Energy and accuracy. The first is easy for a basketball team to put forth, but it can often lead to an inverse effect on shooting percentages.
That wasn’t the case Monday night in Philadelphia, as the Phoenix Suns hit the ground running and sank shots from all over the floor with great efficiency. The Suns led the host 76ers by 14 after the first quarter of play, shooting nearly 80 percent from the field. Philadelphia didn’t go away easily, keeping the margin in single digits for most of the game, but the Sixers could never overcome the Suns’ lead, and Phoenix rolled to a 124-113 decision.
The 26-18 Suns won their second road game in consecutive nights, and the 76ers lost their 10th contest in their last 12 tries, dropping to 14-31 on the season.
Here’s a look at the Suns’ shootout win by the numbers:
Backup guard Leandro Barbosa had one of his more efficient nights since rejoining the team earlier in the month. The 31-year-old combo guard made three out of his five shots and finished with nine points, two assists and a block in 21 minutes.
Reserve forward Markieff Morris led the Suns’ block party Monday with a season-high four swats (career high is six), all in the first half. He also added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in his 23 minutes on the court.
Starting power forward Channing Frye didn’t have a spectacular night, hitting just one of six shots and finishing with 7 points, but his lone field goal was a 3-pointer, marking the fifth straight game he’s hit a shot from beyond the arc — and the 14th time in the last 15 contests.
Although starting guard Gerald Green scored 30, beating out his previous season high by one point, his most impressive stat was his 10-of-12 shooting (83.3 percent). The 6-foot-8 swingman made four of his five 3-pointers, and he swatted three shots on defense.
Center Miles Plumlee had a rough night shooting (6-for-15), but he recorded his 10th double-double of the year, posting 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against Philadelphia. The Suns are 7-3 when Plumlee reaches that feat.
Phoenix swatted a season-high 12 shots as a team, beating its previous record by one. The one that put the team over the top came from an unlikely source: Six-foot backup point guard Ish Smith, who finished with two in the game. Six Suns players had at least one block Monday.
Rookie backup center Alex Len played 14 minutes, his second-highest total of the season. Len posted six points, two rebounds and a blocked shot in that time.
With their 26th victory of the year, the Suns have already surpassed their win total from all of last season, and they are only 44 games into this campaign.
The red-hot Suns came out of the gate scoring 40 points in the first quarter, their highest mark of the season in the opening period. Philadelphia couldn’t keep pace, opening with 26 points in that time. Green and Goran Dragic both had 12 in the opening frame.
With both teams playing at breakneck speeds, turnovers were aplenty at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers turned the ball over 21 times, while Phoenix gave it away on 20 occasions. The 76ers’ Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young and the Suns’ Green all gave the ball away four times apiece.
There was a noticeable disparity in scoring from the two teams’ starting backcourts, with Green and Dragic outdoing Michael Carter-Williams and James Anderson 54-31 in the contest. Dragic poured in 24, eclipsing the 20-point mark for the 18th time this season; Phoenix moved to 11-7 when he hits that plateau.
The Suns shot a sizzling 77.3 percent in the opening quarter that saw them reach 40 points. They cooled off a little from there, but still finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the field. They also shot 82.9 percent from the charity stripe and 45 percent (9-for-20) on 3-pointers. In comparison, the 76ers shot 46 percent from the floor, but they were accurate from the free throw line (96.2 percent) and from 3-point land (40 percent, 8-for-20) as well.
Phoenix matched its season high in points with 124, tying a mark it set three games prior. As was the case in the surprising 124-100 blowout of the Indiana Pacers, the Suns scored 62 points in each half Monday in Philadelphia. How’s that for consistency?