Yesterday I wrote about the Phoenix Suns and their uniqueness when compared to other teams in the NBA. They are a young bunch with a new head coach in Jeff Hornacek. Phoenix really gets out on the fast break, leading the league in that category offensively.
Wednesday night, the Suns proved my remarks to the Indiana Pacers – in dominant fashion.
Credit to Phoenix – they had a game plan and stuck to it. That game plan, drawn up by Hornacek, was so good it resulted in a 124-100 victory over the best team in the NBA. Let’s be honest: this game was never close.
ESPN analyst and Hall-of-Famer Hubie Brown continued to point out in the third quarter, while the Suns continued to build their lead, that Phoenix was to be careful if Indiana managed to get their deficit to twelve-ish points or less. Brown stated the Pacers are the best in the league for a reason and would have a good chance to win against a young Suns team.
Not the case Wednesday night.
The Pacers did, in fact, close the game from 20+ points down to 13 at one time. It was all for not as the Suns exploded out of the gates in the fourth quarter and began to put on a show.
Phoenix put Indiana’s flaws on full display at US Airways center. Goran Dragic, Leandro Barbosa and Gerald Green flawlessly drew Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert away from the basket. This allowed easy opportunities for others off the pick-and-roll to score. Suns’ center Miles Plumlee dunked easily, Dragic was working his floater and Green couldn’t miss.
It was one of those nights for Indiana. A lack of defensive communication and inability to close out the three-point line led to a blowout defeat and the Pacers’ eighth loss of the season.
Phoenix shot 54% from the field for the game, including a blistering 11-16 (68.8%) from beyond the three-point arc. Compare that with Indiana’s season averages of 41.2% field goals and 32.9% 3FG.
Former Pacers Green and Plumlee combined for 34 points (11-21 FG), 13 rebounds and zero turnovers. Indiana had no answer for Green, Dragic or Markieff Morris, all whom scored 20+ points Wednesday night.