The Good News
That being said, Dragic brings up an important point: In the bloodbath that is the Western Conference, an ugly win is better than a pretty loss. After all, there’s definitely some solace in the fact that the constant state of cardiac arrest this team induces is being alleviated by those Ws in the win-loss column.
The Suns have now won seven straight games at home and boast an 8-2 record against Western teams at home. Phoenix has also gone 14-4 with a starting lineup of Dragic, Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris and Alex Len.
After the win over the Trail Blazers, head coach Jeff Hornacek mostly focused on the job his team did hanging tough even after they fell behind by five with 2:20 to play.
"“It’s tough when you get up by that many and all of a sudden, they’re without one of their stars and then they just start coming down and say, ‘What do we have to lose? We don’t have our guy, we’re down 25,'” he said. “They basically just started making up threes, penetrating and then they just started making all kinds of them….But our guys are resilient. It’s tough when you try to stop a big run like that.”"
But stop it they did, and the best part is it took a collective team effort. Goran Dragic served as the hero against the Lakers, putting up 24 points, six assists and a team-high nine rebounds. Against Portland, he hit a huge corner three to cut Portland’s five-point lead to two.
Bledsoe, who led the Suns against Rip City with a career-high 33 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals, limited Damian Lillard for most of the game before Mr. Fourth Quarter started to take over. But after Dragic’s big three, Bledsoe responded with a huge three-point play to take the lead back.
Thomas notched a season-high 27 points on an incredibly efficient 11-of-16 shooting night, trading baskets with Lillard midway through the fourth to keep Phoenix within striking distance. Tucker secured some big rebounds late in the game en route to his team-high 13 boards.
Even Markieff Morris, who finished with a pedestrian six points and five boards, hit a huge go-ahead bucket with a minute to play, and from there the Suns never trailed again.
"“I’ve been on teams where that would happen and you just crawl in a ball and act like you already lost the game because the momentum’s on their side,” Thomas said. “But we settled down, got some key stops and we scored on the other end, made some big free throws and got the win.”"
Next: The Key To Keeping Leads