Suns Roll Over League-Best Pacers
The Suns had yet to string together consecutive wins in 2014.
They picked a heck of a night to do it.
In front of a national television audience and against the league's best team and defense, Phoenix could do no wrong. They dunked. Sank threes. Caused turnovers.
In short, the Suns wreaked havoc on the team with the best record in the NBA, running away with a 124-100 win. The final score marked the most points given up this season by Indiana, who yields an average of just 88 points per contest.
The Suns reached that mark with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
There was no shortage of standout players for the home team. Gerald Green poured in 23 points against his most recent former team. Goran Dragic dissected the Pacers' vaunted interior defense for another 21. Markieff Morris out-dueled David West and Luis Scola, outscoring Indiana's power forward duo 20-18.
And for the second straight game, the bench gave Dragic the fourth quarter off. Ish Smith (eight points, two assists) again ignited the Suns with his speed and playmaking. The reserves ripped off a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, giving Phoenix a 22-point lead and prompting Indiana to clear its bench with more than six minutes remaining.
"We've had a lot of games that we've been decent," Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek said. "It was good to finally get one against a good team that we were very good."
Goran Dragic picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter. Indiana had cut a 24-point lead to 13, slowing the game down to a crawl by picking up a rash of fouls and free throws at the Suns' expense.
Desperate to change the speed and momentum of the, the Suns turned to Ish Smith.
It worked. Phoenix scored eight points in the final two minutes of the quarter, with four coming from Smith on a step-back jumper and a drive to the rim.
He kept it up in the fourth, directing the reserves in an energy-filled stretch that put the game away.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"It's nice when the team you're playing against is down by 20 and we can just watch from the bench." -- Goran Dragic
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gerald Green said Wednesday night would be about proving something against his former team. The Pacers might not be convinced after seeing him go off for 23 points, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line and 3-of-5 from three-point range. He also threw in a pair of alley-oop assists, as well as a highlight dunk of his own.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
0 - the number of times Indiana had allowed 3 quarters of 30-plus points in one game. They'd only allowed two of them once this season, and the Suns were two points in away in the final period from making it a four-quarter sweep.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Success of the #Suns and coach Jeff Hornacek is one of the season's best stories— InsideHoops.com (@InsideHoops) January 23, 2014