Defense Keying Suns' Recent Winning Streak

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There’s no shortage of factors behind the Suns’ five-game win streak, but there is one that stands out to Goran Dragic.

“Our defense is better, especially in the first quarter,” he said. “They don’t get that big lead. The only game we did that was against Minnesota.”

It’s true. Other than the Timberwolves game (which required a 22-point comeback effort for the win), Phoenix held their opponents at our below 50 percent shooting in each first period.

Simply softening the first-quarter blow has made victories easier to come by. It’s also made the end result on defense that much more impressive. The Timberwolves were the only Suns opponent to finish with at least 100 points over the last five contests.

“We’re playing together. We’re playing solid defense,” Dragic said. “We’ve got Eric back and that’s much easier now.”

Bledsoe is much more than a passing factor when it comes to team defense. Indeed, the Suns defensive rating is nearly five points better when he is on the court (100.5) compared to sitting on the bench (105.2). That’s the biggest individual, positive swing on the team.

It’s no coincidence that, then, that before Bledsoe was hurt the Suns were a top-10 defensive team in the league.

“We’re back on those old tracks like we played before,” Dragic said. “It’s a perfect situation, a perfect moment for us.”