INDIANAPOLIS — After finding out he didn’t make the All-Star reserves (as of yet), Goran Dragic led the Phoenix Suns to an impressive 102-94 win over the East’s best Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. Dragic scored 28 points with seven assists, despite having to wear a protective sleeve over his shooting elbow.
The Suns (28-18) expected to get a fired up Pacers squad looking for revenge, but instead they got a lethargic squad that looked like they were playing their fourth road game in a row. The Suns jumped out to a 36-19 lead after the first quarter on the back of Dragic and Gerald Green after having trailed by two early in the game.
Dragic scored 21 of his 28 in the first half, as the Suns led 14-0 in fastbreak points at the half. The second half, more specifically the third quarter, would be a much different story.
The Suns went cold in the third quarter, getting outscored 25-11 while shooting just 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) from the field. Neither Dragic nor Green was productive in the quarter and nobody could stop Roy Hibbert, who was a perfect 4-for-4 in the third. Hibbert would finish with 26 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the game.
The fourth quarter was tight for most of the frame, before the Suns pulled away for good. A combination of timely stops and an excellent timeout play that led to a Markieff Morris 3-pointer were the major differences.
The Pacers (35-10) had a snub of their own, with Lance Stephenson not being chosen to the All-Star reserves. He took it out on the Suns, with his fourth triple-double of the season. Stephenson scored 12 points with 12 rebounds and four assists. The Pacers bench added just seven points.
- The Suns had 21 fastbreak points to the Pacers’ zero.
- The Suns bench outscored the Pacers bench 40-7.
- Phoenix is now 22-9 when ahead at the half and 25-4 when leading after three quarters.
Goran Dragic just continues to plug along, regardless of what is happening around him. All-Star snub? Who cares. Injured elbow? Doesn’t matter. Guarded by Paul George? That’s fine. The Dragon did his thing, leading the Phoenix Suns to victory when nobody in their right mind thought they would against the Pacers, who had lost just one game at home all season.
We’re going to give this one to the centers, as Miles Plumlee and Alex Len had a horrible time with Roy Hibbert. They combined to shoot 2-for-12 for four points, with 11 rebounds, no assists, two steals and a block. They combined for seven fouls in 33:28.
The four-game road trip is over, as the Suns will next face the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday, February 1st from US Airways Center in Phoenix.