The Phoenix Suns’ 104-94 loss to the Dallas Mavericks might look standard on paper, but the game took an unexpected turn in the fourth quarter.
With the Suns having just played Sunday night in Phoenix and down 20 points in Dallas the very next night, Jeff Hornacek turned to two players who had fallen out of the rotation to see if they could get anything going.
Despite both not playing since the Nov. 27 home game against the Golden State Warriors, Sonny Weems and Archie Goodwin did just that.
The two combined for 15 points in their fourth quarter push that almost won the Suns the game, with a truly bizarre lineup that Hornacek had on the court. Eric Bledsoe, Goodwin and Weems were the three guards alongside small forward T.J. Warren and power forward Jon Leuer.
With 10:46 to go in the game and a scoreline of 80-58, Leuer and Goodwin checked in and just like that, the Suns got going.
Goodwin scored on a layup, Bledsoe scored five straight points and assisted on an alley-oop to Goodwin which then forced the Mavericks to call a timeout.
The run wouldn’t stop though, as Weems got involved with two three-pointers after not making one all season in 85 minutes.
Another Goodwin bucket on an assist from Bledsoe brought the Suns to within 11 with over five minutes to play. After not making a run all game and barely attaining anything close to momentum, the Suns had the Mavericks on their heels.
However, the lineup would eventually fold. With just over three minutes left to play Goodwin missed two critical free throws and a minute later Weems would turn the ball over on a 3-on-1 attempted alley-oop pass that would have made it a four point game,
Coming into the game, Goodwin was averaging 11.6 minutes per game in 11 games and Weems was averaging 8.5 minutes per game in 10 games played.
With rookie Devin Booker — the youngest player in the NBA — coming on much quicker than anyone expected and the solid two-way bench play of Ronnie Price, both Goodwin and Weems found themselves out of the rotation in a hurry.
That might not be the case after Monday night, as both guards played arguably their best basketball of the season and may have earned themselves another look from Hornacek in the near future.