Bench Pushes Suns Past Celtics
Phoenix went from playing on long rest on Tuesday to less than 24 hours of it on Wednesday.
In the end, the result was the same.
The Suns held on for their second close win in as many nights, beating the Celtics 100-94 at home. Six players scored in double figures for Phoenix, led by Markieff Morris' 18 points off the bench.
They had to overcome turnovers (14 in the first half) and offensive rebounds (10 for Boston by halftime), obstacles that were resolved thanks to a stellar showing from the Suns' bench in the second half. Ish Smith led the way, though his modest stats (two points, five assists) didn't reflect his impact (team-high plus-minues of +15).
"We came out in the second half without [energy] and now it's a battle," Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek said. "I think Ish came in the game and we got the tempo going a little bit...We survived."
The Suns trailed 70-61 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Up to that point they had been listless, yielding a 16-4 run that appeared to sap the energy from the team.
Enter Ish Smith, whose speed once again turned the momentum back to the Suns' favor. All five Suns on the floor scored in the final four minutes, in which Phoenix ripped off a 15-1 run capped off by a Marcus Morris 32-footer at the buzzer.
"We need everybody," Dragic said. "The bench did an amazing job on that run. I think because of the bench, we won that game."
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I want this team to develop some killer instinct." -- Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek
PLAYER OF THE GAME
P.J. Tucker continued his effort-based tear, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
The performance marked Tucker's third double-double out of the last four games. The veteran forward is averaging 6.4 rebounds per contest despite being utilized primarily as a perimeter player.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
4 and 3: The number of turnovers committed and offensive rebounds given up in the second half after giving up 10 and 10, respectively, in the first half.