PHOENIX — Goran Dragic set a career high with 35 points, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Phoenix Suns to victory. The 115-112 loss to the Houston Rockets wasn’t without it’s share of bright spots, as the Suns battled back from an 18-point deficit in the first half. In the end, the Rockets executed and the Suns fumbled it away.
Dragic added three assists and three steals to his 35 points, but it was his timeliness that was just as important as anything. When the Suns found themselves down 18, they had to dig deep to battle back. Turnovers started leading to transition baskets and when the Suns got in the half court and needed buckets, it was Dragic who came to the rescue. If this sounds like a broken record, then you’ve been watching a lot of Suns basketball this year.
Gerald Green added 23 points, four rebounds and two steals, including a 30-footer at the third quarter buzzer that gave the Suns a 10-point lead heading into the fourth. As has been the case all year, when Green got going, the rest of the team responded with more energy and hustle. He may not be considered the team leader, but he’s definitely their sparkplug.
Markieff Morris added 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block off the bench, adding to his Sixth Man of the Year resume. Ish Smith came off of the best game of his career and had a very quiet two points with four assists. Channing Frye hit two big 3-pointers, but they were the only shots of his 11 attempts that went in.
Houston was led by Dwight Howard‘s 25 points, James Harden‘s 23 and Patrick Beverley‘s 20. Beverley’s big 3-pointer with under a minute remaining in the game gave the Rockets a one-point lead with 35 seconds to go. He then iced the game with two free-throws after a miss by Green.
Suns by the Numbers
- Phoenix went on a 15-0 run in the second quarter to pull the game back within reach.
- Goran Dragic scored 19 in the second quarter alone.
- Gerald Green scored 18 in the third quarter.
Goran Dragic provides so much more than his scoring. As I mentioned earlier, his timeliness and his instincts have been terrific this season. He seems to sense when the team needs him most and he reacts accordingly. It’s rare for him to go without a rebound, but having him go on these scoring binges is one big reason most of us in Phoenix believe he was the biggest All-Star snub.
The Suns inside presence was very poor again, as they allowed easy baskets consistently throughout the game. When they’re shooting jump shots and their opponents are shooting layups, it’s not going to end well. The same happened tonight, as the Suns went on their patented run, but when the jumpers went cold, they lost their lead.
The Suns will host Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, February 25, from US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.