After a less-than-inspiring effort against the Brooklyn Nets Monday, the Phoenix Suns came back to the Valley in need of a victory any which way they could find it.
Their opponent Wednesday night, the Orlando Magic, were more than happy to oblige, although though not at first.
After nearly three quarters of fairly even basketball, the home side broke open the contest and never looked back. Behind a 27-7 spurt that covered the end of the third frame and the beginning of the fourth, the Suns took down the Magic with relative ease by a final of 109-93.
Here’s a look back at the comfortable 16-point victory by the numbers:
The biggest takeaway from the night occurred not at the US Airways Center but rather in the Western Conference standings. With a win over Orlando and a Dallas overtime loss to Minnesota, Phoenix moved to within a game and a half of the eighth spot.
Eric Bledsoe did plenty in his second home game of the new year, including grabbing seven boards, dishing out six assists and recording three steals. Shooting, however, was not among his highlights. Bledsoe hit just 3-of-11 field goal attempts for seven points.
Playing without starting point guard Jameer Nelson, Jacque Vaughn’s squad needed a huge night out of big man Nikola Vucevic if it had any chance of leaving Phoenix with a win. Vucevic had eight points and three rebounds in the first quarter but was ejected after nine minutes of action for chucking the ball directly at Suns forward Channing Frye.
The Suns received plenty of contributions in the win. Twelve different players pitched in within points, including nine from Alex Len and five from Archie Goodwin.
It appears that Gerald Green has settled back in to his role off the bench. The Suns swingman recorded double-digit scoring for the third straight game — 14 points on 5-of-10 from the field. Two of his 14 points came on a highlight reel reverse jam in the second quarter.
Phoenix’s 16-point margin of victory was its largest since a 124-100 drubbing of the Indiana Pacers back on Jan. 22.
The Suns snapped a month-long streak of allowing visiting teams to score at least 100 points on their home court. Before holding Orlando to only 93 Wednesday, the Boston Celtics were the last team that failed to eclipse the century mark in Phoenix back on Feb. 19.
In the battle of frontcourt cousins, Tobias Harris got the edge over Frye. Harris had a game-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Frye had 12 points and five rebounds. The former UA standout did, though, lead Phoenix with three blocks.
How bad are the Magic? Wednesday’s loss was their 32nd away from home this season in 36 games. Orlando’s 4-32 road record is the worst in the NBA.