The Phoenix Suns have wrapped up the lone remaining easy stretch of their 2013-14 schedule, but boy, did they take advantage of it.
Phoenix won seven of its final eight games against the weak Eastern Conference, capped off by a 112-88 dismantling of the New York Knicks on Friday at U.S. Airways Center.
But now, the Suns — right in the thick of the playoff race — face a daunting road. They take on the lowly Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday before playing seven of their last eight against teams competing for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — here’s a closer look at Friday’s blowout win, by the numbers:
Only one Phoenix player entered Friday’s game without scoring — guard Ish Smith, though he contributed to the scoreboard with an assist.
The Suns moved into the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference playoff race thanks to their win, coupled with the Warriors’ 100-93 win over Memphis. The Suns have a one-game lead over No. 9 Dallas.
Former Sun Amar’e Stoudemire scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with six rebounds in just his second appearance since leaving Phoenix in 2010.
Phoenix forward Markieff Morris was whistled for a double-technical in the second half with New York’s Tyson Chandler — Morris’ 13th technical of the year. Players receive an automatic one-game suspension if they receive 16 technical fouls.
Phoenix guard Goran Dragic was on fire against the Knicks, lighting them up for 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. He also added four assists and two rebounds.
Suns fan Tim Boven won $77,777 for hitting a halfcourt shot during a timeout that brought the entire Suns bench — and mascot — onto the court in celebration.
The Knicks were held to just 40 percent shooting by Phoenix, and not a single player shot better than 50 percent. Camelo Anthony led New York with 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting.
Phoenix shot 45.5 percent on the game — a number that was much higher for much of the contest — and saw three players surpass 50 percent from the floor.
Phoenix center Miles Plumlee finished the game with a +33 score differential, and he was easily the most efficient player on the floor, scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.