Team Effort Ignites Suns Over Pelicans
Sometimes, effort, energy and a collective belief in one another is all you need.
Well, that and 50 percent shooting from the floor and 48 percent from beyond the arc.
Now at 3-1 on the season, this Suns team is starting to believe that if they keep working hard to improve on a daily basis while continuing to play as a team, anything can happen.
Case in point: In the Suns’ 104-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, Phoenix scored 28 points in the last 6:23 of the third quarter to enter the fourth quarter ahead 78-69 after trailing 60-50. The energy was infectious, and each player seemed to get more and more excited as multiple players kept the points pouring in.
In fact, there was a stretch during that period where the Suns hit 12-of-13 shots and six 3-pointers in a row.
“When you got a hot guy, good teammates will find you,” Jeff Hornacek said after the game about the Suns’ blistering third quarter. “I thought we did a nice job of penetrating, kicking out and getting easy shots. Guys were knocking them down.
“A lot of credit goes to the bench tonight; they played awesome.”
Indeed, the Suns’ bench really stepped up tonight to help alleviate the absence of Goran Dragic (ankle) and Alex Len (ankle). Gerald Green continued his hot shooting by drilling a career-high six 3-pointers to finish with 18 points. The Morris brothers combined for 33 points and 14 rebounds while Ish Smith finished with a team-high eight assists in just 16 minutes of action.
"The only difference was that I was going to have a tougher defensive assignment,” Gerald Green said to Suns TV about preparing for tonight’s game. “Eric Gordon got hot early on, and I got mad. I knew that if I played harder on the defensive end my offense would come.
“And that's what happened."
Still, Eric Bledsoe seemed to be the glue that held everything together. Bledsoe finished with another phenomenal stat line of 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Perhaps more significant, Bledsoe split numerous double-teams, created points off of turnovers and helped force Jrue Holiday into just 1-of-7 shooting for just three points on the night.
“He’s got that strength and explosiveness,” Hornacek said about Bledsoe. “You see him get trapped and all of a sudden he gets to the hole in a matter of seconds. He handled the pick-and-roll really well tonight.
“When we have Eric [Bledsoe] playing like that and the other guys like Miles [Plumlee] and P.J. [Tucker] doing the dirty work, it really helps the team.”