Suns Improve to 9-5 By Feeding on The East

Phoenix Suns

It’s fair to say that this past week has been a satisfying one for Suns fans.

The road trip out east has seen Phoenix win four straight games with impressive performances again from the bench, especially in the blowout wins over the hopeless 76ers and injury hit Pacers. Tight games earlier in the week against Boston and Detroit were hard fought though; coming down to the final possessions in both, and the Suns did well to close them out for the respective victories.

Phoenix’s record now stands at 9-5, good enough to sit 7th in the Western Conference, but teams such as the surprising Kings, Clippers and Pelicans are hot on their heels. It’s too early in the season to say if the Suns can maintain this level but considering that they are in this position with Bledsoe and Dragic still not firing on all cylinders, it is encouraging that they do have an extra level to go to once both players find their form.

@Boston

Monday saw Phoenix begin the road trip in Boston, and both team’s fast break plays and free scoring made this game really enjoyable to watch. They twice racked up double digit leads only for the Celtics to claw their way back each time with the game coming down to the final few plays.

The Suns escaped with a 118-114 win, Bledsoe coming up with a steal in the final minute for a breakaway score, then Alex Len wrapping it up with two free throws. Markieff Morris had a career high of 30pts, shooting the ball well all night. Len had a solid game, also scoring a career high with 19pts and 7 rebounds.

@Detroit

The Suns visited Detroit Wednesday to play the Pistons, which ended up being a tight game, but Phoenix scrapped just enough to come away with the win, 88-86.

Eric Bledsoe looked more like the player that started last season so well, scoring 18pts, bagging 6 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. The game went back and forth like two boxers, but Phoenix landed the knockout blow when Markieff Morris blocked the shot attempt by Brandon Jennings. Bledsoe then converted one of two free throws.

Caldwell Pope had a chance to win it with a three at the buzzer but missed, prompting a remark postgame from Markieff Morris that Pope ‘lacks heart’. (Should be noted that both players received technical fouls for going at each other during the game).

@Philadelphia

Ahead of the game against the winless 76ers, I had tweeted that I didn’t want Phoenix to be THAT team that the Philly side break their streak against.

After staying up to watch the game, I can say that (aside from the first) there was never any danger of that happening. This Philadelphia roster is pretty dreadful, and as a team they are even worse.

Once the Suns got in front in the second quarter they ran right over the diabolical Sixers, ending in a 122-96 win. Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas killed them when they came off the bench, scoring 28 points in the first half alone, going a combined 10-10 from the field.

It also allowed Anthony Tolliver, Archie Goodwin and rookie TJ Warren some minutes to show what they can do, as the Suns went up by as much as 34 points at one stage.

@Indiana

The last Suns game of this week saw them take on the Pacers in Indiana. Again, I stayed up to watch this one (god bless League Pass) and saw Phoenix rout the Pacers 106-83.

Again, Gerald Green came off the bench to light up the game. He scored 18 first half points, finishing with 23 in total. His bench partner in crime, Thomas, finished with 16 and these two really have become one of the most productive reserve units in the NBA.

Bledsoe had a poor shooting night, going 2-10 from the field. His erratic performances, and the slow start to the season by Dragic (generally Goran’s play has been decent) are becoming quite frustrating. Nothing went right for the Pacers, and the sooner they get some guys out of the treatment room (bar PG’s season-long injury) the better, as they really lack any depth.

Positives

Alex Len…

His production has really come on in the past fortnight, and has outshone Miles Plumlee in many of the games so far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Len’s minutes increase, or even winning the starting center position if he can keep it going.

Along with his ability to block and force attackers to change their shots, he has a sweet shooting stroke around the basket to compliment his improving post game. It was interesting to see him up against Noel in the 76ers game, and Len looked the better player.

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

I had written earlier in the week over on the Double Clutch Podcast website after the Boston game that the Suns needed to search for consistency to maintain their chances of contending for a playoff spot. This week they have answered my question, but I am wary that these games are against the average to awful Eastern Conference teams, so I am keeping my feet on the ground, for now.

Negatives

After a week of wins and no losses, it would be wrong of me to moan. But I’m going to anyway.

Watching Dragic and Bledsoe STILL not at 100% of what they can do is SO frustrating. Yes, they will nail it down, but I am getting impatient. On second thoughts, I’d rather be winning with them playing average, than losing and having them playing fantastic.

Player of the week

Markieff Morris

This week the winner is Markieff Morris. His career high thirty against Boston, big block against the Pistons in the final minutes and overall play gets him the nod.

The past four games he has averaged 19 points per game, showed a reliable jumpshot and also postmove scoring. Keef has also stepped back to shoot the three, so he is filling the Frye void with better scoring production, although he doesn’t quite have the spacing capability to give the team that offensive flow that they had with Channing last season.

Games Ahead This Week

Monday 24th @ Raptors
Wednesday 26th vs Nuggets
Friday 28th @ Nuggets

Want more NBA news and articles? Follow us on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.