering his previous 35 which he set only a few days ago.
The highlight of the night, for him at least, was when he went to the line with 25 seconds left and 38 points. Y.S> Airways Center exploded in chants of “MVP!” for him. Some might say that’s a little much, and that is a legitimate argument, but it really isn’t as far out an idea as it may seem. He’s at least the Suns MVP, and that is unquestionable.
The Suns improve to 34-24 with this win. Dallas and Memphis lost tonight, giving the Suns a more favorable playoff margin. The Suns return to action on Sunday when the host the Hawks