Apr 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) celebrates with guard Goran Dragic (1) against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Suns won 94-88. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Suns Playoff Hopes Survive After Win Over Pelicans

Apr 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Gerald Green (14) drives toward the basket in front of New Orleans Pelicans forward Al-Farouq Aminu (0) in the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns began their last three game road trip of the year in New Orleans, hoping to get one of their easier wins of the remaining games. The Suns were the clear favorite. The Pelicans are marred by injury and are one of the weaker teams in the loaded west. It was closer than many people may have expected, and it came down to the wire, but the Suns managed to top the Pellies 94-88.

New Orleans lacked most of it’s major players. Jrue Holliday has been out with a stress fracture for a while, Eric Gordon has been unavailable too. Worst of all, star big man Anthony Davis sat with back spasms. While 88 points looks like a good defensive showing, the Pelicans did that by essentially starting their reserves.

The Suns jumped out to a 24-13 lead after the first quarter, but the defense faltered and the Suns found themselves leading 47-46 at the break. They recaptured a double-digit lead a couple of times in the second half, only to see them slip. The game was up in the air until Eric Bledsoe grabbed a cross-court pass that allowed the Suns to get some momentum, which they held on to. The Suns put up their patented track meet, scoring 26 fastbreak points.

Gerald Green led the Suns with 21 points off the bench. He had a couple of dunks and hit the two free throws that sealed the win for the Suns. Goran Dragic put up 20 points and nine assists. Eric Bledsoe was a major factor in the second half. He had no points in the first, but went on a big run in the third quarter to help the Suns regain control. He finished with 16 points, six boards, and six dimes. He displayed excellent leadership by taking it upon himself to revive the Suns, and the team as a whole went up and down as he did. P.J. Tucker also helped with 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Suns now sit at 47-31, with four games remaining. They hold a one game lead for the last seed in the west. The final stretch rolls on this Friday, when the Suns travel to Texas to take on the best of the best in the San Antonio Spurs.

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