The pass from Goran Dragic bounced between the legs of the defender and into the waiting hands of Marcin Gorat who, with the soft touch near the rim, hit a two-foot layup to tie the game.
“I’m really happy that we executed well that last play,” Dragic said.
“It was a tough play,” explained Gortat. “I would say that probably it was my biggest shot so far in my life. I don’t think I had a shot like that before to tie the game.”
Now, for a moment, forget the fact that the basket forced overtime, extending a game in which the Suns had blown an 18-point lead.
The play near the end of regulation against Minnesota Tuesday highlighted the growing chemistry between two of the Suns better players.
It’s been a struggle at times, all the way back to training camp, to get the starting point guard and center on the same page.
Dragic, remember, was one of nine new faces on the roster, having left Houston while Gortat spent the prior two seasons receiving passes from Steve Nash.
There most certainly has been an adjustment.
“We are talking together,” Dragic said. “We sat down and I told him what I wanted him to do. It’s a different situation right now than when he had Steve Nash and Channing (Frye) on the floor. Channing spreads the floor and makes a lot of space in the middle of the paint. Right now we don’t have that but I told him that I am going to look for him and if he is open I will pass it to him. The last couple of games we have been doing that.”
In the six games since the All-Star break, Dragic has an NBA-best 69 assists with 10 or more in every game but Minnesota. Gortat has been the main beneficiary with half of his made field goals (16-of-32) set up by a Dragic pass.
“The game has been better for me and for him,” Gortat, averaging 12 points a game since the break, said. “Our chemistry is better. We had a few talks during the All-Star break. First of all, he changed his attitude. He changed his game. He’s trying to pass the ball more often. He’s trying to create for everybody else; and then automatically his game is going to open up for him and it’s going to be easier for him also to score and give us some easy buckets.”
The easy pass is what Dragic aims for; and recently, it’s been the pass between the opponent’s legs.
“The last few games that was the easiest pass to make,” he said. “I always told Marcin, ‘Hey, be ready because it’s coming.'”