The Slash Brothers led the Phoenix Suns back into playoff position with a big win over the Washington Wizards, winning their 3rd straight on the road, 5th straight overall and 7 of 8 since Eric Bledsoe rejoined the starting lineup.
With the win, 99-93 over Washington, the Phoenix Suns have retaken the 8th spot in the playoff chase thanks to a conference-record tie breaker over Dallas.
Gerald Green continued his hot play off the bench with 18 points on 50% shooting, including three important foul shots to close the game for the Suns.
The Wizards pulled to within three with a minute left (93-90), but Eric Bledsoe nailed a long three pointer to put the nail in the coffin before Green's free throws.
Point guard John Wall did everything he could to keep Washington in the game with 29 points and 6 assists but the Suns were too much.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair with 10 lead changes, but after that the Suns led the entire game. The lead got as big as 25 points (75-51) before the Wizards recovered enough to make it a game.
In the middle quarters, the Suns offense was as crisp as its been in months, with great picks thrown by the big guys on the pick-and-roll, and the Suns properly swinging the ball to the open player. It was a Bledsoe and Dragic show - the Slash Brothers - for a while there playing off each other with threes and layups.
On the defensive end, the Suns appreciated a lot of poor offensive execution on the part of the Wizards as they built the 25 point lead.
But then the Suns appeared to shut down after getting the huge lead. They are used to being the team that has to come back, not the one holding the fat lead.
The Wizards went on a 24-6 run to cut the lead to 4 in the fourth at 83-79 at one point. But then the Suns scored 8 straight to put the lead back to 12 with 5:30 to go and they never looked back.
The Slash Brothers really earned this win. Eric Bledsoe had his fourth straight 20+ point game, and Goran Dragic contributed 25 of his own.
The Phoenix Suns have now won 5 straight games and 7 of 8 since Eric Bledsoe returned to the starting lineup. They retook 8th place in the West, tied with Dallas at 43-29 a season high 14 games over .500.
Some postgame quotes from COLD D.C.
-- "We got tentative. When they went to the small lineup we were running the pick and roll and they were switching it and we weren't attacking. We were letting the clock run down and then trying to pump fake the big into drawing a foul and now all of a sudden we're stuck and had some bad opportunities to score."
-- "At least defensively, John Wall, he's tough to deal with when he starts driving like that. Guys don't want to foul him and it's tough to stay in front, but we made enough stops to survive."
-- "Heck no, we were nervous. I think like I said, we've been around the NBA long enough to see that over 82 games you have some of those where you lose them, some of them you win them...It's a lesson in this league, even up 25, nothing's safe. Hopefully, we learn that."
-- [On 19 turnovers] "We've got to keep that turnover number down, especially if we're gonna be a fast-breaking team. You shouldn't have turnovers if you're running and you're hitting the open guys. A lot of times the running teams have less turnovers than the half court teams."
-- "Well, first off, these guys are hungry. They (Suns) bring it every night. They compete every night. They know what they are playing for. They have character, a lot of will to win the game. They play together, they have fun running the system the right way."
-- "Then were were up like 25 points and they made that huge run...but I'm glad we didn't panic. When we need to stop their offense we did and then we hit some easy basket in transition."
-- On his big three last in the game "Honestly, I can't tell you how it went in. I pretty much been in those type of situations all year with the ball in my hand, it always find me in those type of situations, and I just made it happen. There was no hesitation. I was pretty much shooting the ball good all night just thought, why not. And the shot clock was running down so I had to put it up."
-- "It's just pride. I think we went smaller, matched up with them and switched pick and rolls, got ourselves back into the game."
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