PHOENIX — For a team with playoff aspirations in the Western Conference, you’d expect them to take care of business at home. That’s exactly what the Phoenix Suns did, as they defeated the hapless (at least for three quarters) Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 105-95. The win has extended the Suns streak to five in a row.
Goran Dragic got things going early for the Suns (29-18), scoring 15 of his 25 points in the first quarter, as the Suns took a 32-27 lead. Dragic would also add five rebounds and four assists. One of the nice parts of having Ish Smith playing so well is that Dragic hasn’t had to play big minutes as of late. He’s played 32, 23, 34 and 27 minutes over his last four games.
The second quarter was all Suns, as they opened up a 59-41 halftime lead on the strength of 55 percent shooting and a dominant paint presence. They outrebounded the Bobcats 28-15 and held a 28-10 edge in points in the paint. The Suns also did a terrific job of clearing the defensive glass, allowing no offensive rebounds in the first half.
The third quarter was more of the same, as the Suns shot 60 percent in the frame, extending their lead to 27 points. P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye and Dragic all scored six points as the Suns forced the Bobcats into numerous bad shots, resulting in a 40 percent success rate.
Although Phoenix found themselves coasting in the fourth quarter, they tightened up when they needed to and got Dragic that much needed rest. It got sloppy and ugly, but in the end, the Suns came out with a win they were supposed to have.
The paint battle between Miles Plumlee and Al Jefferson never materialized, after the two traded baskets early in the game. Plumlee ended with six points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Jefferson had 10 points and six rebounds on 4-of-15 shooting for the Bobcats (21-28).
The Bobcats had seven different players in double figures, with Anthony Tolliver leading the club with 14 off the bench.
- The Suns held the Bobcats to just 4-for-20 shooting from the field in the second quarter, where they scored just 14 points.
- All of Marcus Morris‘ 15 points came in the first half.
- The Suns five-game winning streak ties a season high, set previously from Dec. 4-15.
As usual, Goran Dragic was the major key to the game. He was able to get out to a hot start, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and getting any shot he wanted. He continues to draw so much attention that it makes everyone else’s job that much easier. Despite the fact the Suns are last in the league in assists, their offense is successful because of Dragic and the attention he draws as opposed to his passing abilities.
Blowing a team out from start to finish is extremely hard to do. Keeping that kind of energy up for four quarters isn’t something most teams can do and the Suns showed that tonight. There were never any real concerns about the Bobcats getting close enough to make it a game, but the final margin of 10 points is right on that boundary. The Suns bench played with such energy and fire throughout the game, but needed to bottle some of that energy to finish.
The Phoenix Suns will host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, February 4th from US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.