The Phoenix Suns vowed not to play to the level of their competition heading into Wednesday night’s road contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite facing a Pelicans squad that was sans All-Star forward Anthony Davis (back spasms), that promise wasn’t completely kept.
However, a late 15-6 spurt and 21 points off the bench from Gerald Green were enough to push the Suns over the top, as they prevailed with a 94-88 victory in the Crescent City.
Here’s a look back at the gritty, six-point win by the numbers:
Above all else, the Suns kept a firm hold on the eighth seed in the Western Conference with their win over the Pelicans. While the Memphis Grizzlies took care of the defending champion Miami Heat at home, Phoenix still holds a one-game lead with four to play.
These days, center Miles Plumlee doesn’t finish a lot of games for the Suns. However, in the six-point win, the former Duke standout made sure to leave his imprint on the game in the waning seconds. With Phoenix leading 89-88 and a shade over 90 seconds still left on the clock, Plumlee forced former college teammate Austin Rivers to alter his driving attempt. The shot didn’t hit the rim and New Orleans was issued a shot clock violation.
Plumlee finished the night with two points on 1-of-2 shooting at the offensive end.
Of late, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has been very turnover prone. In his last five games, the fourth-year pro has committed 4.2 per game, including four in Wednesday’s win. The first-year starter did, however, make amends for his last gaffe of the evening, stealing an Austin Rivers pass with 2:42 just moments after getting picked by Greg Stiemsma.
7-0 and 8-0
The saying goes that it’s not how you start, but rather how you finish. However, Phoenix did both well in New Orleans. The Suns bookended their 47th win of the season with an 8-0 run to start the game and 7-0 run to end the game.
Rookie center Jeff Withey scored a career-high 17 points in a losing effort. Withey’s previous high was 14 set back on Jan. 21.
Green eclipsed the 20-point mark for a career-high 24th time this season Wednesday night. In those 24 games, Phoenix is an impressive 17-7.
In his last meeting with the Pelicans Feb. 28, Suns guard Goran Dragic poured in a career-high 40 points. Wednesday, he wasn’t quite as prolific from the field, though he did score 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go along with nine assists.
The Suns held the Pelicans to only 88 points in the win — marking just the sixth time all season they’ve allowed less than 90. In those six games, Phoenix is 6-0.
With the win, Phoenix swept the season series with New Orleans for the first time since 2006-07. The Pelicans became the eighth team to be swept by the Suns this season, joining the Bucks, Celtics, Hawks, Magic, Nuggers, Raptors and Sixers.