Postgame Central: Suns vs. 76ers - Jan. 2, 2013

95

Jan. 2, 2013

89

US Airways Center
Marcin Gortat
11 PTS, 14 REB
Jrue Holiday
11 PTS, 10 AST, 10 REB
GAME PHOTOS BOX SCORE & STATS COACH/PLAYER QUOTES
5
Five Suns scored in double-figures against the 76ers.

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Suns Defeat 76ers

By: Stefan Swiat, Suns.com

A new year calls for a new beginning.

And the Suns started off 2013 on the right foot, outlasting the visiting Sixers in a 95-89 victory.

In an attempt to find the most consistent rotation, Suns head coach Alvin Gentry has continued to tinker with his starting lineup. In order to bring more defensive intensity to the starting lineup and more scoring punch off the bench, P.J. Tucker started the contest, while Shannon Brown returned to a reserve role.

On Wednesday - for one game - the adjustment seemed to work.

In the first and third periods, with the first unit playing the majority of the minutes, the Suns outscored the Sixers 58-41.

Although the second unit wasn’t quite as consistent, they played well enough to maintain the advantage, help snap the Suns’ six-game losing streak, as well as a four-game losing streak to Philadelphia.

“We’ve been up and down this season,” Suns point guard Goran Dragic said. “But (tonight) everybody got the ball and made their shots. When you’re playing together, it’s much easier.”

Plagued by falling short in close games, Phoenix remained cool down the stretch tonight. Up six with 1:16 left, the Suns’ defense caused the Sixers to commit a five-second violation, thus turning over the ball.

Two possessions later, Phoenix was able to put the nail in the coffin with a baseline jumper from Dragic. More importantly, it hopefully will be something the club can build on moving forward.

The Suns' offense was carried by Suns power forward Luis Scola and Dragic. Despite being 1-for-6 at the half, Scola racked up a team-high 21 points and nine assists, scoring 20 or more points for the third-straight game.

Not only is that his longest streak as a Sun, but the first time he’s accomplished that feat since February 1, 2011.

“I feel like I’m in a better rhythm," Scola said. "I’m playing with more confidence and I know my teammates better. It took me a little time, but I’m happy with the way things are going now."

Dragic posted 20 points and six assists, while center Marcin Gortat totaled 11 points and 14 rebounds. Brown gave the Suns a nice lift off the bench by adding 12 points, while Tucker chipped in 10 as a starter.

It was a nice win for the Suns, who withstood a triple-double from Sixers point guard Jrue Holliday (16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists). However, Holliday was limited to 6-of-16 shooting and was forced into committing six turnovers.

“You know he torched us up there the first time we played and I thought that we did a good job controlling him and making him shoot contested shots,” Gentry said. “The guy ends up with a triple-double and you say we did a good job on him. I think that is just the testament to the quality of the player that he is.”

The Suns improved to 5-2 in their last seven home games.

Not in Kansas
With the Fiesta Bowl being played tomorrow between Oregon and Kansas St. in Glendale, many of the Kansas St. faithful turned out to check out the Suns take on the Sixers. During the first half, a “Michael Beasley” chant was heard echoing from the rafters in support of their former Wildcat.

The fans received their wish, with Beasley entering the game to a nice ovation. However, the same warm welcome wasn’t received by former Kansas Jayhawk star Markieff Morris, who was booed upon entry into the game.

Things didn’t improve for Morris, who despite hitting 3-of-5 to start the game, was booed after all three of his makes by the fans of the intra-state rival.

“I told Markieff that Big 12 stuff runs deep,” Gentry said. “I think it is the first time he has ever been booed at home when he has checked into a game. But there was a lot of purple K-State sweatshirts out there.”

JD Eats Up the Competition

In December of 2012, Jared Dudley had his most productive month of his career. The Suns swingman averaged a career-high 15.5 points for the month, while shooting lights out along the way.

In fact, only two other guards (the Spurs’ Tony Parker and the Heat’s Dwyane Wade) shot better from the floor in December. Dudley, who shot 53 percent from the field in December, shot a league-high 62 percent from inside the arc to boot.

"Shooting is all about confidence and I'm feeling real good right now," Dudley said. "I work hard in the offseason and it pays off, but I'm feeling comfortable with all the new guys now."

That could be it, or maybe it’s what he’s eating.

The Arizona Republic just wrote an in-depth piece on where the 6-7, 225-pound small forward enjoys to grub.

Click here to read about his favorite spots.

Suns Fantasy Challenge
Do you think you know the Suns? Then prove it!

Suns.com has unveiled its new Suns Fantasy Challenge on its Fan Hub. You can compete against all fans or set up private groups to just compete against friends and family.

Head to http://suns.com/fantasy to join now!

Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.

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