PHOENIX — Two’s company, three’s a crowd; unless of course you’re talking about the Phoenix Suns backcourt.
The Eric Bledsoe-Goran Dragic-Isaiah Thomas triumvirate proved to be thrice as nice in the Suns 121-90 preseason win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday at US Airways Center.
Playing together for the first time, the three point guards keyed an 11-2 run the final 3:12 of the second quarter. Bledsoe scored five points, Dragic four, while Thomas recorded three assists, including one to Dragic who beat the first half buzzer with a layup, a play that started with a Bledsoe block of Tony Parker and finished with the Suns leading 60-47.
“I thought we were small, but everybody got in (and) rebounded and we pushed the tempo and the lead just went up,” Bledsoe said. “We were definitely having fun out there. Everybody was sharing the ball. I thought Isaiah did a great job of kicking it ahead, and I think everybody did a great job of running and we were just getting layups. It worked out perfect.”
The trio finished with a combined 51 points (Dragic 20, Bledsoe 16 and Thomas 15) on 21-of-32 shooting, including 7-of-10 from 3 with four of five makes by Thomas, who added five assists, four rebounds, one block and one steal in 20 minutes.
Dragic and Bledsoe each had six assists.
Dragic also contributed three steals in 24 minutes, while Bledsoe had two plus a pair of blocks in 26 minutes.
“Paced picked up something crazy,” said Marcus Morris, who along with Miles Plumlee shared the floor with the three point guards at the end of the first half. “I think that’s going to be special for us. There’s no other team in the league that can do that, that has like three dynamic point guards like that. It was great to experience it and you just see how the game changed. That’s going to be great for us, I think.”
Head coach Jeff Hornacek agreed.
“You saw that it could work,” he said, after his team improved to 3-1 in the preseason.
Three other Suns players scored in double figures: Markieff Morris (17), Marcus Morris (15) and Archie Goodwin (10). The twins also totaled 13 rebounds with Markieff grabbing a team-high seven.
Hornacek used his fourth different starting lineup in as many games, using Bledsoe, Dragic, Marcus Morris, Anthony Tolliver and Plumlee against a Spurs team that was minus three starters (Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills), two key reserves (Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter) and its head coach, Gregg Popovich.
Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich did not travel, while Leonard, Mills and Splitter were out because of injury.
The depleted roster prompted a fourth-quarter apology from Suns managing partner Robert Sarver, who told the 13,552 fans in attendance to mail him their ticket stubs for a free gift from the team.
“All we’re concerned about is ourselves,” Hornacek said, “what we need to do to try to take the steps to get ourselves ready for the first regular season game. It didn’t matter who was out there tonight. We wanted to get some things accomplished and they allowed us to do that. We got a good chance to practice some things.”
Alex Len (right hand fifth finger fracture) and Shavlik Randolph (hyperextended right knee) did not play, while Zoran Dragic was not with the team to settle visa issues.