This was a rough week for the Suns, going 1-2 overall. However, the way they ended the week on such a high note against the Western Conference rival Warriors almost makes it feel like everything was smooth sailing. One of the biggest reasons for the success in that game was the Suns' back-court. No, not the Slash Brothers...this time it's the G-Force.
The NBA is all about which player and team can rule the court in the most epic fashion and Bright Side of the Sun has teamed up with Crown Royal to rank the best of the best Phoenix Suns players each and every week. Which player(s) ruled the court this week? #ReignOn
Goran Dragic and Gerald Green aka "G-Force"
Combined Stats against the Warriors:
Points: 59 FG%: .714 3PT% .727 Rebounds: 7 Assists: 10 (All Dragic) Steals: 3
Before I start, let me just explain that I fully understand that one game does not constitute an entire week's worth of play. But let's be honest, there weren't a lot of positives to be taken out of either of the two losses this week...save for Goran Dragic,of course, who has been stuck playing on GOD mode for the last month and a half (more on that later).
However, we did get to see just how potent and incendiary this Suns backcourt of Goran and Green can be when they are both playing at a high level. And that was what I really wanted to highlight in this week's "Heat Check". We all know how great Goran Dragic has been playing, and if that's news to you then you either aren't a basketball fan (why are you here?), or you've been watching too much ESPN (Lebron, Durant, Lebron, Melo, Lebron).
On Sunday night, the potential of the Suns back-court was on full display. In addition to Goran Dragic's career-high 34 points on only 13 shots, Gerald Green also exploded with 25 points on 15 shots. This was an extremely efficient performance by both players, who shot Golden State out of the arena by scoring 59 points on 20 of 28 shooting, compared to just 45 points for the Splash Brothers...who only made 16 of their 33 attempts.
This isn't to say that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson aren't a better duo overall than Goran and Green; when comparing them on their performance in terms of consistency, it really isn't close. However, Suns' fans already know what to expect from Goran Dragic, who has been carrying this team for the last couple of months. But last night we got a chance to see just how deadly the Suns can be when Dragic has another potent scorer along side of him...something we haven't seen nearly enough of since Eric Bledsoe went down.
In fact, last night's performance was even better than either of the previous showings against Golden State when the Slash Brothers were in full effect. In the first game, Bledsoe and Dragic combined for 45 points to help the Suns secure the win. However, in the second game, Dragic and Bledsoe combined for only 15 points...a poor game for both players which basically ensured a loss.
The 59 points on 20 of 28 shooting by the G-Force last night was by far the best performance we have seen from the Suns back-court this season...who would have thought that kind of game would even be possible without Eric Bledsoe in the line-up?
Of course, this is in large part still because of Dragic, and how he has become one of the most productive and exciting players in the NBA this season. He has scored over 15 points in each of the last 22 games...and in that same stretch he is averaging over 23 points in each.
But still, Green's impact is undeniable when he is on his game. In fact, the Suns have won 10 straight games when Gerald Green scores 20 or more points. So it seems fairly obvious that with Bledsoe still out for an undetermined amount of time, it's up to Gerald Green to be the x-factor.
This isn't to take away from P.J. Tucker's performance either. His 16 points and 15 rebounds, along with his toughness and hustle, helped the Suns tremendously. But P.J. fills a different niche altogether than Goran and Green, who can simply set the scoreboards on fire when they are playing at their best.
We've now seen just how good the Suns can be as a whole with Goran and Green leading the charge...now it's up to them to find a way to do it together consistently.
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