Eric Bledsoe stole the ball from Jrue Holiday seconds after the Pelicans controlled the tip and darted down the court for an easy layup. Things didn't get much better for Holiday, as he picked up two fouls in just 2:09 and shuffled off to the bench for some much needed contemplation time. The other four Pelicans shared the scoring load in his absence, though, and an early 11-2 run put New Orleans in early control of the game. The Suns seemed overmatched inside in the early going by as they struggled to match the physicality of their opponent. In the midst of this Eric Gordon entered "Pelican mode", scoring nine points over a four minute stretch that saw the NO lead stretch to 24-11. Ball control continued to be an issue for the Suns as they committed seven turnovers in the opening period. Bledsoe, responsible for two of those giveaways, also led the Suns in scoring (6), assists (2) and steals (2). The rest of the Suns combined for basically nothing. Even the defensive effort from the first two games seemed lacking as the Pelicans ran their offense without much opposition. Score: NO 28, Suns 17
The Suns stopped the bleeding with a 7-2 run to start the second quarter. Anthony Davis got in the mix with six points in just over a minute around the midway point to help his team maintain some separation, but it was three balls by the Suns that ultimately helped them whittle down the gap. Four of them by four different players helped offset an offense that was anemic through much of the first half. Phoenix pulled within four on a bucket by Miles Plumlee with 1:47 left in the half, but failed to capitalize on their last three possessions (including a pair of missed free throws by Plumlee) and couldn't get any closer against a NO team that went scoreless over the final 3:35. The Suns recovered from a lackluster start on the defensive end and limited the Pelicans to just 17 points in the quarter. Score: NO 45, Suns 41
I made the mistake of blinking at the start of the third quarter and the Suns were back down by double digits. Just when things were beginning to deteriorate, though, Gerald Green had a great come-from-behind effort block as Gordon got sloppy with the ball and went up disinterestedly for a layup. Channing Frye scored on the other end to pull the Suns back within eight. Green continued to be the catalyst for a Phoenix resurgence as he proceeded to drain two more threes (giving him a total of five on the night) to incite a run that avalanched into a 28-9 end to the quarter. Green's block really appeared to be the turning point here. At one point the Suns actually connected on 12 of their last 13 shots. The sweltering Suns hit seven threes in the quarter as they dropped 37 against the stunned Pelicans. Score: Suns 78, NO 69
The fourth quarter started off like a track meet with the Pelicans trying to gain traction after the Suns flurry. Markieff Morris scored the Suns first six points as they maintained a narrow cushion for the first half of the period. The Pelicans closed to within two on a three pointer by Anthony Morrow with 5:26 left, but on their ensuing possession P.J. Tucker came up with a steal that resulted in a fast break layup by Bledsoe. Marcus Morris made two free throws to push the lead to six and NO never got back withing five points the rest of the game. In the final minutes Bledsoe continued to display his late game heroics by knifing through the opposing defense for two layups that sealed the victory.
Final score: Suns 104, NO 98
Player of the Game:
Gerald Green. Green went 6-10 from three point range, and hit four in the game changing third quarter, to finish with 18 points. The defining moment in the game, though, was a block by Green, who had three total, that I felt led to the Suns cataract of third quarter points. After a turnover by the Suns at the 7:48 point, Eric Gordon fumbled the ball as he led a breakaway opportunity. In addition to this he went up lackadaisically for a layup after recovering his handle. Green didn't quit on the play and came from behind for a great hustle block (think Lebron James). That bucket would have pushed the Pelicans lead to 12, but instead the Suns cut the deficit to eight on the other end. Moments later the blitzkrieg ensued.
Comments of the Game:
****ing Pelicans with their poultry-geist mascot
I would trade the Morrii and Ish...
...for Pierre the Pelican.
You know what's funny about college basketball nowadays (cue old man voice)...
Anthony Davisis 20. Archie Goodwin is 19. They both went to Kentucky. They never played a second together.
If one of you don't name your kid Archie
I'm going to be severely chuffed.
Every time Morris touches the ball I remember that
We could have selected Kawhi Leonard... Ugh
I'd trade this entire roster for Anthony Davis
And roll with a lineup of Davis and the Gorilla.
It feels like we should be down by 20, but we're hanging in there.
Gerald Green is just comically hot right now
The Morri: Usual tedious ugliness for the first half.
Then solid rotation player work, to be hailed as heroes.
It might not happen a lot, so let's enjoy it!
- It seems to be happening a lot so far.
Three Point Shooting. 12-25 is flat out getting the job done. That stretch of six straight made over 5:30 during the third quarter explosion was pivotal in deciding the game's outcome. I thought this team was supposed to struggle from outside?
The Morrii. Over a period of eight minutes and 26 seconds (bridging the third and fourth quarters) the Morrii scored 19 of the Suns 25 points. During this period the Suns went from down 63-60 to ahead 85-79. Marcus and Markieff put the team on their shoulders. Try to wrap your brain around that. Markieff finished with 17 points and Marcus went for 16 points and nine rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe continues to impress. 25 points on 10-12 shooting. Five assists, four rebounds and three steals. He is also becoming the Suns very own version of Mr. Clutch. He broke down the Pelicans defense, and made it look pathetically easy, on consecutive possessions at the end to seal the deal. Dude is becoming a bona fide closer.
The first quarter did not bode well for what turned out to be a solid Suns effort. Ball control (seven turnovers) was still an issue. Shots weren't falling. The Suns were getting pushed around inside by the more assertive and physical Pelicans. The defense was more timid than tenacious. But no worries. The Suns shook it off.
Pierre the Pelican will haunt my dreams until the day I die. I'm literally terrified to fall asleep tonight.
The Suns are 3-1 and all is right in the world.