Another late lead thrown away. Another road game lost. The Phoenix Suns fell to the Indiana Pacers 97-91 on Friday night in a game they should have won. This season has been marked by long streaks,...

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20121228_jrc_ss1_016

The first unit offense came out in sync and executed well to start the game with Sebastian Telfair taking over for the Injured Goran Dragic without a hitch. Indiana quickly called a timeout with the Suns up 12-7 and then came re-energized taking advantage of sloppy play by Shannon Brown causing two quick turnovers that led to easy points at the other end of the floor, to take the lead 14-12 in just over a minute.

Gentry followed suit calling a timeout of his own and the Suns tried to regain their composure but could never quite regain the lead in the first quarter as the Pacers led 27-20 at the end of one. The Suns poor offense was exacerbated by Dudley getting two quick fouls and going to the bench after only eight minutes of play.

The Suns' second unit started the second quarter with Kendall Marshall backing up Telfair at the point. Tyler Hansbrough continued to lead the attack with hustle and scoring inside while Gerald Green showed he is more than just a dunker as he hit back to back threes. The Suns went on a mini run and the Pacers went back to their starting unit to make a run of their own to eventually extend the lead 58-44 at the end of the first half.

Jared Dudley didn't score until the second quarter and had only four points at the half. Likewise, Telfair had only six points on 2-6 shooting to go along with his three assists. The Suns couldn't find the go-to guy they so desperately needed in the first half, and their defense was also sorely lacking with poor rotations that left shooters open on the perimeter, allowing them to knock down 70% of their three point attempts.

Marcin Gortat came out strong to start the second half along with Jared Dudley who made some nice passes and a steal to cut the lead to 8 halfway through the third quarter. Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown also came out more aggressive providing the Suns with additional scoring threats on the outside. The Suns and Pacers battled back and forth with the Suns showing more energy and improved defense in the third quarter, and Phoenix was eventually able to cut the lead down to four at the end of the third quarter 75-71. The Suns held the Pacers to just 6 of 21 shooting in the 3rd quarter, thanks to much improved defense and hustle than they showed in the first half.

The Suns started the fourth quarter with a hybrid starter/bench unit of Sebastian Telfair, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, and Jermaine O'Neal. Morris and Tucker came in for Scola and Dudley after about five minutes, but head coach Alvin Gentry likely didn't trust going back to a full on second unit headed by Kendall Marshall after fighting back to get the game within reach, so he chose to rest only a couple players at a time.

The Suns got within just two points of the Pacers on two consecutive possessions but Beasley missed on both trips. Finally, Telfair was able to poke the ball free and tie up the game on a fast break for the first time since the first quarter at 81-81 with just over six minutes to go in the game. Jermaine O'Neal was then sent to the line and gave the Suns their first lead since the first quarter, but the Pacers answered back with a couple of free throws on the next possession to tie the game once again.

The Suns gave it their best effort in the fourth, but ultimately it just wasn't enough. Once again, the Suns fell behind early and battled back in the second half to retake the lead, but ultimately fell short as the Pacers hung on to win in the end 97-91.

The Pacers got to the line early and often and were able to convert 17-23 from the charity stripe and also shot 50% from beyond the arc. The Pacers' best player tonight was George Hill who scored 22 points on 9-13 shooting from the field. Sebastian Telfair played a solid game for the Suns scoring 19 points on 8-20 shooting and dishing out 6 assists in over 40 minutes of play. Marcin Gortat also did his part with a double-double of 15 points,10 rebounds while holding Hibbert to only 8 points, though Hibbert did win the battle of the boards getting 14 rebounds in all.

Next game is tomorrow night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves. Hang in there Suns fans.

20121226_mjr_su5_125

The Phoenix Suns will take on the Indiana Pacers on the road tonight in an attempt to get themselves back on track. Will the Suns have what it takes to snap their three-game losing streak and pull out a win against an Eastern Conference playoff hopeful?

Tonight, the 11-18 Phoenix Suns will take on the 16-12 Indiana Pacers in their first of a three-game road trip. The Suns are coming off a heart-breaking loss at home against the New York Knicks (minus Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, and Amare Stoudemire), thanks to a last-second catch-and-shoot from J.R. Smith who somehow made the heavily contested, falling-to-the-side jumper to end a valiant come-back effort from Phoenix.

To make matters worse, the Suns will likely be without starting point guard Goran Dragic who suffered a bruised wrist, forearm, and hip after crashing to the floor on a fast break attempt against the Knicks. However, the Pacers are also dealing with the loss of one of their best players as well; Danny Granger is still sidelined from a knee injury that has had him dressing in suits for the last month and a half.

The good news for the Suns is that they seem to have found their identity as a team who never gives up and takes pride in their newly discovered defense. Not only that, but they seem to have found a good fit for their starting line-up finally, with a nice mix of athleticism, scoring ability, and veteran savvy in their starting five. But can the Suns find a way to get a much needed win on the road without their starting point guard?

When: Tonight, 5pm MST/7pm EST

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Watch: Fox Sports Arizona (locally), NBA League Pass

The History:

  • This will be the 75th meeting between the two teams with the Suns holding a 43-32 advantage.
  • The Suns have won four-straight games against the Pacers.
  • Phoenix is 6-7 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, winning six of their last seven meetings.
  • LAST MEETING: In Indiana March 23, 2012, Suns won 113-111

Probable Starters:

Sebastian Telfair vs. Lance Stephenson

Shannon Brown vs. George Hill

Jared Dudley vs. Paul George

Luis Scola vs. David West

Marcin Gortat vs. Roy Hibbert

UPDATE: Goran officially out

Guard @goran_dragic is officially out for tonight's game at Indiana and is listed as questionable for Saturday's game at Minnesota.

— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 28, 2012

By The Numbers:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Goran Dragic 28 31.9 5.0 11.2 44.7 1.4 4.1 35.1 2.7 3.7 73.1 0.7 2.1 2.8 6.2 2.2 1.6 0.2 2.6 14.1
Shannon Brown 29 27.7 4.9 11.7 41.5 1.1 3.6 30.8 2.1 2.5 84.7 0.5 2.1 2.6 2.2 1.5 1.0 0.2 1.7 12.9
Jared Dudley 29 29.0 4.3 8.6 50.0 1.6 3.8 41.3 1.7 2.1 80.3 1.0 1.9 2.9 2.5 1.1 1.1 0.1 1.6 11.8
Luis Scola 29 25.8 5.0 10.7 46.8 0.0 0.3 12.5 1.7 2.1 81.7 2.0 4.2 6.2 2.0 1.3 0.9 0.4 2.9 11.7
Marcin Gortat 29 31.2 4.9 9.2 53.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.5 2.2 68.8 2.1 6.4 8.5 1.2 1.5 0.7 2.0 2.0 11.2
Michael Beasley 28 24.4 4.1 10.9 37.8 0.8 2.5 32.4 1.4 2.0 72.7 0.9 2.8 3.7 2.3 2.2 0.4 0.7 1.8 10.5
Markieff Morris 29 21.8 3.5 8.3 42.1 0.6 1.6 35.6 0.9 1.2 71.4 1.7 3.0 4.7 1.3 0.9 0.9 0.6 2.3 8.4
Jermaine O`Neal 22 16.8 2.9 5.5 51.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 1.9 75.6 1.1 3.3 4.5 0.6 0.9 0.4 1.5 2.0 7.1
Sebastian Telfair 28 18.4 2.1 5.6 37.6 0.9 2.3 38.1 1.0 1.3 73.0 0.3 1.3 1.6 2.7 1.2 0.8 0.2 2.1 6.0
P.J. Tucker 27 17.4 1.9 3.7 52.0 0.1 0.4 40.0 0.7 1.1 62.1 1.1 2.0 3.2 1.0 0.6 0.5 0.3 1.6 4.7
Wesley Johnson 12 5.8 0.9 2.8 33.3 0.3 1.2 28.6 0.2 0.3 66.7 0.1 0.7 0.8 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.5 2.3
Luke Zeller 9 3.7 0.7 1.8 37.5 0.1 0.3 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.4
Kendall Marshall 7 5.4 0.4 1.6 27.3 0.1 0.7 20.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.4 1.0
Diante Garrett 6 5.0 0.3 0.8 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.2 0.7 0.3 0.0 0.2 0.8



FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
David West 28 33.9 7.3 14.6 49.6 0.0 0.2 0.0 2.9 4.1 70.4 2.2 5.9 8.1 2.7 1.8 0.6 1.0 1.9 17.4
Paul George 28 35.9 6.1 14.2 42.7 2.0 5.3 38.5 2.1 2.6 81.1 0.9 6.2 7.1 3.6 2.6 1.5 0.9 2.9 16.3
George Hill 28 35.5 5.2 12.7 40.8 1.7 4.8 35.3 3.0 3.5 85.6 0.6 3.9 4.5 5.3 1.8 1.0 0.5 1.8 15.0
Roy Hibbert 28 28.6 4.2 10.4 40.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 2.2 64.5 3.8 4.4 8.2 1.5 2.0 0.7 2.9 3.5 9.9
Gerald Green 27 22.0 2.7 7.1 38.7 1.1 3.1 36.5 1.1 1.4 78.9 0.7 2.3 3.0 0.6 1.3 0.1 0.4 1.3 7.7
Lance Stephenson 26 26.1 3.0 6.1 50.0 0.7 2.0 37.3 0.5 0.7 68.4 0.3 2.6 2.9 2.6 1.1 0.8 0.0 1.8 7.3
Tyler Hansbrough 28 16.3 1.7 4.1 41.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.5 3.5 72.4 1.5 2.6 4.1 0.3 0.9 0.3 0.2 1.8 6.0
Ian Mahinmi 28 16.0 1.7 4.0 42.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 2.5 62.9 1.4 2.3 3.7 0.3 1.3 0.4 0.9 2.5 5.0
Sam Young 26 16.6 1.5 4.0 38.8 0.5 1.7 29.5 0.3 0.8 40.0 0.6 2.4 3.0 0.9 0.8 0.3 0.2 1.3 3.9
D.J. Augustin 23 12.7 1.0 3.7 27.9 0.5 2.2 22.0 0.7 1.0 70.8 0.1 0.8 0.9 2.3 0.9 0.6 0.0 0.7 3.3
Jeff Pendergraph 7 4.0 0.9 1.7 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.7 80.0 0.4 1.1 1.6 0.3 0.6 0.0 0.3 0.6 2.3
Ben Hansbrough 10 8.4 0.4 1.4 28.6 0.1 0.8 12.5 0.8 1.0 80.0 0.1 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 0.5 0.1 1.0 1.7
Miles Plumlee 6 3.5 0.3 1.5 22.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.8 0.5 1.3 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.5 1.0
Orlando Johnson 3 2.7 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0


Keys to a Suns Victory:

Short Memory:

The Suns can't get hung up on what happened against the Knicks on Wednesday night, they need to put that game behind them and start over fresh and ready to compete against a pretty good and underrated Pacers team. The Suns need to come out strong and ready to play for 48 minutes...They can't afford to let themselves fall behind early against a good team in hostile territory.

Point Guards:

If the Suns are indeed without Dragic tonight, which head coach Alvin Gentry hinted at yesterday, then the Suns will need some stellar play from Sebastian Telfair to lead the starting unit. Not only that, but the Suns will need Kendall Marshall to step up and lead the second unit in what will likely be the first substantial minutes of his NBA career.

Superstar?

Jared Dudley had the game of his life against the Knicks on Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 36 points in the loss. Although the Suns don't have a superstar on the team by any stretch of the imagination, they will need someone to step up tonight and once again provide that kind of scoring, whether it be Dudley again or someone else.

Hibbert vs. Gortat:

Marcin Gortat has been on an upswing of sorts after a few weeks of very mediocre play. The Polish Machine has once again re-emerged as a legitimate threat down low on both sides of the court, and the Suns will need his best tonight against the 7'1" Roy Hibbert. In their last meeting (which the Suns won), Gortat got the best of this match-up with a 23 point, 8 rebound performance, compared to Hibbert's 19 points and 7 rebounds. If Gortat can manage to control the glass and outscore Hibbert down low, the Suns should be in great shape.

The Bottom Line:

Although the Suns have lost the last three games, they have never lost their competitive edge and can be a very dangerous team to play against. The Suns aren't a very talented team, but they certainly have a great deal of heart and fight in them, and could still win this game even without Dragic at the helm.

However, in order to do so they will need a total team effort on both ends of the floor. Plus, they will need someone to step up tonight and provide that additional spark for the team. The Suns must also limit their mental lapses and mistakes and capitalize on those of the Pacers. Tonight will be a true test of this team's character and resolve while playing without Dragic, and it certainly won't be easy...but I wouldn't count them out just yet.

20121222_kkt_af2_791

Tonight, the 11-18 Phoenix Suns will take on the 16-12 Indiana Pacers in their first of a three-game road trip. The Suns are coming off a heart-breaking loss at home against the New York Knicks (minus Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, and Amare Stoudemire), thanks to a last-second catch-and-shoot from J.R. Smith who somehow made the heavily contested, falling-to-the-side jumper to end a valiant come-back effort from Phoenix.

To make matters worse, the Suns will likely be without starting point guard Goran Dragic who suffered a bruised wrist, forearm, and hip after crashing to the floor on a fast break attempt against the Knicks. However, the Pacers are also dealing with the loss of one of their best players as well; Danny Granger is still sidelined from a knee injury that has had him dressing in suits for the last month and a half.

The good news for the Suns is that they seem to have found their identity as a team who never gives up and takes pride in their newly discovered defense. Not only that, but they seem to have found a good fit for their starting line-up finally, with a nice mix of athleticism, scoring ability, and veteran savvy in their starting five. But can the Suns find a way to get a much needed win on the road without their starting point guard?

When: Tonight, 5pm MST/7pm EST

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Watch: Fox Sports Arizona (locally), NBA League Pass

The History:

  • This will be the 75th meeting between the two teams with the Suns holding a 43-32 advantage.
  • The Suns have won four-straight games against the Pacers.
  • Phoenix is 6-7 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, winning six of their last seven meetings.
  • LAST MEETING: In Indiana March 23, 2012, Suns won 113-111

Probable Starters:

Sebastian Telfair vs. Lance Stephenson

Shannon Brown vs. George Hill

Jared Dudley vs. Paul George

Luis Scola vs. David West

Marcin Gortat vs. Roy Hibbert

UPDATE: Goran officially out

Guard @goran_dragic is officially out for tonight's game at Indiana and is listed as questionable for Saturday's game at Minnesota.

— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 28, 2012

By The Numbers:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Goran Dragic 28 31.9 5.0 11.2 44.7 1.4 4.1 35.1 2.7 3.7 73.1 0.7 2.1 2.8 6.2 2.2 1.6 0.2 2.6 14.1
Shannon Brown 29 27.7 4.9 11.7 41.5 1.1 3.6 30.8 2.1 2.5 84.7 0.5 2.1 2.6 2.2 1.5 1.0 0.2 1.7 12.9
Jared Dudley 29 29.0 4.3 8.6 50.0 1.6 3.8 41.3 1.7 2.1 80.3 1.0 1.9 2.9 2.5 1.1 1.1 0.1 1.6 11.8
Luis Scola 29 25.8 5.0 10.7 46.8 0.0 0.3 12.5 1.7 2.1 81.7 2.0 4.2 6.2 2.0 1.3 0.9 0.4 2.9 11.7
Marcin Gortat 29 31.2 4.9 9.2 53.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.5 2.2 68.8 2.1 6.4 8.5 1.2 1.5 0.7 2.0 2.0 11.2
Michael Beasley 28 24.4 4.1 10.9 37.8 0.8 2.5 32.4 1.4 2.0 72.7 0.9 2.8 3.7 2.3 2.2 0.4 0.7 1.8 10.5
Markieff Morris 29 21.8 3.5 8.3 42.1 0.6 1.6 35.6 0.9 1.2 71.4 1.7 3.0 4.7 1.3 0.9 0.9 0.6 2.3 8.4
Jermaine O`Neal 22 16.8 2.9 5.5 51.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 1.9 75.6 1.1 3.3 4.5 0.6 0.9 0.4 1.5 2.0 7.1
Sebastian Telfair 28 18.4 2.1 5.6 37.6 0.9 2.3 38.1 1.0 1.3 73.0 0.3 1.3 1.6 2.7 1.2 0.8 0.2 2.1 6.0
P.J. Tucker 27 17.4 1.9 3.7 52.0 0.1 0.4 40.0 0.7 1.1 62.1 1.1 2.0 3.2 1.0 0.6 0.5 0.3 1.6 4.7
Wesley Johnson 12 5.8 0.9 2.8 33.3 0.3 1.2 28.6 0.2 0.3 66.7 0.1 0.7 0.8 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.5 2.3
Luke Zeller 9 3.7 0.7 1.8 37.5 0.1 0.3 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.4
Kendall Marshall 7 5.4 0.4 1.6 27.3 0.1 0.7 20.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.4 1.0
Diante Garrett 6 5.0 0.3 0.8 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.2 0.7 0.3 0.0 0.2 0.8



FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
David West 28 33.9 7.3 14.6 49.6 0.0 0.2 0.0 2.9 4.1 70.4 2.2 5.9 8.1 2.7 1.8 0.6 1.0 1.9 17.4
Paul George 28 35.9 6.1 14.2 42.7 2.0 5.3 38.5 2.1 2.6 81.1 0.9 6.2 7.1 3.6 2.6 1.5 0.9 2.9 16.3
George Hill 28 35.5 5.2 12.7 40.8 1.7 4.8 35.3 3.0 3.5 85.6 0.6 3.9 4.5 5.3 1.8 1.0 0.5 1.8 15.0
Roy Hibbert 28 28.6 4.2 10.4 40.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 2.2 64.5 3.8 4.4 8.2 1.5 2.0 0.7 2.9 3.5 9.9
Gerald Green 27 22.0 2.7 7.1 38.7 1.1 3.1 36.5 1.1 1.4 78.9 0.7 2.3 3.0 0.6 1.3 0.1 0.4 1.3 7.7
Lance Stephenson 26 26.1 3.0 6.1 50.0 0.7 2.0 37.3 0.5 0.7 68.4 0.3 2.6 2.9 2.6 1.1 0.8 0.0 1.8 7.3
Tyler Hansbrough 28 16.3 1.7 4.1 41.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.5 3.5 72.4 1.5 2.6 4.1 0.3 0.9 0.3 0.2 1.8 6.0
Ian Mahinmi 28 16.0 1.7 4.0 42.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 2.5 62.9 1.4 2.3 3.7 0.3 1.3 0.4 0.9 2.5 5.0
Sam Young 26 16.6 1.5 4.0 38.8 0.5 1.7 29.5 0.3 0.8 40.0 0.6 2.4 3.0 0.9 0.8 0.3 0.2 1.3 3.9
D.J. Augustin 23 12.7 1.0 3.7 27.9 0.5 2.2 22.0 0.7 1.0 70.8 0.1 0.8 0.9 2.3 0.9 0.6 0.0 0.7 3.3
Jeff Pendergraph 7 4.0 0.9 1.7 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.7 80.0 0.4 1.1 1.6 0.3 0.6 0.0 0.3 0.6 2.3
Ben Hansbrough 10 8.4 0.4 1.4 28.6 0.1 0.8 12.5 0.8 1.0 80.0 0.1 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 0.5 0.1 1.0 1.7
Miles Plumlee 6 3.5 0.3 1.5 22.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.8 0.5 1.3 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.5 1.0
Orlando Johnson 3 2.7 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0


Keys to a Suns Victory:

Short Memory:

The Suns can't get hung up on what happened against the Knicks on Wednesday night, they need to put that game behind them and start over fresh and ready to compete against a pretty good and underrated Pacers team. The Suns need to come out strong and ready to play for 48 minutes...They can't afford to let themselves fall behind early against a good team in hostile territory.

Point Guards:

If the Suns are indeed without Dragic tonight, which head coach Alvin Gentry hinted at yesterday, then the Suns will need some stellar play from Sebastian Telfair to lead the starting unit. Not only that, but the Suns will need Kendall Marshall to step up and lead the second unit in what will likely be the first substantial minutes of his NBA career.

Superstar?

Jared Dudley had the game of his life against the Knicks on Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 36 points in the loss. Although the Suns don't have a superstar on the team by any stretch of the imagination, they will need someone to step up tonight and once again provide that kind of scoring, whether it be Dudley again or someone else.

Hibbert vs. Gortat:

Marcin Gortat has been on an upswing of sorts after a few weeks of very mediocre play. The Polish Machine has once again re-emerged as a legitimate threat down low on both sides of the court, and the Suns will need his best tonight against the 7'1" Roy Hibbert. In their last meeting (which the Suns won), Gortat got the best of this match-up with a 23 point, 8 rebound performance, compared to Hibbert's 19 points and 7 rebounds. If Gortat can manage to control the glass and outscore Hibbert down low, the Suns should be in great shape.

The Bottom Line:

Although the Suns have lost the last three games, they have never lost their competitive edge and can be a very dangerous team to play against. The Suns aren't a very talented team, but they certainly have a great deal of heart and fight in them, and could still win this game even without Dragic at the helm.

However, in order to do so they will need a total team effort on both ends of the floor. Plus, they will need someone to step up tonight and provide that additional spark for the team. The Suns must also limit their mental lapses and mistakes and capitalize on those of the Pacers. Tonight will be a true test of this team's character and resolve while playing without Dragic, and it certainly won't be easy...but I wouldn't count them out just yet.

Indiana Pacers 97, Phoenix Suns 91 PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have been nothing if not streaky throughout the month of December. First they lost seven in a row during a stretch that began in...

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